An education that makes a difference

Whether you're looking to strengthen sustainable agricultural practices in rural areas or combat the global HIV/AIDs epidemic, the MA in International Development offers degree options to tackle any of the world's toughest development challenges.

Students have the opportunity to custom-design a particular focus or professional track to fit their interests and are encouraged to gain real-world experience through practica, internships, and hands-on study abroad opportunities. All students will complete a capstone option of their choice: a substantial research paper, a practicum, or a master’s thesis.

Degree Options

In addition to the standard master's degree, you can earn a dual master's degree through our partnerships at AU.

The MA in International Development is designed for students whose professional interests require a broad, multidisciplinary approach to international development theories, issues, and programs. It is particularly useful preparation for careers in policy analysis, program management, and research. The program provides opportunities for students to critically examine past and present international development theories and policies and to gain firsthand experience by working and interning with prominent development organizations. Students also have the opportunity to choose a professional track from a range of options or to individually design a specialization relevant to their needs and interests.

Students will complete a capstone that demonstrates critical thinking and research and writing skills through completion of either a master's thesis, a substantial research paper, or a practicum.

The School of International Service (SIS) offers a dual master’s degree program with Wesley Theological Seminary, providing graduates with a powerful combination of peace, theology, and development studies. Applications are submitted to both SIS and Wesley. Students must be admitted separately to each program. Students will earn 42 credit hours toward their MST from WTS and 33 credit hours for their MA from SIS. Students may count up to 9 credit hours of relevant coursework from Wesley toward the professional track requirement and an additional 3 credit hours toward the capstone requirement for the MA in International Development.

Learn more about Wesley Seminary MA/MTS admission and degree requirements.

The School of International Service (SIS) offers a dual master's degree program with Kogod School of Business, providing students with a unique business background that complements their international development studies. MA/MBA students can specialize in areas at SIS that include international development, security, global governance, conflict resolution, global environmental policy, regional studies, US foreign policy, public diplomacy, or a tailored concentration of their choice.

The full-time MBA is a cohorted two-year program that requires 31 credit hours of approved graduate coursework from Kogod in addition to 39–42 credit hours from SIS. All students are required to participate in the full-time MBA orientation prior to the start of the program. Dual degree students may count up to 9 credit hours from their Kogod degree requirements toward their SIS degree requirements with approval of the SIS program director.

Generally, dual degree students begin their academic programs at Kogod, but this is not required. Applications are submitted to both SIS and Kogod and students must be admitted separately to each program. While students are encouraged to apply for admission to both programs simultaneously, students can apply to the second program after admission and matriculation in the first program. Students must be admitted to the second program and begin their studies prior to conferral of the degree from the first program. Applicants to the MBA program must also have completed two undergraduate courses, one in micro and one in macro economics (or the graduate equivalent), prior to entering the program.

Professional Tracks

Graduate study in the International Development program is anchored in a required core curriculum and offers students the opportunity to custom-design a particular professional track to fit their interests. The following drop-down menus include a description of each professional track and suggested courses, although students may also customize a track or design their own.

The professional track in Community Development exposes students to key theories, methodologies, and empirical studies in local development. Themes examined in this professional track include community-driven development, social and political accountability, decentralization, rural and urban development, state capacity, and the impact of social and economic inequalities—along a number of dimensions including ethnicity, race, gender, and class—on local development.

  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Population & Development
  • SIS-635 Rural Development
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-635 Urban Development
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-726 Professional Development Management
  • ECON-600 Microeconomics
  • EDU-642 Training Program Design
  • EDU-649 Nonformal Education and Development

In this professional track, students will build their expertise as trans-disciplinary development specialists with unique insights into the dynamics behind natural resource degradation on the ground in poorer communities, countries, and regions. Students will gain an understanding of why so many arguably well-intentioned environmental projects have gone awry and added to the problem rather than the solution. Students learn and use “root cause analysis” methodology, enabling them to delineate development-related root causes of environmental problems in various countries and regions in the South and then to sculpt policy proposals to address those root causes. A student in this track can select courses to build specific expertise in a subfield such as food/agriculture or gender.

  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-650 Economic Globalization & Development Alternatives
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-620 Political Ecology of Food & Ag
  • SIS-620 Democracy and Environment
  • SIS-620 Global Climate Change
  • SIS-620 Politics of Conservation
  • SIS-620 Water Governance
  • SIS-652 Intro to Environmental Economics

Gender forms a central concept in the analysis of the well-being/ill-being of people across the globe. The professional track on Gender & Development is designed to expose students to the multi-dimensional connections between global and local socio-economic and political structures that inform and frame the discourse of gender and development. This track is interdisciplinary in nature and draws upon a set of courses which are designed to enhance students' analytical tools, develop requisite policy skills, and provide them with a comprehensive understanding of how social and power structures impact different groups of women and men.

  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-619 Gender, Peace and Security 
  • SIS-628 Postcolonialism, Race & IR
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Human Trafficking in Global Society
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-642 Intercultural Relations
  • SIS-712 NGOs in Global Governance
  • ANTH-543 Anthropology of Development

This track connects the dots from local to national to global development policies. Students will build their expertise as trans-disciplinary development specialists with unique insights into: (1) The public and private institutions that manage global economic governance, from the WTO to transnational corporations; (2) How changes in the major areas of global economic activity—trade, foreign investment, aid, and debt—impact on-the-ground development and policy choices for the South; (3) The social movements challenging the current structures of global economic governance; and (4) Relevant policy initiatives and alternatives.

  • SIS-650 Economic Globalization & Development Alternatives
  • SIS-635 Human Trafficking in Global Society
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-712 NGOs in Global Governance
  • SIS-622 Human Rights
  • SIS-673 Comparative Political Economy
  • IBUS-641 Social Sustainability Strategy
  • IBUS-745 Global Supply Chain Mgmt

In this track students will learn about the goals and issues relating to the practice of good governance with an emphasis on developing nations. Attention will be paid to local, national and regional governance issues such as accountability, the rule of law, human security, and the provision of public goods, as well as the “dark side” of governance, including combatting corruption and organized crime. Stress will be placed on the importance of developing strong inclusive institutions in the public sector and in civil society as well as both operational and environmental sustainability.

  • SIS-619 Corruption, Dirty Money and Development

  • SIS-620 Democracy and Environment

  • SIS-635 Social Accountability

  • SIS-635 Regional Cooperation & Sustainable Development

  • SIS-635 Urban Development

  • SIS-647 Governance and Development

  • SIS-649 Environment & Development

  • SIS-650 Economic Globalization & Development Alternatives

Students in the Global Health professional track will learn about the complexity of understanding and solving global health problems, including the agendas, governance issues, and institutional actors currently prominent in the field. Students will learn how to plan, monitor and evaluate global health programs. They will learn how to apply interdisciplinary, community-based and intersectional perspectives (including culture, race, identity, gender and power) to planning health promotion and communication programs.

  • SIS 635-Intro to Global Health
  • SIS-628 Global Health, Culture & Communication
  • SIS-635 Food Security: Institutional Perspectives
  • SIS-635 Population & Development
  • SIS-635 Program Planning in Global Health
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-726 Professional Development Management
  • EDU-649 Non-Formal Education & Development
  • HPRM-585 Global Health Policy

In this track, students will learn professional skills that will enable them to effectively manage and evaluate projects and programs. This can involve projects and programs from the private and public sector, as well as for NGOs, bilateral and multi-lateral organizations. The track will provide an overview of the best practices to management and provide an overview of the main evaluation approaches. Students will subsequently have an opportunity to specialize in a given methodological approach to deepen their skill set.

  • SIS-726 Professional Development Management
  • SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring & Evaluation
  • SIS-750 Data Analysis
  • SIS-750 Qualitative Methods & Methodology
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-635 NGO/Social Enterprise Management
  • PUAD-617 Project Management
  • ACCT-611 Cost Accounting for Strategic Management
  • MGMT-633 Leading People & Organizations

This professional track emphasizes a set of tools for the practice of development policy. Students will learn to apply the tools of economics and quantitative methods to any topic of interest (e.g., gender, the environment, global health, or trade). These skills are an essential component of any professional development practitioner who hopes to create and implement effective policy interventions to enhance a population’s well-being.

  • SIS-635 Intro to Global Health
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Rural Development
  • SIS-652 Environmental Economics
  • SIS-673 Comparative Political Economy
  • SIS-616 International Economics
  • SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring & Evaluation
  • SIS-750 Data Analysis

In this track students will learn to apply the practices of the innovator and social entrepreneur to deal with the challenges of global poverty and development. Students will learn to borrow and adapt methods from the behavioral sciences and business to creatively develop solutions that have eluded traditional top-down approaches. These practitioner-oriented courses will cover consulting skills, co-creating with intended beneficiaries, and leading change. Depending on their course selection, students in this track will have an opportunity to earn an SIS Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation for Global Impact in addition to their ID degree.

  • SIS-619 Leading Social Innovation
  • SIS-619 Innovation for Social Impact
  • SIS-635 NGO/Social Enterprise Management
  • SIS-619 Consulting for Social Impact
  • SIS-739 Private Sector Engagement with Social Issues
  • SIS-750 Organizational Effectiveness for International Service
  • SIS-793 Social Innovation Individual Project 

Experiential Learning

Students are encouraged to take Skills Institutes and participate in the Practicum Program, both of which provide extensive real world skills and experience in international development.

The practicum is a a one-semester, pre-professional experience, which can serve as a capstone for the MAID degree. Student teams complete projects for external client organizations, producing deliverables that address challenges identified by clients in a statement of work. Students work under a site supervisor and a faculty advisor. Each practicum offers real-world experience with project management, client relations, oral presentations, and writing skills. Practicum options change every year, and students can apply to one that best suits their academic and career interests. Some practica also have international immersion components.

Skills Institutes are intensive workshops designed to introduce students to professional skills relevant to careers in international affairs. Taught by experienced practitioners, these rigorous and experiential workshops allow students to translate theory into practice and gain the competencies sought by today's employers. Over 2-3 full days, students will have the opportunity to focus on tangible skills that are applicable to the development field.

Application            At a Glance

View a detailed admission and degree requirements listing for your degree of interest.

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Application Deadline
January 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
Two letters of recommendation
Resume
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if non-native English speaker
Application
Completion of online application