One of the most pressing challenges of our time is achieving sustainable development in the face of global poverty, conflict and insecurity, natural disasters, and climate change. The Master's in Development Practice (MDP) at Emory University is designed to meet those challenges by combining hands-on learning and field-based training with rigorous studies in a broad range of academic disciplines. The Emory MDP is a program of the Laney Graduate School.

The key features that make the Emory MDP unique among similarly oriented programs are: 

  • Emphasis on critical thinking and contextual understanding of development practice, with particular attention to social justice and environmental sustainability; 
  • Completion of 50 credit hours of coursework in 7 competency areas, including social sciences and integrative analysis, health sciences, environmental sciences, management sciences, research and applied methods, social justice and diversity; and professionalization; 
  • Concentration areas (e.g. global health and wellbeing; sustainable environments and livelihoods; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); corporate social responsibility; gender justice; monitoring and evaluation; organizational management).
  • Two summer field practicums (8-10 weeks each) with leading development organizations in their projects in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East;
  • Academic-year internships (many of them paid!) within Atlanta-based international NGOs working on development, global health, human rights, disaster response, etc. (optional);
  • Engaged learning experience with Atlanta-based community organizations serving  vulnerable populations, such as refugees, low income families, human trafficking victims (optional);
  • Interaction with prominent development experts and practitioners at the CDC, CARE, The Carter Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Task Force for Global Health, and other organizations;
  • Workshops on programmatic skills (ex. monitoring and evaluation, geographic information systems; qualitative data analysis; social network analysis, organizational leadership and teamwork);
  • Career development support by experienced human resources and recruitment professionals, networking opportunities, and enhanced access to job search and career resources portals; 
  • Limited cohort size (15-18) enabling collaborative learning and personalized mentoring by Emory faculty, development professionals, and MDP alumni;
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion in the classroom, in development practice, and beyond (see the LGS page on Diversity)


The Emory MDP curriculum combines natural, social, health sciences and management.

See Academic Overview


The Field Practicum is a core component of the Emory MDP curriculum.

Learn About Fieldwork


Forward Thinkers


Garang Buk Buk Piol (MDP '20) featured in Emory News talks about his journey to the MDP program.  

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Funding for MDP Students

Fellowships and funding sources curated specifically for Emory MDP students (shown here with Prof. Claire Sterk, former President Emerita of Emory University).

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