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Oral Examination

In the spring of the second year, each MAIA student takes a final Oral Examination, given by a panel of three faculty and/or professionals in the field of international affairs. Students are judged on their ability to present material in a well-organized and articulate manner, and to apply what they have learned to practical problems in the field of international affairs.

Examination Panel

  • One member of USILD faculty

  • Two executives from international business, government, or nonprofit organizations.


Note: One member of the examination panel is matched to the student’s concentration.

Format and Grading

The oral exam lasts approximately 50 minutes and is based primarily on:

  • A five-minute oral briefing by the candidate on a subject of their choice;

  • Topics related to their concentration; and

  • The candidate’s wider experience as reflected in their resume and academic transcript.

Each member of the examination panel grades the candidate separately; the majority determines the candidate’s final grade: fail, pass, or pass with distinction. More information about the oral examination is available on the Usild Student Portal.

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