Frequently Asked Questions

How can I apply?

Applications can be accessed through the Laney Graduate School's application 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?

An overview of the application requirements is available here. 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: make sure you address the questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

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. Many of our students are first generation Americans or international students. We welcome Returning Peace Corps Volunteers, AmeriCorps volunteers, and our brave veterans, and have several external fellowship partners that can support their studies at Emory.

Do I need to have a university degree to apply?

You must have completed a degree from a four-year, accredited university or college to be eligible for the MDP program. International students that come from university systems that have a different structure must have graduated from an equivalent university degree program prior to applying. 

Do I need to have a certain major?

You are not required to have a specific undergraduate major. Successful applicants have studied disciplines ranging from chemistry to international relations, business to foreign languages, environmental science to anthropology. 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 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 relevant 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. A phone or Skype interview may be required of students being considered for partial tuition scholarships. Students are also able to visit campus before or after they are accepted to learn about the program. For more information, please contact the MDP Program Manager.

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. Please refer to the LGS Mentoring Guide for Students to better understand the rights and responsibilities of a mentoring relationship.

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. Due to this, we matriculate a small cohort (averaging 15-18 students) each year. Class size varies across courses: MDP core courses are taught specifically for MDP students, while electives include students from other Emory departments and schools.

Where do Emory MDP graduates work, what kinds of jobs they get?

Emory MDP alumni have an 85% rate of employment in relevant fields after graduation. The rest move onto PhD programs and, therefore, they are not counted as "employed". Most of them begin their careers working for development NGOs, but some also serve with federal agencies, consulting firms, research centers, policy think-tanks, and the private sector. See here for a list of typical positions and employers.



MDP students and graduates benefit from a free Career Account with DEVEX, the world’s largest platform for global development news and jobs, serving over one million active users.

Read More