One of the most pressing challenges of our time is achieving sustainable development in the face of global poverty, natural disasters, climate change, conflict and insecurity, and disease. 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 6 competency areas, including social sciences and integrative analysis, research and applied methods, social justice and diversity, health sciences, environmental sciences, management sciences;  
  • Concentration areas (global health and wellbeing; sustainable environments and livelihoods; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); corporate social responsibility; gender justice; monitoring and evaluation; program management); individually customized concentrations also possible; 
  • Two summer field practicums (8-10 weeks each) with partner organizations in their projects in the Global South;
  • Academic-year internships (many of them paid) within Atlanta-based international NGOs working on development, global health, human rights, disaster response, etc. (optional);
  • Locally-focused internships with community partners working on refugees assistance, economic empowerment, sustainable food systems, social and environmental justice (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);
  • 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

MDP students (class of 2020) with Prof. Claire Sterk, President Emerita of Emory University.

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