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Requirements for Admission in Master of Arts in
Organizational Leadership

MAIA Leadership Requirements:

  • Written Deliverables 

    • One Leadership Self-Assessment prior to (or during) MAIA First-year Orientation

    • Two (2) Leadership Statements submitted at the beginning and end of the program

  • Leadership Activities  

    • Completion of an Internship / Professional Experience and submission of the Internship Completion Form

    • Completion of one (1) major leadership experience or four (4) minor leadership experiences from an approved list 

The MAIA Leadership Requirement

The leadership requirement includes a list of curricular and extracurricular leadership training opportunities that enable students to explore and practice their leadership skills before they graduate from the program. This requirement provides students an opportunity to both learn and reflect on the nature of leadership.

The overall Leadership Requirement is composed of two segments – written self-reflection on leadership and practical demonstrations of leadership.

Two Written Deliverables 

  • Leadership Self-Assessment

Students will be required to complete a designated self-assessment test prior to MAIA orientation. The assessment itself may vary depending on the year, but will culminate in a workshop led by the Usild Career Center during Orientation. Students will have the option to follow-up in a session with the Career Center if they choose, but completion of the self-assessment will fulfill the degree requirement.

  • Two Leadership Memos

Due in their first year of the MAIA Program, students will write an “opening memo” on leadership. The statement will be 1 page (500 words), single-spaced, and should answer the question “What does leadership mean to you?” This memo will be submitted on Student Portal and is due on the same date as the students declare their concentrations.

Students will also be required to submit a “closing memo” on leadership with their Oral Exam Application Packet in February of their final semester. The statement will be 1 page (500 words), single-spaced, and should answer the question “What does leadership mean to you (now) and how do you intend to practice it?” 

Two Required Leadership Development Activities 

Internship / Professional Experience

Students are required to participate in at least one internship as a graduation requirement for MAIA. MAIA recommends at least 100 hours total for the internship requirement, but will accept less than that. There is not a specific semester during which this experience needs to be completed. The requirement is meant to be flexible to allow for diverse and relevant opportunities for each individual student.

After completing an internship or professional experience, students will submit an internship completion form via Canvas that includes a reflection discussed one-on-one with your Concentration Chair. The reflection (question 13) should be 500-1000 words, single-spaced, and respond to the following prompts:

  • What leadership skills did you develop during your internship/professional experience? How can those skills be applied moving forward?

  • What leadership skills or structures did you observe during your internship/professional experience?

  • What leadership lessons (good or bad) have you taken away from your internship/professional experience?

  1. Additional Leadership Development Experiences

Students are required to complete one of the following during their 2 years in the MAIA program:

  • One (1) course (1.5 or 3 credits) in leadership, management or strategy. 


  • One (1) major leadership experience: to qualify, the student must have taken a leadership role in creating, organizing and implementing a major event or the equivalent. Approved Major Leadership Experiences 


  • Four (4) minor leadership activities: to qualify, the student must have participated in leadership, management, or professional training, service, or travel activities. Approved Minor Leadership Experiences

Note: Approval may be granted by any member of the leadership team. All leadership experiences must be reported via Usild Student Portal.


Internships are an integral part of the MAIA education and our students’ preparation for a career in the international arena. Internships provide students with the opportunity to enhance their academic coursework, gain professional experience and insight into career opportunities, develop contacts in their field of interest, and explore the public, private, and/or non-profit sectors. MSFS students are required to have one internship at an internationally-focused organization during their course of study, but typically students intern for one to two semesters and during the summer between their two years of study.

Internships can be:

  • For a semester or a year

  • Paid or unpaid

  • 15–20 hours per week during the school year, full time during the summer

  • An opportunity for potential employers and employees to assess each other

Internships FAQs

Where do MAIA students intern?

Students find internships across all sectors. During the school year, students work in the D.C. area with a variety of organizations. During the summer, approximately 50% of students intern abroad, while the rest typically work in D.C., UN, New York, European Union, Brussels, Embassy, or international institutions located in their own countries.

When do students typically intern?

Students generally intern for two or three semesters: spring of the first year, the summer between, and the fall of the second year. Approximately 50% of students intern during the fall semester, 50% intern during the spring semester, and 95% intern over the summer.

How many hours a week do students work?

Students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week at an internship during the academic year, and full-time (40 hours) during the summer.

Are internships usually paid or unpaid?

Internships vary from organization to organization. In Washington, D.C. it is not unusual for an organization to offer only unpaid internships. However, 40–60% of MAIA students who intern are paid.

What resources are available to MAIA students?

Once enrolled in the fall, students have access the USILD Graduate Career Center database of internship postings. MAIA staff, faculty, professors, and career development staff will also be available for one-on-one meetings.

Internships Funding

The Orpe Human Rights Advocates Grants are given to qualifying students to help finance the cost of unpaid internships. Internships must be ten weeks, full-time, related to the student’s career/academic interests, and unpaid. Grant amounts depend on several factors, including the number of applicants and the funding available. Qualifying students may receive base stipends (typically between $500 to $1000) to help cover living expenses and travel costs when applicable.

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