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The MPA in Social Change program trains professionals to promote meaningful and sustainable human development and social change in pursuit of a more just and equitable world.

Our graduates design, manage, and lead individuals, teams, programs, and organizations working for positive social change addressing critical challenges locally and globally. Unlike traditional MPA programs, our program prepares students to work across sectors including with nonprofits, governments, and international and intergovernmental organizations around the world drawing from the following interdisciplinary competencies woven throughout your learning experiences.

The program learning goals align with the mission and vision of the Middlebury Institute and the larger Middlebury Strategic Framework to prepare graduates to drive change in pursuit of a more just world. The goals below and their corresponding outcomes represent the focus of our program and are designed to instill a commitment to lifelong learning and development in this complex and evolving field.  

Fundamental competencies

Integrated into most courses:

  • Communicating in written and oral forms with different audiences
  • Higher-level thinking, problem solving, and evidence-based decision making using an ethical compass
  • Engaging in collaborations in interpersonal, team, organizational, and/or inter-organizational levels
  • Work with and support others appropriately and effectively in socially, culturally, and linguistically diverse environments
  • Use methods of rigorous inquiry and evidence-based decision-making, including collecting, analyzing, visualizing, and synthesizing data and drawing practical actionable inferences. 

Program-specific competencies

Delivered mostly via core courses:

  • Effectively lead individuals, teams, and social change organizations including via developing organizational and individual capacities.
  • Efficiently and effectively design, manage, and evaluate projects and programs.
  • Understand and analyze finances and budgets, and make relevant decisions informed by sound financial analysis. 
  • Develop social change strategies including engaging in productive collaborations with other organizations.
  • Design and implement applied research projects, ideally in the context of an actual organization.