Master of International and Public Affairs (MIPA)


MIPA Programme Brochure (PDF version)


MIPA is a taught-course postgraduate programme in international affairs focusing on the Asia Pacific region. Networked with institutions in mainland China, North America, and Europe, the programme is designed for mid-career professionals and university graduates who want to further develop or prepare for careers in international affairs. The MIPA curriculum provides conceptual knowledge and in-depth understanding of global and Asia Pacific affairs to meet the challenge of a globalising world.


As a major international city with an outward-oriented economy and a meeting point of Asian and Western cultures, Hong Kong is an ideal location for the study of international relations. A regional communication and business hub, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is home to a large number of international organizations and major business corporations. Over ninety countries have chosen to open diplomatic missions in the SAR, which is strategically located as the gateway between China and the rest of the world.

The MIPA is the first postgraduate taught course programme in international affairs offered by a locally based institution of higher learning in Hong Kong. The programme will facilitate the development of knowledge, professional resources, and networks for those interested in international affairs. The faculty consists of dedicated scholars, trained in major universities and well connected with the academic, professional and policy communities regionally and internationally. The department also regularly hosts visiting international scholars in the field.

The flexible structure of the programme allows candidates to choose courses from international relations and related areas (including law, media studies and public policy) mostly in the evenings and/or on Saturdays over a maximum of a 2-year period. Candidates also have the options to take courses offered by our partners such as Peking University, George Washington University, Seoul National University and Johns Hopkins University.


MIPA serves the needs of candidates with the following backgrounds:

(1) Mid-career professionals, including civil servants, journalists, corporation executives, diplomats, political and economic analyst, education and NGO workers who would benefit from part-time academic studies and interaction with other professionals in an academic environment;

(2) Degree holders in social sciences, humanities, law, communications, business or other relevant training who want to prepare themselves for international related careers or advanced academic studies.


To be admitted to the programme, an applicant should have an honours degree from a recognized university, preferable some training in international affairs, politics, public administration, business, law or journalism/communication or relevant professional experiences. English proficiency for Master-level academic study is required.


To receive the award of Master of International and Public Affairs candidates must complete 8 courses plus a capstone project successfully within 2 years for part-time study or 1 year for full-time study. In selecting courses candidates must meet the following requirements:

  1. 2 compulsory courses;
  2. No fewer than 4 core courses; and
  3. No more than 2 elective courses.

The combination of course, for example, should include 6 core courses (including 2 compulsory courses) plus the equivalent of 2 courses from one of the following options:

  • 2 more core/elective courses;
  • 1 overseas study/internship which is equivalent to 2 elective courses;
  • 2 overseas study/internship each equivalent to 1 elective course;
  • Graduate exchange program with George Washington University (GWU), The Elliott School of International Affairs (to take 9 credit hours of coursework at GWU, which is equivalent to 2 MIPA elective courses).
  • Graduate exchange program with Seoul National University (SNU), Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS)



  • POLI6005 International Organization
  • POLI6007 International Relations in the Asia Pacific
  • POLI6008 Understanding Global Problems: Theory and Practice
  • POLI6010 Chinese Foreign Policy
  • POLI6011 International Security in East Asia
  • POLI6016 A selected topic in international and public affairs (I)
  • POLI6020 East Asian Political Economy
  • POLI6025 A selected topic in international and public affairs (II)
  • POLI6026 A selected topic in international and public affairs (III)
  • POLI6027 A selected topic in international and public affairs (IV)
  • POLI6029 War and armed conflict: philosophical issues
  • POLI6032 International law
  • POLI6033 Cross-Taiwan strait relations
  • POLI8004 Government and law
  • POLI8005 Government and the economy
  • POLI8014 NGOs and governance
  • POLI8024 China's governance in the reform era


  • POLI6021 Overseas study at Peking University: "Current issues in China's international relations" (one course equivalent)
  • POLI6023 Overseas study at Johns Hopkins University: SAIS programme (one course equivalent)
  • POLI6024 Overseas study at Johns Hopkins University: SAIS programme (two courses equivalent)
  • POLI6030 Overseas study at George Washington University: U.S. foreign policy summer program (one course equivalent)
  • POLI6034 Overseas study at Seoul National University: Seminar on Area Studies – East Asia in the modern world (one course equivalent)

Students are required to pay additional costs to take the above overseas study courses (POLI6021, POLI 6023, POLI6024, POLI 6030 and POLI6034)
Elective courses are also available from the following areas**:

  • law (Department of Law, HKU)
  • public policy (Department of Politics & Public Administration, HKU)
  • media studies (Journalism and Media Studies Centre, HKU)
  • graduate exchange program (The Elliott School of International Affairs of George Washington University)
    ** subject to requirements and appropriate course fees as decided by host departments


(I) Compulsory courses:

    • POLI6004. Theories of international relations

      This course provides a rigorous introduction to the main debates, theoretical perspectives, actors, and structures of global politics. The purpose is to offer students a complex picture of mainstream/conventional IR theories, and critical approaches that attempt to pose multiple challenges to the manner in which we understand and explain international events and the international system. Students will thus familiarize themselves with a large array of theoretical perspectives and with the various concepts, actors, and events pertaining to global politics, such as states, borders, sovereignty, globalization, global economy, international organizations, international law, colonialism, imperialism, among others. The course will address some of the following questions: How have the main actors in the global system come to claim such a central role for themselves? What do conventional views of global politics tell us about the global system? What do they not tell us? Do critical theories help us better understand various events, actors, and mentalities? What is the impact of globalization on various actors and international structures?
      Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
    • POLI6006. International political economy

      This course is a broad overview of major theoretical approaches, concepts and substantive issues in the field of international political economy (IPE). It is designed to help students gain a substantial understanding of the relations between politics and economic and the interplay between power and wealth. The course starts with a critical evaluation of major theoretical perspectives on IPE and then examines some core issue areas, such as economic interdependence, the international trading system, multinational corporations, the international monetary system, North-South relations, and foreign economic policies of key states in the international economic system.
      Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
    • POLI6031. Capstone project

      The capstone project enables students to integrate what they have learned from the MIPA Programme and demonstrate their ability to analyze critical issues in international relations and public affairs. Students will work in small groups and complete a research project. A topic is selected in consultation with relevant teaching staff of the Department by 1 December of the final academic year of study. The project is then researched and written and submitted for examination by 31 May of the final academic year of study.
      Assessment: 100% coursework

(II) Core courses:

    • POLI6005. International organizations

      This course provides a general survey of the development of international organizations. It begins with the philosophical and theoretical foundations of international organizations and then examines a broad range of international organizations and the issues which these international organizations are designed to deal with such as collective security, peaceful settlement of disputes, and promoting international justice, social and economic development. Special emphasis is given to exploring the roles and functions of the United Nations, and its affiliated organizations. Attention will also be given to regional organizations such as North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and European Union (EU).
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6007. International relations in the Asia-Pacific

      This course is a survey of international relations in the Asia Pacific region. Instead of providing a comprehensive examination of the history, culture, and national policies of countries in the region, it mainly addresses four issues here: What are major trends in regional IR? What is the source of conflict in the region? What are the common interests that unite peoples and states of the Asian Pacific? How does the region organise itself? It explains dynamics and patterns of regional international relations in a broad geopolitical and geoeconomic context. Topics in discussion include major powers’ role in the region, the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan Strait, ASEAN, Southeast Asia and regional institution-building.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6008. Understanding global problems: theory and practice

      This course aims to critically explore some of the major challenges confronting an international community that is faced with unprecedented levels of global interdependency and escalating power asymmetry. The class will provide a detailed analysis of the issues at stake, providing students with the intellectual grounding necessary to critically evaluate many of our most pressing global problems and their proposed solutions. While the list of controversies changes each semester, some past questions have included: Are genetically modified foods crucial to the fight against hunger? Is U.S. hegemony a force for global (in)stability? Is globalization inherently "anti-religious"? Was NATO intervention in Kosovo justified? In exploring these and other controversies, the course will combine perspectives from the academic literature with those of practitioners, including senior diplomats, representatives from non-governmental organizations, government officials, and corporate executives.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6010. Chinese foreign policy

      This course examines key foreign policy issues and the process of foreign policy making of the People’s Republic of China. It begins with a framework of analysis for studying Chinese foreign policy. Different models and explanations are used in analyzing Chinese foreign policy. Special emphasis is placed on the revolutionary source of Chinese foreign policy and China's position in the changing international environment during the Cold War and its rise as a major global power in recent years.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6011. International security in East Asia

      This course examines major trends and problems in East Asian security. Taking a broad concept of “national security,” it studies regional security issues in both “traditional security” sense and “non-traditional security” sense. Besides, introducing basic concepts and approaches to the study of regional security in East Asia, the course analyses national security policies of major powers in the region and how their policies affect regional security environment.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6016. A selected topic in international and public affairs (I)

      This course is offered from time to time. Students should consult the Department on the content of the course on offer.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6020. East Asian political economy

      This course examines the interaction of politics and economics in international trade with reference to the world economy's most dynamic region - the Pacific Rim. International politics and international economics have been described as interwoven strands in the fabric of world order. This course focuses on three dimensions: First, theoretical perspectives on the politics of international trade and more specifically, the arguments for and against free trade. Concepts such as free trade, protectionism, new protectionism, and strategic trade will be discussed with reference to developments in the Pacific region. Second, the institutional and legal framework of the world trade system: the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor organization - the World Trade Organization (WTO). The institutional dimension will be discussed with reference to the changing global trade environment, particularly in the Pacific Rim. Third, case studies on the major political and economic challenges arising from trade difficulties that Pacific Rim countries have to confront.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    • POLI6025. A selected topic in international and public affairs (II)

      This course is offered from time to time. Students should consult the Department on the content of the course on offer.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6026. A selected topic in international and public affairs (III)

      This course is offered from time to time. Students should consult the Department on the content of the course on offer.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6027. A selected topic in international and public affairs (IV)

      This course is offered from time to time. Students should consult the Department on the content of the course on offer.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6029. War and armed conflict: philosophical issues

      This course provides a thorough introduction into the moral issues of war and armed conflict, with a focus on current debates in just war theory, and in particular on such controversial issues as “the moral (in)equality of soldiers”, the principle of discrimination, terrorism, torture, guerrilla warfare and humanitarian intervention.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6032. International law

      This course is taught under the assumption that most of the students are not majoring in public international law. It begins with an introduction to the study of international law, its sources, subjects, and its relations with domestic laws. It is then followed by a number of topics including, state sovereignty over territory and jurisdiction, immunities and treaties, UNCLOS, use of force and peaceful settlements of disputes, human rights and humanitarian laws, economic and environmental laws, etc. The course is mainly composed of two parts: lectures and class discussions. As an integrated part, the discussion session demands everyone’s active participation. A list of international legal issues and/or cases shall be distributed in advance and “mock chambers” of ICJ or other judicial bodies shall be formed by the students from time to time to render decisions or give advisory opinions on the legal questions concerned.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6033. Cross- Taiwan strait relations

      This course will explore the historical background and contemporary dynamics of the relationship across the Taiwan Strait, and introduces relevant theoretical concepts and analytical tools in studying cross-Taiwan Strait issues. The Taiwan problem has been a defining issue for China and its rise towards a great power in world affairs. The convergence and divergence between Taiwan and the mainland have troubled the Chinese nation for centuries. The course will examine the historical origin of the Taiwan problem and how cross-Strait relations have evolved since the late 19th century. In studying the evolving Taiwan problem, particular attention will be given on the role of the United States in shaping cross-Strait relations. In studying contemporary dynamics, the course will focus on the issues of economic integration, political dialogues, mutual confidence building, and people-to-people exchanges in the development of cross-Strait relations.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI8004. Government and law

      This course examines the legal regulation of governmental powers at the constitutional and administrative levels. Topics include: the constitutional development of Hong Kong under ‘One Country Two Systems” and the Basic Law; principles of constitutional and legal interpretation; constitutional protection of human rights under the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights; the nature of judicial review of administrative actions; exercise of discretionary powers by administrative officials; principles of judicial review and their application in actual cases.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    • POLI8005. Government and the economy

      The course surveys the objectives pursued by government in managing the economy, the means employed in pursuit of those objectives, and theories concerning government's economic behaviour.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
    • POLI8014. NGOs and governance

      This course examines the relationships between and among the state, the market and civil society with particular reference to the work of those not-for-profit organizations and associations which are normally referred to as NGOs. It focuses on the legal-structural dimensions of NGOs and the ways in which they operate in the production, provision, ownership, regulation and facilitation of various goods and services.
      Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
    • POLI8024. China’s governance in the reform era

      This course aims to analyze the key issues shaping the governance of China during the reform era. It will examine the institutional and policy challenges critical to China’s governance, such as leadership succession, civil service and administrative reforms, central-local relations, regional development, state-society relations, social inequality, globalization and the growing integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
      Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination

(III) Elective courses:

    • POLI6021. Overseas study at Peking University: “Current issues in China’s international relations”

      The course will explore the major foreign policy issues that are confronting China in recent years. These issues include China and globalization, China and regional security, China’s relations with US, China’s relations with Europe, China’s relations with Japan, and China and international environmental protection. It will be jointly taught by renowned Chinese international specialists based in Beijing as well as practitioners from relevant government agencies such as the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The course is equivalent to one MIPA course.
      Assessment: 100% coursework
    • POLI6023. Overseas study at Johns Hopkins University: SAIS programme (one course equivalent)

      The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) summer program provides students from across the United States and abroad an opportunity to enrol in excellent courses taught in a condensed form. Courses offered include American foreign policy since World War II, global issues: drugs, crime and terrorism, principles and practices of conflict management, strategy and policy, international monetary theory, international trade theory. Students are required to take one SAIS course.
    • POLI6024. Overseas study at Johns Hopkins University: SAIS programme (two courses equivalent)

      The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) summer program provides students from across the United States and abroad an opportunity to enrol in excellent courses taught in a condensed form. Courses offered include American foreign policy since World War II, global issues: drugs, crime and terrorism, principles and practices of conflict management, strategy and policy, international monetary theory, international trade theory. Students are required to take two SAIS courses.
    • POLI6030. Overseas study at George Washington University: U.S. foreign policy summer programme (one course equivalent)

      This two-week intensive course examines how U.S. foreign policy is made, the history that informs it, the political culture that sustains it, and the ideas and interests that drive it. Taking full advantage of its location in downtown Washington, DC, the programme features visits to key institutions that influence American foreign policy as well as lectures by leading scholars and experts from government, think tanks, international organizations, non-profit organizations, the media, and foreign embassies. More information is at
    • POLI6034. Overseas study at Seoul National University: Seminar on area studies – East Asia in the modern world (one course equivalent)

      This course is intended to make students familiar with the contemporary issues related to the East Asian countries, ranging from trade disputes and soft powers to financial problems. Taking an historical approach and using key theoretical perspectives, students will learn how the East Asian region has been coping with policy challenges and how East Asian regional order has evolved into its current forms.

(IV) Other Elective courses:

Selected courses are offered by the following departments as electives of the MIPA programme subject to additional entry requirement: The Department of Law, the Journalism and Media Centre, the Department of Politics and Public Administration (Master of Public Administration Programme). The offering of these elective courses will be announced in appropriate timing before course enrolment. MIPA students may have to pay different fees for these elective courses.


For regular students 2014-2015 (in HK$)

Application fee $ 300 (non-refundable)
Caution Money $ 350
Composition $ 134,000 per programme (MIPA)



Professor Michael DOYLE
Harold Brown Professor of U.S. Foreign and Security Policy
Professor of Law and Political Science, School of Law and the Political Science Department, Columbia University

Professor Paul EVANS
Professor , Liu Institute for Global Issues
Director, Institute of Asian Research

Professor Harry HARDING
Dean and Professor of Public Policy and Politics
Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
University of Virginia

Professor Christopher HILL
Sir Patrick Sheehy Professor of International Relations
Department of Politics and International Studies
University of Cambridge

Professor Takashi INOGUCHI
President, The University of Niigata Prefecture
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo

Professor JIA Qingguo
Associate Dean and Professor
School of International Studies
Peking University

Professor Peter KATZENSTEIN
Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies
Department of Government
Cornell University

Professor James MAYALL
Professor Emeritus
Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Professor Emeritus of International Relations
London School of Economic and Political Science

Professor Lynn T. WHITE III
Professor Emeritus
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University


Programme Director

Richard W.X. HU ,
B.A., Beijing; M.A., Johns Hopkins; Ph.D., Maryland

Logistics Support

Ms Nicole YUNG
Tel: 3917 5563