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Launch a career in development leveraging expertise in conflict transformation, migration, economics, data analysis, and program management.

Our Master of Arts in International Policy and Development (IPD) is specifically designed to give you real-world experience before you graduate, culminating in a semesterlong practicum working for an organization like the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, or a range of NGOs and private companies.

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Fall or Spring 42 3 semesters

(12–16 months)
Monterey, California

Find out if IPD is right for you

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.

Launch Your Career

Career and Academic Advising

We integrate your career and academic advising, making sure your coursework aligns with your career goals. The same advisor will guide you from course registration to preparing for interviews and negotiating new career opportunities.

Alumni Network

Our large and influential alumni network in Washington, D.C., and other centers of international policy are eager to help you prepare for your next steps. Our Middlebury in DC office provides the entire Middlebury community with a wealth of resources. Furthermore, our annual Career Exploration Week in the nation’s capital gives you facilitated and direct access to D.C.-based employers and our alumni who help us to plan the event. 


Our graduates are often hired before they complete their program, leveraging real-world projects from their classes, internships, and practicum to showcase their relevant professional experience. They are thriving in careers at organizations like USAID, International Rescue Committee, and Deloitte. 

Explore careers


Versatile Leadership

We prepare you for long-term professional success through courses in organizational development, leadership, and strategy. You will develop a well-rounded set of competencies in data analysis, development paradigms, economics, and more, enabling you to analyze, formulate, assess, and promote policies and solutions in areas such as migration, conflict, development, and global governance.

Local Meets Global

Your case studies, class projects, intercultural training, and language studies will enrich you with local, regional, and global contexts. You will learn to effectively engage in all facets of the policy process by engaging in intimate discussions, hands-on projects, and fieldwork that may take you as far as Kenya or as close as the challenges in central California.

Practical Experience

Your classes will often feature work with real clients, allowing you to develop practical skills before you graduate. The final semester practicum can be completed in person or remotely in the summer, spring, or fall semester. You can earn your degree in 12 consecutive months to accelerate your return to the workforce or in 16 months giving you the flexibility to gain more practical experience via summer internships.

Language Studies and Intercultural Competence

Bridging cultural and linguistic barriers is key to a successful career in policy and development, so you will take content courses in a second language and/or courses in intercultural competence.

Explore your curriculum

42 credits
12 -month option
16 -month option

Joint Master’s Degrees

Earn two master’s degrees in just four semesters:

Customize Your Degree

The flexibility in our curriculum gives you opportunities to customize your degree through career-related electives, a professional practicum, internships, studying a second language and/or intercultural competence, joint degrees, optional specializations in financial crime management and other in-demand fields, and Peace Corps integrations.

Check out the program details for your options.

Faculty: Professors and Practitioners

While other graduate schools rely on teaching assistants, our students have direct access to our faculty, who combine academic expertise with years of professional experience in major international organizations, including UNCHR (the UN Refugee Agency), USAID, the World Bank, and the U.S. State Department.

Your professors are committed to your success and, together with your career and academic advisor, will become your mentors and colleagues throughout your career. 

Meet your faculty

Research and Practice

Build valuable professional experience while earning your degree through our research centers, labs, and initiatives:

Real World Experiences That Lead to Transformation

Scholarships and Financial Aid

More than 95 percent of students who request scholarship consideration receive institutional support. You may receive merit, need-based, partner, and external scholarships and financial aid, which are available to both U.S. and international students.

The 12-month and 16-month options for this program allow you to get back into the workforce—earning a salary—faster and potentially save on housing costs.

Your personal enrollment advisor can help you think through financing this important investment in your career development.

Review tuition costs

How to Apply

We take a holistic approach when considering your application, looking at your academic background, international exposure, professional experience, and career goals. We welcome applicants with or without work experience, and our program has numerous opportunities for you to gain professional experience before you graduate. This approach aligns with the Institute’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We do not require GRE or GMAT scores for our master’s programs but competitive scores may strengthen your application and positively influence scholarship decisions.

Learn how to apply

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IPD Career Outcomes

Our graduates find rewarding careers in policy, development, and human rights organizations around the world.

Career Outcomes

employed within one year of graduation
countries in which recent graduates are employed
different employers of recent graduates

How will you change the world?

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What makes us different?

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Next Application Deadline: August 15

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