Develop a foundational understanding of the processes citizens and civil society organizations can use to influence the policies of governments, corporations and other powerful institutions.

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You will begin your program with online coursework, which will introduce you to the key concepts and analytical skills related to policy advocacy. This knowledge will be grounded through the analysis of case studies. You will develop the foundational knowledge and skills to understand, evaluate, and draw lessons from different campaigns, with a focus on the policy, political, and strategy elements that are part of a successful campaign.

In Spain, you will have the opportunity to examine real world examples of policy advocacy in the context of the Basque Country, through lectures and firsthand experiences of people in the field. Using the Basque Country and Bilbao as a case study, you will develop an understanding of the specificities and nuances of policy advocacy in a multilevel governance framework. The Basque Country is a fantastic place to explore these issues due to its unique governing structure involving local, autonomous, and central governments, as well as the European Union, all of which have different functions in the Spanish context.


  • Apply core concepts of policy advocacy, including power, policy, and political systems, in understanding a variety of advocacy campaigns.
  • Analyze the different approaches of advocacy interventions in various policy areas and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions or campaigns.
  • Explore multidimensional perspectives on advocacy based on the experiences of different organizations and individuals in the Basque Country.
  • Examine the implications for policy advocacy in contemporary Europe.

Syllabus coming soon

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Policy Advocacy: Concepts and Practice (online, 3 graduate credits)
Policy Advocacy: Experiences from Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain (Spain, 3 graduate credits)

Online Term Details

The online course can be taken during either the summer or fall semester. It will meet virtually for four weeks. Course content will be provided on SIT’s Learning Management System and will include a mixture of synchronous class discussions and pre-recorded lectures and interviews with experts in policy advocacy. Some key concepts you will explore include policy research and analysis, governance and political systems, theory of change, networking and coalition building, constituent education and mobilization, lobbying, and the use of popular, mass, and social media.

In-Country Term Details

In Spain, you will be based in Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country, a region known for having an active and thriving civil society. In the broader context of multilevel governance, you will have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of advocacy and public policy development in different parts of the Basque Country, such as Vitoria, Bilbao, or Bayonne (French Basque Country).

Program Components

  • 40 hours online
  • 3 weeks in the field (Bilbao, Spain)

SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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Dr. Jeff Unsicker, Professor Emeritus, School for International Training

Dr. Victor Tricot, Academic Director, Spain: Policy, Law and Regional Autonomy in Europe

Dr. Azim Khan, Associate Professor and Academic Director, India: Public Health, Gender, and Community Action; India: Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices


Bed & Breakfasts, small hotels, and apartments.

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Possible Career Paths

Students in this program go on to work in the field in a variety of areas including study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies. Find out some of the career paths that may be open to you.

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  • Policy Research
  • Campaign Management
  • Organizing and Outreach
  • Communications
  • Program Development
  • Trainer
  • Program Director

See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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The total cost for this program is $5,960.

  • $2,160 – online tuition (a 40 percent discount off of normal tuition)
  • $2,725 – in-country tuition
  • $1,075 – room and board in country

Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.