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Learning on the Move

The wraparound, it's a full, year-long project where you take a class in the fall, you do a three-week field work in January, and then you come back for spring semester and analyze the data.

When you're in the field, you're doing your interviews, I want you to be focusing on what they say, verifying, validating what they say.

And so we have a cohort of students and they're not necessarily going to one place this year they were planning for three. So we had Nepal, Peru and Salinas. And they're trying to develop the tools they're gonna need to actually be down there. So that means they develop a survey, they meet with clients.

And so, that's a long process. In the meantime, we're learning about semi-structured interviews. We're learning about being in the field and having little impact other than getting the information we're getting.

A lot of my undergraduate courses were purely theoretical. So we talked about development, and how you can build up the middle class.

These are very abstract constructs, whereas here at the Middlebury Institute, they ground everything in experiential learning. So we not only theorized about development, we were actually able to go in the field, work with a local client, and see what it was like to actually design programming to solve real issues.

So in this case, our survey would inform their programming and waste management in the Dun region of Nepal. So it was very specific, it was very tangible. And in that sense it, gave us a better idea of what we could do as development workers.

When they come back, they're taking advanced policy analysis.

And we call it advanced because it's kind of the next level. You're not just learning about policy analysis, you're doing the analysis. They're taking all those data that they got, and they've got to clean that stuff up and they've got to get it ready for analysis and then analyze it, make sense of it, and then get a product out to their client.

This is working with real data, so it's not like one of those canned episodes where you say, okay here's this transcript of a pretend interview where you're gonna analyze it and try and see what you can get out of it. Instead it's messy, and there's a lot of things they didn't even anticipate, that they should have gotten but didn't.

And they're gonna rue the day that they ignored what somebody was saying, or they're gonna really wish that they just pushed a little bit harder and gotten ten more interviews or surveys. So they see the holes, and they see the things they would have liked to do. And they see where the tool fails.

And they'll see what they would have liked to do better the next time they go in. And so what they are doing is, they're getting a good look at why they designed the stuff the way they did in a field methods course, at the problems they had once they got into the J-term, and what they can still make of this stuff, even then.

For me it's really satisfying to see the data all the way through, to go from the design process to analyzing and then submitting a deliverable to our client. So not many universities have programs like this, and I think that's something that's unique to MIIS.

They're really preparing themselves to be future leaders in the field.

And we don't expect anybody to be a seasoned field specialist when they get out there. But they're a lot closer than they would have been if we had just done a regular research methods course.

Be an effective leader in international development and social change.

Students in our IPD and MPA degree programs share a common faculty and the same core courses. This distinct advantage gives you exposure to both disciplines of practice and policy and allows you the flexibility to align your studies with your career goals.

Both degrees are four-semester, 60-credit programs that include a final professional practicum—your hands-on, immersive opportunity to put theory into practice with a client in the field. You can choose a specialization to align with your interests (required for IPD students and optional for MPA students; see more below.) Students also take courses taught in their chosen language of study and can choose to take classes that build intercultural competence. See the curriculum for more details.

Learning Goals

The curriculum for each degree is based on distinct Learning Goals that provide students with an in-depth knowledge of policy processes and systems in a variety of contexts. 

Peace Corps Connections

Joint Degree Options

The Joint MPA/MA in International Education Management is a five-semester, 70-credit program that offers a multidisciplinary approach to education as a tool for development.

The Joint MPA/Master of Arts in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy is a five-semester, 76-credit program that offers a multidisciplinary approach to trade and management agendas in order to achieve breakthroughs on both fronts.

The Joint IPD/Master of Arts in International Trade and Economic Diplomacy is a five-semester, 70-credit program that offers a multidisciplinary approach to international development and practical global trade.

Careers and Internships

Students gain professional experience through internships, prestigious fellowships, and other real-world, immersive programs.

Our graduates work with some of the most prestigious organizations around the world. Learn how they are thriving in their careers.

Tuition and Fees

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we guarantee a minimum $10,000 per year scholarship (prorated by program length) to all MPA and IPD students joining our community in 2019. Applicants who qualify for multiple guaranteed scholarships are awarded a combination of scholarships with a total combined value up to 40 percent of tuition.

You may also receive additional merit and need-based scholarships depending on the strength of your application and your financial situation.

Visit our Admissions site for detailed information about tuition and fees.