Master in Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA)


7 locations available

Programme Description

The Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA) has built-in study abroad terms and is designed to meet the international demand for ethical leaders who can effectively engage and facilitate partnerships and empower communities.

Similar to IPSL Global Institute at NUNM MA in International Development & Service (IDS), students are prepared for careers with nonprofit, government, and community development organizations through an interdisciplinary program that combines rigorous academic training with hands-on skill development through volunteer service in several countries.

Recent graduates have focused on the following themes:

  • Community-based Development
  • Global Health Issues
  • Environmental Justice
  • Disability Advocacy
  • International Education & Exchange
  • Peace and Reconciliation
  • Indigenous Rights
  • Sustainable Development
    …. and other exciting fields within international development


Each graduate program begins with a 2-week Residency at the IPSL Institute for Global Learning in Portland, Oregon (some exceptions apply), followed by three terms abroad in partner communities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Upon students’ return from abroad, students complete the program with a 1-week Re-Entry Residency in Portland, OR (some exceptions apply). Admission is on a rolling basis and cohorts begin every fall, winter and spring:

Alumni of IPSL graduate programs are leaders in
Nonprofit/NGO Organizations, Social Enterprises, Government and Education, and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Experiential Learning via Service Placements

Hands-on volunteer service lies at the heart of IPSL's pedagogy. Students in our programs perform 10-15 hours of required volunteer service per week during each of the terms abroad.

IPSL students work in a variety of settings and students can choose their own agency (or multiple agencies) according to their interests. IPSL and its partners assist students in identifying placements and opportunities, and support students actively serving in the field. Recent volunteer opportunities include:

  • International Intergovernmental Organizations (e.g. United Nations)
  • NGO Empowering & Reintegrating Women in a Post-Conflict Society
  • International Relief and Development Agencies (e.g. Doctors Without Borders)
  • Urban Public Education Service Districts
  • Sustainable Development in Coastal Zones
  • Refugee Assistance/Education Center
  • International Student Services/Study Abroad Offices
  • Orphanage for Children Living with HIV/AIDS
  • Residential Facility for the Disabled
  • GAP Year International Service-Learning Organization
  • LGBTQ Youth Advocacy Center
  • Arts and Theatre Group Working with Disabled Adults
  • Animal Welfare for Homeless Populations
  • Residential Facility Assisting/Educating Sex-Workers
  • Women’s Reproductive Health Clinics
  • Community-Based Clinics in Underserved Regions
  • Centers for At-Risk Youth
  • Nonprofit Promoting Fair-Trade
Last updated Jan 2020

Keystone Scholarship

Discover the options our scholarship can give you

About the School

IPSL Global Institute at NUNM (National University of Natural Medicine) is redefining higher education in the 21st century — leveraging international partnerships that eliminate boundaries between aca ... Read More

IPSL Global Institute at NUNM (National University of Natural Medicine) is redefining higher education in the 21st century — leveraging international partnerships that eliminate boundaries between academia and society, and intentionally attuning students’ learning experiences to the challenges and opportunities of today’s world. Our unique educational environment is characterized by intellectual rigor, openness, reciprocity, creativity, and the skills and determination for empowerment. Read Less
Portland , Cusco , Medellín , Hanoi , Thessaloniki , Cartagena , San Lucas Tolimán + 6 More Less