In the Field

The field practicum experiences are the cornerstone of the Emory MDP curriculum. Our “embedded practitioner” model envisions students to serve within global development and humanitarian organizations as professionals-in-training. As such, they work with their project teams and produce high-quality work, while building their own skillsets and networks.

MDP students complete two summer field practicums (8-10 weeks per summer), contributing to development projects in the Global South or in the United States. Projects focus a wide range of sectors, including global health, environmental sustainability, water and sanitation, housing security, social enterprise,gender justice, and disaster recovery. 

Students have the option of engaging in academic year internships with organizations that are based in the Atlanta area or that allow for virtual work. This experiences often evolve into summer field practicum, enabling students to capitalize on knowledge and relationships built during the previous academic year.  

Students who fulfil a required number of hours during their second academic year internships may exempt out of their second summer field practicum and graduate in May rather than in August. Such arrangement needs to be discussed with and approved by the MDP program. 

Since the program's inception in 2010, we have faciliated more than 350 field practicum experiences with over 100 partner organizations in about 60 countries. In summer 2022, MDP students engaged in field practicum experiences in 15 countries with 30 host organizations, with half of the students working domestically and half of them serving in international locations. 

To determine travel safety and security in field practicum sites, Emory MDP relies on the COVID-related policies detailed at Emory Forward. We also regularly consult the CDC Travel Guidelines and US Department of State Travel Advisories. See this World Map for updated information.

Emory University Student Health Insurance (EUSHIP) covers most travel consultations, immunization costs, and medical care while completing international field practicums. Students who opt for alternative plans that do not provide such coverage are responsible for those costs.

International SOS provides emotional support and emergency medical insurance to students while they are conducting their summer field practicums abroad.

Photo Contest

MDP students demonstrate the diversity of Emory MDP field practicum experiences through their photographs.

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Practicum Partners

Partner organizations provide MDP students with exposure to real-life, on-the-ground development practice.

Learn About Partners


Emory University contracts with ISOS to provide international travel security services, including mental health support. While in the field, MDP students also enroll in the U.S. State Department STEP program for additional security updates and resources.

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An ethical, equitable model for global engagement 

Faciltating connections with over 200 grassroot organizations in 40 countries

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