Frequently Asked Questions

How can I apply?

Applications can be accessed through the Laney Graduate School's application instructions page. Those instructions are for all applicants to Emory’s graduate programs, though each program (ex. MDP) may have additional or separate guidelines or requirements.

What does the application consist of?
We evaluate candidates based on the following criteria: the statements of purpose, letters of recommendation, résumé/CV, and transcripts. Standardized test scores, like the GRE, may also help to support your application, if provided, but are not required. The statement of purpose is the most important part of the application. Please refer to the admission page for more detailed information on each of these components.

What do you look for in an applicant?

We seek applicants with a combination of the academic ability needed to undertake the MDP's rigorous curriculum and relevant work (whether paid or unpaid) and/or study experience in low-resource settings, especially in the Global South. Knowledge of foreign languages and professional skills are highly desired.

Do I need to have a certain major?

You are not required to have a specific undergraduate major. However, students with majors that are far removed from fields related to development are advised to clearly explain in their statement of purpose why they wish to "change gears" and study development practice.

Do you accept applicants who have just graduated from college?

We so welcome applications from strongly qualified undergraduate students who have have relevant extra-curricular experiences. However, applicants who have had at least a couple of years of work or volunteer experience after completing their college degrees will be the most competitive.

Do I need to come for an interview prior to admission?

We do not expect applicants to come to Emory University for a face-to-face interview. Our admission process includes submission of a brief video interview in which candidates respond to a few pre-recorded questions. A phone or Skype interview may be required of students being considered for partial tuition scholarships.

Do I have to choose an advisor when I apply?

You do not have to select or contact a particular member of the faculty prior to joining the MDP program. MDP students are assigned an academic advisor once they begin the program, based on the students' expressed interests.

Who teaches MDP courses?

A wide range of highly qualified Emory professors teach both core MDP courses and elective courses. Visiting professors from other universities and experienced professionals from development organizations may also teach semester-long courses and shorter training modules. Please consult the Teaching Faculty and Visiting Faculty pages for sample bios of Emory MDP instructors.

How many students do you admit each year?
Our admission decisions are driven by a commitment to collaborative learning and personalized attention, so we admit a small, highly selective class (averaging 15-18 students) each year. Class size varies in each course, as some core courses are taught specifically for the MDP students, while others include students from other Emory departments and schools.

Admission Information


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Need Help?

Technical issues with the application: Email CollegeNet at

Questions about program requirements: It is often best to contact the program you are applying to directly.  Use our Degree Programs page to find contact information.

General inquiries: If you do need to reach the Laney Graduate School, we are at