Skills For Impact









"The opportunity to develop skills through the Skills For Impact curriculum is a great preparation for future impact making, and something that I was unable to find in other policy schools."

Dragana Marinkovic


The Skills For Impact (SFI) program, originally developed and taught with the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership & Advocacy (LEAD), provides a learning environment in which MPA students can enhance the essential skills they will need for their future careers.

The SFI program is a mandatory, applied element of the MPA program. It aims to equip students with core vocational competencies that are of high value in the workplace, including team building, leadership, emotional intelligence, planning, risk management and critical reflection. The SFI modules complement academic learning on the MPA, and provide an important opportunity for practice oriented learning and broad skills development.


Modules are delivered in the Spring term of the first and second year in a professional education format of either 1.5 (1 credit) or 3 days (2 credits) of intense engagement, a style that introduces students to executive training approaches and different pedagogic styles. These modules variously develop the ability of students to navigate, shape, and negotiate complex environments, manage and reduce conflicts, and to communicate and advocate effectively. Faculty delivering SFI modules come from a diversity of practice and professional backgrounds including film-making, media training, budgeting, capacity building, management, law and psychology.

For the class of MPA students 2021-2023 and 2022-2024 there is a choice of options from a range of SFI modules for a maximum of 10 credits over the two years of the MPA program Each year the below 10 credits (5 SFI courses) will be standardly provided . These courses are :


Engaging International Organizations in Vienna   2 Credits

Turning Conflicts into Collaboration 2 Credits

Advocacy: Strategizing, Planning and Measuring Impact 2 Credits

Negotiations Workshop 2 Credits

Data Management 1 Credits

Data Visualization 1 Credits

Managing Cultural Diversity 1 Credits (mandatory for MPA)


Additional 1 and 2 credit SFI courses will be provided on a rotational basis (2023 Year A) (list subject to change):



Effective Communication to PP Audiences 1

Applying Psychology to Public Policy 2 Credits

Video Advocacy 1 Credits

Media Advocacy 1 Credits



Fundraising 2 Credits

Evidence for policy Impact 2 Credits 

Digital Security and HR practicum (2)/ Practical Legal Skills 2 Credits


Students are required to successfully pass 10 credits of the MPA program, the 1 credit module Managing Cultural Diversity is mandatory and delivered during the pre-sessional period of the first year. 


All 10 credits of the Skills For Impact modules are earned on a Pass/Fail basis, with assessment criteria set out for each of the individual SFI modules.

MPA Timeline including mandatory APP and SFI timeframes, Optional thesis