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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 Required 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.

Core Course Work

These courses will vary slightly depending on which degree you ultimately decide to pursue.

Economics (IPD; MPA)

Credits that provide a fundamental understanding of international economics. Sample courses:

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

Introduction to Policy and Data Analysis (IPD; MPA)

This required course provides a foundational skill set teaching students to conceptualize problems using quantitative information in the policy sphere.

Development Paradigms, Discourses, and Theories (IPD; MPA)

Credits that focus on development, practice, and policy. Sample courses:

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

Management and Leadership (MPA)

Credits that focus on management of nonprofit or governmental organizations. Sample courses:

  • Leading a Social Change Organization (SCO)
  • Organizational Sustainability

Finance and Administration (MPA)

Credits that build competency in organizational administration. Sample courses:

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

Program Evaluation for Social Change Organizations (MPA)

This required course for the MPA introduces evaluation approaches for public sector and NGOs engaged in social change, poverty alleviation, education, health and development work.

Seminars and Applied Practice Workshops (IPD; MPA)

Research seminars and applied practice course work focused on development knowledge and skills in relevant areas of policy careers. Sample courses:

  • Proposal Writing for International Development
  • Behavior Changing Strategies in Public Health
  • US Immigration Policy in the 21st century
  • Negotiating Global Development Policy
  • Qualitative Data Analysis

Seminar (IPD)

Research seminars focused on development knowledge and skills in relevant areas of policy careers. Sample courses:

  • Latin America: Development Challenges & Public Policy
  • Women’s Human rights in a Multicultural World
  • Foreign Policy, Trade & Development in East Asia
  • Integrated Theory, Research & Practice

Electives

Electives by advisement build on your expertise in areas that can benefit your career.

Specializations

Students choose one of the following seven specializations (required for IPD students and optional for MPA students.) You can find out more about what each specialization involves and how it can help shape your career plans with these detailed fact sheets.

Migration, Trafficking, and Human Security

  • Analyze trends and patterns in international migration, including human trafficking and associated challenges to human security
  • Gain professional skills to pursue careers in international organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), advocacy groups, state agencies, and research institutes dealing with migration
  • Learn to develop and advocate for policies to protect migrants’ rights and improve social and economic conditions
  • Understand the domestic and international regimes that manage migration flows

Global Poverty and Inequality

  • Apply a range of tools from economics, international relations, data analysis, and political economy to address problems of poverty and inequality
  • Design and evaluate regional and national policies, and explore issues calling for international cooperation and global governance initiatives
  • Engage in serious and sustained inquiry into poverty across differing regions to develop plans to address it
  • Gain professional skills to pursue careers in the private sector, government, or NGOs doing consulting, management, and research
  • Study dimensions of poverty and inequality, including income, assets, gender, service access, and more

Human Rights, Gender, and Identity

  • Examine topics such as women’s participation in decision making in post conflict states, sexuality and violence against women, the role of men and masculinities, girls’ access to education, and advocacy for human rights
  • Gain professional skills to pursue positions as gender analysts, program officers, and trainers, as well as policy analysts and researchers at organizations promoting human rights/women’s human rights, social inclusion, and the integration of gender equity
  • Learn how ethnic, religious, national, or gender identities are shaped by dominant power interests through everyday interactions, and how they play a role in conflict, and turning the other into an enemy

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

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Design

  • Explore the analytical function of transforming information into data, and data into actionable knowledge
  • Gain professional skills to work as project, program, or policy evaluators and designers in a range of fields with nongovernmental organizations, governments, and UN agencies
  • Learn commonly applied techniques for determining the worth and value of initiatives at the policy, program, and project levels
  • Strengthen practical skills for designing, collecting, managing, analyzing, storing, disseminating, and curating data

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 practicum in the field or through a capstone research course:

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

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

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

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

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

The independent practicum (four to six credits) 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 offerings provide the cross-cultural communication skills needed to pursue global careers. Sample courses:

  • Arab-African Relations (in Arabic)

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

  • Challenges in Peacebuilding—Congo (in French)

  • 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

Fall 1 16 Credits
Policy and Data Analysis 4
Economics 4
Development Paradigms, Discourses, Theories 4
Language Studies 4
Spring 1 16 Credits
Seminar 4
Applied Practice Workshops 4
Electives/Specialization Courses 4
Language Studies 4
Fall 2 16 Credits
Applied Practice Workshops 2
Electives/Specializations Courses 10
Language/Intercultural Competence 4
Spring 2 12 Credits
Practicum 6
Electives/Specialization Courses 6
TOTAL 60

MPA Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters

Fall 1 16 Credits
Policy and Data Analysis 4
Economics 4
Development Paradigms, Discourses, Theories 4
Language Studies 4
Spring 1 16 Credits
Management and Leadership 4
Seminar/Applied Practice Workshops 4
Electives/Specialization Courses 4
Language Studies 4
Fall 2 16 Credits
Seminar: Program Evaluation for Social Change Organizations 4
Finance and Administration 4
Applied Practice Workshops 2
Electives/Specialization Courses 2
Language/Intercultural Competence 4
Spring 2 12 Credits
Practicum 6
Electives/Specialization Courses 6
TOTAL 60