Master of Development Practice

Through dynamic, interdisciplinary training in public policy, education, public health, and natural and social sciences, the Master of Development Practice (MDP) degree program prepares students for careers in international development, equipping them with the skills needed to address the problems of poverty, social justice, and sustainable development.

Jointly administered by the Humphrey School and University of Minnesota’s Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), the MDP degree program is a member of the Global MDP Association. While the large majority of our MDP students are focused on the developing world, some graduates use their skills to work in the domestic arena.

Students are required to complete a 10-week (400 hours) international field experience, which includes professional work and academic cross-cultural training. Students complete the field experience during the summer between the first and second year of the program. Egypt, Peru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and Senegal are a few of the countries where students most recently spent their summers conducting community-engaged research.

The Humphrey School's global policy expertise includes faculty research and work around the world in such countries as China, Colombia, Egypt, India, and Tanzania.

Positions Our Graduates Hold

Special Advisor to the Minister of Gender and Development, Republic of Liberia
Consultant, Organization of American States, Washington, D.C.
Policy Outreach Associate, Center for Global Development, Washington, D.C.
International Recruiter, American Refugee Committee, Minneapolis
Specialist, International Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program, University of California–Davis
Project Manager, Health and Wellness Community Partnerships, HealthPartners, Minneapolis


The Master of Development Practice requires 50 semester credits, including 43.5 credits in interdisciplinary required courses and a 3-credit capstone workshop. The remaining credits are taken in elective courses. An intensive two–week development practice orientation and an international field experience also are required.

Required Core Courses (46.5 credits) 
AGRO 5321 Ecology of Agricultural Systems (3) 
MDP 5001 Ways of Knowing and Sustainable Livelihoods (2)
MDP 5002 Research Methods for Sustainable Livelihoods (4)
MDP 5003 Field Study Pre-Departure Seminar (1) 
MDP 5004 International Field Experience(3)
MDP 5100 International Field Seminar (1)
MDP 5200 Capstone Workshop in Development Practice (3)
PA 5501 Theories and Policies of Development (3)
PA 5521 Development Planning and Policy Analysis (4)
PA 5031 Empirical Analysis I (4)
PA 5003 Introduction to Financial Analysis and Management (1.5) 
PA 5503 Economics of Development (3)

Education Policy: OLPD 5121 Educational Reform in International Contexts(3) OR OLPD 5080 Gender, Education, and International Development (3)

Management and Policy Analysis: PA 5941 Leadership for the Common Good (3) OR PA 5105 Integrative Leadership (3) OR PA 5251 Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations(3) OR PA 5405 Public Policy Implementation(3) 
Environmental Sciences: EEB/FR 5146 Science and Policy of Global Environmental Change (3) OR GEOG 5401 Geography of Environmental Systems and Global Change (3)

Public Health: 
PUBH 6320 Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3) OR PUBH 6134 Global Public Health (3)

Students who waive PA 5031 are encouraged to take PUBH 6705 Community Health Assessment (3)

You may be exempted from selected core course requirements if you have relevant prior coursework. In that case, you can take additional elective credits to meet the 50-credit requirement.

Program Planning Worksheet
The Program Planning Worksheet (PPW) helps current students plan their degrees from start to finish. Students must submit a completed and approved PPW before graduating.

Capstone Workshop (3 credits)
Capstone Workshops are designed to provide a learning opportunity for MDP students in their second year to apply their knowledge through a client-based team project.

International Field Experience
Students are required to complete a 10-week (400 hours) international field experience, which will include professional work and academic cross-cultural training. Students will complete the field experience during the summer between the first and second year of the program. 

Electives (to bring total degree credits to at least 50) can be chosen from four main areas:

Natural Sciences
ESPM 5061 Water Quality and Natural Resources (3)
ESPM 5101 Conservation of Plant Biodiversity (3)
ESPM 5108 Ecology of Managed Systems (4)
ESPM 5202 Environmental Conflict Management: Leadership and Planning (3)
ESPM 5207 Emerging Issues in Tropical Agriculture and Forestry: Costa Rica (3)
ESPM 5251 Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development (3)
ESPM 5604 Environmental Management Systems and Strategy Development (3)
ESPM 5251 Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development (3)
FR 5104 Forest Ecology (4)
FR 5105 Forest Ecosystem and Health Management (3)
FR 5142 Tropical Forest Ecology (3)
FR 5153 Forest and Wetland Hydrology (3) 
GEO 5108 Principles of Environmental Geology (3) 
HORT 5071 Restoration and Reclamation Ecology (3) 
PA 5721 Energy and Environmental Policy (3)
WRS 5241 Ecological Risk Assessment (3)

Health and Education
OLPD 5101 International Education and Development (3)
OLPD 5104 Strategies for International Development of Education Systems(3) 
OLPD 8101 International Development and Education (3)
PA 5414 Child Labor and Education (3) 
PUBH 6080 Policy, Politics, and Ethics of Public Health Decision-making (2) 
PUBH 6102 Issues in Environmental and Occupational Health (2)
PUBH 6133 Global Health Seminar (1)
PUBH 6650 Community Based Participatory Research (1)
PUBH 6807 Global Health, Relief, Development and Religious and Non-Religious NGOs (3)
PUBH 6845 Using Demographic Data for Policy Analysis (3)
PUBH 6933 Nutrition and Chronic Diseases (2) 
PUBH 8140 Validity Concepts in Epidemiologic Research (2) 
PUBH 8142 Epidemiologic Uncertainty Analysis (2)

Management and Policy Analysis
PA 5101 Management and Governance of Nonprofit Organizations (3)
PA 5111 Financial Management in Public and Nonprofit Organizations (3) 
PA 5271 Geographic Information Systems: Applications in Planning and Policy Analysis (3)
PA 5301 Population Analysis and Policy for the US and Third World (3)
PA 5522 International Development Policy, Household Economics and Family Health (3) 
PA 8821 National Security Policy (3)
OLPD 5011 Leading Organizational Change: Theory and Practice (3)
OLPD 5048 Cross-cultural Perspectives on Leadership (2–3)
OLPD 5101 International Education and Development (3) 
WHRE 5351 Methods for Change in Developing Countries (3)

Social Science
ANTH 5041 Ecological Anthropology (3)
ANTH 8120 Problems in Culture Change and Applied Anthropology (3–6)
APEC 5152 Applied Macroeconomics: Income and Employment (3)
APEC 5651 Economics of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (3) 
GEOG 5007 Theories of Development and Social Change (3)
GEOG 5385 Globalization and Development: Political Economy (4)
GEOG 5561 Principles of Geographic Information Science (4)
GEOG 5565 Geographical Analysis of Human Environment Systems (GIS applications) (3) 
GWSS 8401 Gender, Space, and Resistance (3) 
PA 5801 Global Public Policy (3) 
POL 5441 Environmental Policy (3)
POL 5485 Human Rights and Democracy in the World (3) 
POL 5872 Global Environmental Politics (3)
POL 5889 Governments, Global Trade, and Money (3) 
SOC Topics Courses