About the MGA degree

The Master of Global Affairs degree positions graduates to accelerate their careers in business, government and NGOs, as these sectors pursue their strategies in an interconnected and multipolar world.

The Master of Global Affairs program is a two-year professional program. In the first year, students pursue core courses in the five pillars of the program: Global Security, Global Development, Global Justice and Human Rights, Global Markets and Innovation Policy.

Global Security examines organized political violence in the global system. It encompasses traditional concerns about interstate and intrastate war, coercive diplomacy, collective security alliances, and weapons of mass destruction, as well as a host of nontraditional problems in cybersecurity, biosecurity, climate security, human security, and terrorism. A diverse set of course offerings explores topics such as the geopolitics of cyberspace, grand strategy, intelligence and covert action, terrorism research, police violence, far right populism, and Canadian defense policy. In order to devise humane and effective policies to mitigate conflict in the global system, it is imperative to understand its root causes. The program thus encourages students to understand the causes, conduct, and consequences of transnational violent conflict, whether merely threatened or realized, occurring between or within states, involving military or nonmilitary organizations, and transpiring throughout the gray zone between peace and war.

 

Global Development seeks to build a holistic, multidisciplinary, understanding of the forces shaping efforts to achieve sustainable development in lower-income countries, particularly in Africa and Asia – along with the diverse skills needed to engage effectively in the development field.  The program aims first to provide a foundational understanding of the major forces shaping efforts to improve well-being across lower-income countries.  This includes national force like history, policy, institutions, politics and human rights, as well as the impact of international forces and actors including aid donors, the private sector, the organization of the global system, and the expanding challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability.  This then provides a common starting point for exploring questions of security, justice, innovation, markets, sustainability and global governance as they relate to lower-income countries across our core courses – and for an array of second year courses that explore specific topics in development in greater detail, including education, health, gender, conflict, migration and democratization.

 

Global Justice and Human Rights focuses on demands for justice, the relationship between justice and inequality, the reform of justice organizations, and the leadership of justice systems under stress. This includes an array of substantive issues, including the promise of human rights and recognition, criticisms of domestic and international justice systems, and responses to cross-border crime. The program offers courses on domestic and international criminal justice, police violence, international migration and citizenship, corruption and illicit trade, the challenges of measurement in justice, political advocacy and social movements, international human rights, and responses to atrocities. Students who select this emphasis study the claims made in the name of justice, legal and political frameworks, the organizational dynamics of justice agencies, and the ways in which states, non-state actors, and international organizations resolve justice system challenges.

 

Global Markets investigate the influence of financial, commodity and other markets on politics and of policy on market outcomes. Our focus lies on policy and economic analysis with real-world applications rather than theory. Building on the economics courses in the first year, second year courses in Markets cover the politics of exchange rates, trade policy, the role of the IMF and World Bank, financial crises, the implications of global monetary developments and how to develop investment strategies in a globalized world.

 

Innovation Policy examines innovation in the diverse forms it takes, from the development of radically new products to social innovation. Our foundational course explores different national patterns of innovation and their consequences for growth and distribution, with particular attention to data and other intangible assets, inclusive innovation, and innovation in lower income countries. Second-year course offerings examine a range of topics, including the ethics of AI, the role of universities as economic and social actors, the determinants of entrepreneurship, the governance of data and privacy rights, regional economic inequalities, and the distributional consequences of innovation.

Program Structure

Summer Before Year One

Math-Stats Bootcamp (August)

The Math-Stats Bootcamp provides incoming students with the opportunity to strengthen their math skills and become familiar with economic concepts that will be covered in first year core courses. Students are required to write a diagnostic test at the end of the Bootcamp to determine which level of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics they can enroll in.

Year one

Students in year one of the MGA program take the following nine core courses. All first year courses are required.

Core courses / Click here to view course descriptions

  • Global Development
  • Global Innovation Policy
  • Global Security
  • International Legal Challenges
  • Microeconomics for Global Affairs (an intermediate level is available for students with advanced knowledge in microeconomics)
  • Macroeconomics: Markets, Institutions and Growth (an intermediate level is available for students with advanced knowledge in macroeconomics)
  • Statistics for Global Affairs
  • Elective One. Choose One of Three (GLA2029H Sustainability in the World: A Living Lab Course, GLA2027H Ethics and Global Affairs, or GLA2034H Decision Making & Strategic Thinking).
  • Elective Two

Mid-Program Internship (required)

The Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy connects students with opportunities in top-tier businesses, international and national institutions, and civil-society organizations—and organizations with a new generation of leaders prepared to thrive in the global milieu. In addition to fulfilling the required internship, students are encouraged to study abroad in the second term of year two.

Year two

MGA students in year two take two core courses (GLA2111H) Research Methods for Global Affairs and (GLA2000H) Capstone Seminar plus five (2.5 FCEs) elective courses.

MGA students in the second year of the program may focus their degree by taking a minimum of 1.5 FCEs (three electives) out of the required 3.5 FCEs (seven electives) total in a chosen emphasis. The completion of a particular emphasis will be recognized on the transcript at graduation.

Year Two Emphases:

  • Development
  • Innovation Policy
  • Human Rights and Global Justice
  • Markets
  • Global Security
  • The Digital World
  • Global Policy in Europe and Eurasia
  • Global Policy and Asia

Capstone

Second year capstone projects are a true reflection of the real world – our students provide genuine insight on global problems for real clients. Students work together in a team, across geographies, to provide a client with  value-added analysis and innovative solutions. Click here to view previous Capstone projects. MGA students are required to take Research Methods for Global Affairs (GLA2111H) and Capstone course (GLA2000H).

MGA students are required to have complete 8.5 FCEs (normally 17 courses).

Joint Programs/Collaborative Programs

The MGA program offers a dual degree (MPA/MGA) program with LSE in London, a dual degree (MPP/MGA) program with Sciences Po in Paris, and a dual degree (MIA/MGA) program with the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. The MGA also offers joint programs with the Faculty of Law (JD/MGA) and the Rotman School of Management (MGA/MBA). Please visit our Joint Programs page for more information.

Collaborative Specializations in Asia-Pacific Studies, Environmental Studies, and Ethnic and Pluralism Studies can also be added to the MGA degree. Click here for more information.

Please Note: The MGA cannot be taken part-time.

Discover the benefits


  1. Equips students with an awareness of global economic and financial systems, global civil society, and global strategic and security issues;
  2. Brings scholars and practitioners together to ensure that students' thinking is informed by rigorous theoretical work as well as real-time, real-world experience;
  3. Enables students to specialize in one of five emphases —development, innovation policy, justice, markets, or security—only after having achieved a level of fluency in all five;
  4. Provides students with the critical management skills required to take a leadership role in their chosen field;
  5. Prepares students for strategic thinking and responsible leadership on global issues;
  6. Draws on the strength of the University of Toronto's faculty across a wide range of disciplines;

MGA Student Ambassadors


Learn more about the MGA program from current students.

Our MGA Student Ambassadors are happy to speak to perspective students about the MGA program. Email mga@utoronto.ca to speak to an Ambassador.

View the profiles of our current MGA Student Ambassadors here.