Sample Curriculum


Fall (September – December)

MDP 500  Foundational MDP Seminar (3 cr)

Introductory course that addresses MDP core concepts, history of development efforts, practical and ethical issues in development work.

MDP 502  Development Economics (3 cr)

Economic principles and development challenges; allocation of scarce household and community resources; impacts of development on gender relations, fertility, income, labor, land use, etc.; global and national patterns of growth; mechanisms that drive trade and investment; inflation and price stabilization; urbanization, migration, and labor markets; devising sustainable growth strategies.

MDP 506  Research Methods I (3 cr)

Quantitative and qualitative research methods for development practice; processes and tools used to design, monitor and evaluate projects; practical and ethical dimensions to gathering information; improving and modifying interventions; participatory processes and approaches; the role of local knowledge.      

GH 500  Global Public Health (2 cr)

Understanding of the factors that constrain achievement of health and wellbeing around the world; dilemmas facing decision-makers in using scarce resources to address key global health issues (population growth, under-five and maternal mortality, HIV); priority setting for development of policies and implementation of public health programs.

Open Elective

Study of the culture, history, language and politics of the region where students conduct their fieldwork or of particular thematic or sectoral issues students choose to focus on.


Spring (January – May)

MDP 517  Research Methods II (3 cr)

Methods employed in sustainable development practice; processes and tools used to design, monitor and evaluate projects; practical dimensions to gathering information; improving and modifying interventions; participatory planning and method; the role of local knowledge.

MDP 507  Interdisciplinary Field Seminar (3 cr)

Close analysis of multidisciplinary case studies; exploration of the local, regional and national conditions that explain their success or failure; group discussion and evaluation of these projects; pre-departure field training.

Management Science Requirement (3 cr)

Students satisfy a management competency requirement by selecting at least one course from options available through partnership with the Gozueita Business School.

Open Elective

Study of the culture, history, language and politics of the region where students conduct their fieldwork or of particular thematic or sectoral issues students choose to focus on.


Spring Intensive Modules

MDP 522  Leadership Development I (3 cr)

This Maymester module focuses on the advanced application of theories and "best practices" related to the management of nonprofit organizations. Special emphasis is given to strategic planning, team-building, facilitation, capacity assessment and leadership. Students develop a repertoire of management tools that can be used in a broad range of nonprofit settings.

MDP 524  Monitoring & Evaluation (3 cr)

This seminar introduces participants to a variety of evaluation approaches appropriate to public sector and nongovernmental organizations engaged in social change, poverty-alleviation, education, health and development work. Key issues include: uses of evaluation; linkages and causality; and participatory approaches. Students develop original evaluation designs that allow them to apply critical seminar concepts to a real-life project.


Summer (June-August)

Field Practicum

Students spend 8-10 weeks working on projects implemented by Partner Organizations in the Global South under the supervision of MDP Faculty.

Fall (September – December)

MDP 511  Field Seminar II (3 cr)

In-depth discussion of summer field projects and development of recommendations: analysis of the economic, social, political and cultural context of the summer field practicum.

MDP 516  Quantitative Reasoning (3 cr)

This course encourage students to learn how to use applied statistical tools as well as evaluating the quality of quantitative data. This course introduces students to basic statistical techniques to analyze quantitative data by learning basic concepts interactively. Students learn to use statistical methods starting from a research question to the common control of bias in research, analysis of data based on research question and objectives, study design, and dissemination of research findings.

MDP 518  Professional Development (2 cr)

Students plan their career development strategy, fine tune each element of their portfolio, hone their interview skills, and identify and practice applying for jobs. This process involves a lot of practice and iterations of feedback and revisions of documents, interview scripts, etc.

MDP 525  Geographic Information Systems (3 cr)

The course introduces the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in the analysis of development data. Students develop GIS skills through homework and case studies, and address basic GIS operations such as buffering, layering, and spatial queries. Students also gain exposure to introductory cartography, and basic statistical aspects of spatial analysis.

Open Elective

Study of the culture, history, language and politics of the region where students conduct their fieldwork or of particular thematic or sectoral issues students choose to focus on.


Spring (January – May)

MDP 510  Gender & Development (3 cr)

Understanding interconnections of gender and globalization; review of theories, concepts, and approaches on gender and development; integration of gender into project design, implementation, and assessment; gender analysis for development practice and policy planning.

MDP 514  Applied Development Practice (3 cr)

Experts from leading global development agencies (CARE, Habitat, World Bank, etc.) present students with a practical approach to various components of global development. Topics of discussion may include microfinance, resettlement, housing, market inclusion, education, or health topics. Experts allow students increased access to development agencies, while offering a practical approach to lectures and in-class exercises.

Environmental Science Requirement (3-4 cr)

Students must satisfy an environmental science requirement by selecting one elective from a variety of course options available through partnership with Environmental Studies through Laney Graduate School. Options include Ecological Economics, Natural Resource Management, Urban Ecology and other qualifying Environmental Health courses.

Open Elective

Study of the culture, history, language and politics of the region where students conduct their fieldwork or of particular thematic or sectoral issues students choose to focus on.


Summer (June-August)

Field Experience

Students spend 10 weeks working on projects implemented by Partner Organizations in the Global South under the supervision of the MDP Director and MDP Faculty.