Both the Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in International Policy and Development are four-semester, 60-credit programs.

Start Credits Practicum Language Competency Program Chair
August or January 60 Required Optional Beryl Levinger

A Learning Environment Focused on Development Practice and Policy

Our Master of Public Administration and Master of Arts in International Policy and Development share a common faculty, the same core courses, and a passion for policy and social justice. You will acquire the professional skills to lead social change and shape international development and policy.

  • All of the core courses and specializations are available to students in both degree programs. Students take classes across a broad range of disciplines.
  • Students work closely with faculty and advisors to select the degree that is most closely aligned with career goals.
  • Both degrees share an emphasis on immersive learning, curriculum flexibility, teamwork, and strong engagement between theory and practice.
  • All students work frequently on real-world problems with external clients and learning partners, both within specific classes and through semester-long internships.

Requirements

Both degrees require the following 34 credits:

Introduction to Policy and Data Analysis (4 credits)

Development Paradigms, Discourses, and Theories (4 credits) sample courses:

  • Development, Theory, and Practice
  • Introduction to Conflict Resolution
  • Politics of Development
  • Power, Social Change, and Organizations

Economics (4 credits) sample courses:

  • Development Economics
  • Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
  • International Trade: Theory and Practice

Seminar and/or Applied Practice Workshops (6 credits) sample courses:

  • Proposal Writing for International Development (3 credits)
  • Behavior Changing Strategies in Public Health (2 credits)
  • Negotiating Global Development Policy (4 credits)
  • Qualitative Data Analysis (4 credits)

Practicum (4 or 6 credits)

Language Studies and Intercultural Competence

  • One intercultural competence course is required, language studies are optional using electives. 

To complete the IPD master’s, the following credits are required:

Seminar (4 credits) sample courses:

  • Latin America: Development Challenges and Public Policy
  • Foreign Policy, Trade, and Development in East Asia
  • Integrated Theory, Research, and Practice

Specialization (16 credits)

Electives

  • 12 to 17 credits, which students may use to take language studies courses, additional intercultural competence courses, IPD courses, MPA courses, and/or courses from other degree programs (assuming prerequisites met).
  • Electives by advisement build on your expertise in areas that can benefit your career.

To complete the MPA, the following credits are required:

Management and Leadership (4 credits) sample courses:

  • Leading a Social Change Organization (SCO)

Finance and Administration (4 credits) sample courses:

  • Finance Function of Nonprofit and Social Change Organizations
  • Organizational Sustainability for Social Change Organizations

Program Evaluation for Social Change Organizations (4 credits)

Electives

  • 20 to 25 credits, which students may use to take language studies courses, additional intercultural competence courses, IPD courses, MPA courses, specialization courses, and/or courses from other degree programs (assuming prerequisites met).
  • Electives by advisement build on your expertise in areas that can benefit your career

Specializations

Students choose a specialization (required for IPD students and optional for MPA students) from the options below:

Migration and Global Governance

  • Analyze and develop a clear understanding of institutions, processes, trends, and patterns in global governance 
  • Develop a clear understanding of patterns in international migration, and associated challenges to human rights and all forms of security
  • Understand the challenges of the existing global rules, norms, and regulations  as well as domestic, regional and international regimes and legal frames that manage migration flows
  • Understand why governments and international organizations do what they do in global governance, and how they could do better and make it more inclusive, equitable, effective and development-friendly
  • Acquire professional skills on international negotiations, conflict resolution, dispute settlement, public speaking, policy paper writing
  • Learn to develop and advocate for policies to protect migrants’ rights and improve social and economic conditions
  • Develop independent research and gain a deeper understanding of pressing migration issues
  • Learn and apply qualitative and quantitative research methods training, field research experiences, and data analysis

Conflict Resolution and Social Justice

  • Explore how conflict interveners aim to minimize the destructive effects of conflict while using it as a vehicle to transform relationships and oppressive structures
  • Gain professional skills to pursue jobs at the grassroots level (community organizations, NGOs), the institutional level (international NGOs, research organizations, think tanks), and policy institutions (UN, World Bank, other major international organizations)
  • Learn to integrate theory, research, and practice through critical analysis, simulations, case studies, and internships
  • Reflect on personal ethics when dealing with social challenges such as migration, refugees, poverty, insecurity, discrimination, human rights violations, and environmental crisis
  • Strengthen conflict resolution skills, such as communication, listening, negotiation, mediation, and dialogue

Evaluation and Analytics

  • This specialization introduces you to the art and science of making sense of the information around us to inform decisions. This is among the most important skills to have at the time when every organization is struggling to make sense of data they have or collect to improve their decisions, programs, products, and operations. Sometimes these data are highly structured, like internal records and survey responses, and other times they are completely unstructured, such as written materials, photographic records, or interview transcripts.

  • Structured analytic techniques are used at every level of inquiry and they are highly sought after by employers. Although there has never been a better time for someone with quantitative skills, there is also a high demand for people with strong qualitative skills. Whether an analyst is using quantitative, qualitative, or a mixed-methods approach, structured analysis helps to reveal patterns, regularities, and meaningful associations and insights that are not readily apparent to the unaided eye. 

  • The META Lab is a key resource for this specialization.
     

Financial Crime Management

The 16-credit Financial Crime Management specialization is available to students in any degree program. It addresses the growing market need for professionals to prevent, detect, and manage illicit finance.

Intercultural Competence

The 16-credit Intercultural Competence (ICC) specialization is available to students in any degree program. It equips you with the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes to expertly lead and train multicultural teams, sensitively interact with diverse stakeholders, and create effective ICC assessments and training materials.

Professional Practicum

Put theory into practice through a semester long 4-credit capstone research course or 6-credit practicum in the field:

Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation (DPMI) PLUS (6 credits)

Design, Partnering, Management, and Innovation PLUS includes a three- to nine-month internship applying degree-area skills to benefit a host organization. You’ll also create a case study examining DPMI-related issues confronting the organization. These issues may include project design, project monitoring, training, stakeholder participation, strategic partnering, social entrepreneurship, and innovation.

International Professional Service Semester Field Project (6 credits)

An immersive learning experience, the International Professional Service Semester integrates academic work with professional opportunities. Students serve as junior professional staff members in an international organization while producing specific deliverables for academic credit.

Frontier Market Scouts (4 or 6 credits)

The Frontier Market Scouts fellowship program selects and trains students and professionals seeking careers in social venture management and impact investing. Two weeks of training is followed by a two- to 12-month field placement. To choose the fellowship program for your practicum, you must apply for admission to the program and complete the fieldwork, including an impact research report.

Practicum Project Seminar (4 credits)

This four-credit Practicum Project Seminar helps students demonstrate, integrate, and apply competencies central to their degrees. The course is designed to support customized projects depending on your interests and career aspirations. You are required to produce high-quality deliverables related to the issues you explore, either with client organizations or in nonclient-based research projects.

Independent Practicum (4 or 6 credits)

The independent practicum is self-directed and requires independent academic planning and responsibilities. You can choose to complete an internship or field-based research. Both require you to engage a faculty sponsor, develop a work plan with that sponsor, submit the specified deliverables to be evaluated at the conclusion of the project, and present the deliverables in a final colloquium.

Language and Intercultural Competence

Courses taught in your chosen language combine language skills development with topics related to your degree work and professional interests. Our intercultural competence (ICC) offerings provide the cross-cultural communication skills needed to pursue global careers.

Before you apply, we encourage you to speak to your enrollment advisor to discuss whether language studies align with your career goals so that you can complete the online application appropriately. If you enroll, you will work closely with your career and academic advisor to determine whether language studies and/or intercultural competence will best benefit your evolving career plans.

Sample language studies courses:

  • Arab-African Relations (in Arabic)

  • Citizenship, Security, and Development in Latin America (in Spanish)

  • Challenges in Peacebuilding—Congo (in French)

Sample ICC courses:

  • Intercultural Group Dynamics

  • Multilingual Communication in Multicultural Settings

Sprintensive

Sprintensive is a pedagogical approach that is all about hands-on learning. It is relationship-rich and feedback-rich and involves a great deal of peer-to-peer and faculty-student interaction. Students take one class at a time, four hours a day, five days a week, covering an entire semester’s worth of material in just three weeks. The process is repeated three more times, so by the end of the semester students complete a full academic load, one class at a time. Focusing on a single subject offers many advantages. In addition to reducing the distractions and competing priorities of a standard schedule, the intensive schedule ensures that the student cohort develop deep and lasting bonds that translate into a vibrant professional support network.

Internships/Study Abroad

Gaining professional development experience during the course of your academic program is essential. The Institute helps support student opportunities to apply their skills, build their résumés, expand their connections, and advance their international careers through innovative real-world learning experiences.

Additional Program Options

Joint MPA/MA in International Education Management

Earn a Joint MPA/MAIEM in five semesters. This integrated curriculum features four semesters of course work and a one-semester professional practicum in the international education development field. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to education as a tool for development.

Joint IPD/MA in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy

Students interested in a professional career at the intersection of trade and development can choose a Joint IPD/MAITED.

Joint MPA/MA in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy

Students interested in a professional career addressing trade and management agendas in order to achieve breakthroughs on both fronts can choose a Joint MPA/MAITED.

Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are encouraged to apply for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program.

Options for Peace Corps Service

Interested students can integrate Peace Corps service into their degree.

Accelerated Entry and Advanced Entry

Students who meet our requirements for accelerated entry or advanced entry may be eligible to complete the degree in two or three full-time semesters. See How to Apply for details.

IPD Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters

Term Course Credits
Fall 1 Policy and Data Analysis 4
Fall 1 Development Paradigms, Discourses, Theories 4
Fall 1 Intercultural Competence 4
Fall 1 Economics 4
Spring 1 Seminar 4
Spring 1 Applied Practice Workshops 4
Spring 1 Specialization Courses 4
Spring 1 Electives 4
Fall 2 Applied Practice Workshops 2
Fall 2 Specialization Courses 8
Fall 2 Electives 6
Spring 2 Practicum 4 (or 6)
Spring 2 Specialization Courses 4
Spring 2 Electives 4 (or 2)
TOTAL   60

MPA Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters

Term Course Credits
Fall 1 Policy and Data Analysis 4
Fall 1 Development Paradigms, Discourses, Theories 4
Fall 1 Intercultural Competence 4
Fall 1 Economics 4
Spring 1 Applied Practice Workshops 4
Spring 1 Management and Leadership 4
Spring 1 Electives 8
Fall 2 Applied Practice Workshops 2
Fall 2 Finance and Administration 4
Fall 2 Program Evaluation for Social Change Organizations 4
Fall 2 Electives 6
Spring 2 Practicum 4 (or 6)
Spring 2 Electives 8 (or 6)
TOTAL   60