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Master of Development Practice (MDP) Degree

The Master of Development Practice prepares you for a career in international development. The graduate degree program provides rigorous interdisciplinary training and equips you with the skills you need to address the problems of poverty and sustainable development in the developing world.

The MDP graduate degree program is jointly administered by the Humphrey School and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) and spans several academic units across the University of Minnesota. The international development degree provides training in policy analysis and management; health and education; natural sciences; social sciences, and interdisciplinary research methods. An international field experience and capstone workshop in development practice also are required.

Our Master of Development Practice degree is part of a global consortium of international development programs.

Download the Information Sheet on one of the top MPP programs.

Why Choose Our Master of Development Practice Graduate Degree Program

People choose this field because they are committed to public service and working on issues of poverty, social justice, and sustainable development in the developing world. As analysts, managers, and leaders, MDP graduates will use interdisciplinary tools and knowledge to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to current and emerging issues in international development. Their career choices span all levels of government, nongovernmental (NGOs) organizations, and the private sector.

What Our Master of Development Practice Degree Graduates Do

Your career possibilities in international development will be greatly enhanced by the interdisciplinary training the Master’s of Development Practice provides. Humphrey School alumni currently work locally, nationally, and internationally with such organizations as: USAID, the State Department, Peace Corps, World Bank, United Nations, WHO, ASEAN, and other development organizations.

Learn More About International Development

The sites below will help you learn more about the field of international development.

DEVEX (international development resources)
Society for International Development
Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
Public Policy and International Affairs Program

Humphrey Graduates Working in International Development

  • Special Advisor to the Minister of Gender and Development, Republic of Liberia 
  • Consultant, Organization of American States, Washington, D.C
  • Policy Outreach Associate, Center for Global Development, Washington, D.C. 
  • International Recruiter, American Refugee Committee, Minneapolis
  • Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program Regional Center Specialist, University of California-Davis
  • Project Manager, Health and Wellness Community Partnerships, HealthPartners, Minneapolis

Learn More About Our Master of Development Practice in International Development Degree Program


The Master of Development Practice requires 50 semester credits, including 43.5 credits in interdisciplinary required courses and a 3-credit capstone workshop. The remaining credits are taken in elective courses. An intensive two–week development practice orientation and an international field experience also are required.

Required Core Courses (46.5 credits)
AGRO 5321 Ecology of Agricultural Systems (3)
MDP 5001 Ways of Knowing and Sustainable Livelihoods (2)
MDP 5002 Research Methods for Sustainable Livelihoods (4)
MDP 5003 Field Study Pre-Departure Seminar (1)
MDP 5004 International Field Experience(3)
MDP 5100 International Field Seminar (1)
MDP 5200 Capstone Workshop in Development Practice (3)
PA 5501 Theories and Policies of Development (3)
PA 5521 Development Planning and Policy Analysis (4)
PA 5031 Empirical Analysis I (4)
PA 5003 Introduction to Financial Analysis and Management (1.5)
PA 5503 Economics of Development (3)

Education Policy: OLPD 5121 Educational Reform in International Contexts (3) OR OLPD 5080 Gender, Education, and International Development (3)

Management and Policy Analysis: PA 5941 Leadership for the Common Good (3) OR PA 5105 Integrative Leadership (3) OR PA 5251 Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations(3)OR PA 5405 Public Policy Implementation(3)
Environmental Sciences: EEB/FR 5146 Science and Policy of Global Environmental Change (3) OR GEOG 5401 Geography of Environmental Systems and Global Change (3)

Public Health:
PUBH 6320 Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3) OR PUBH 6134 Global Public Health (3)

Students who waive PA 5031 are encouraged to take PUBH 6705 Community Health Assessment (3)

You may be exempted from selected core course requirements if you have relevant prior coursework. In that case, you can take additional elective credits to meet the 50-credit requirement.

Program Planning Worksheet
The Program Planning Worksheet (PPW) helps current students plan their degrees from start to finish. Students must submit a completed and approved PPW before graduating.

Capstone Workshop (3 credits)
Capstone Workshops are designed to provide a learning opportunity for MDP students in their second year to apply their knowledge through a client-based team project.

International Field Experience
Students are required to complete a 10-week (400 hours) international field experience, which will include professional work and academic cross-cultural training. Students will complete the field experience during the summer between the first and second year of the program.

Electives (to bring total degree credits to at least 50) can be chosen from four main areas:

Natural Sciences
ESPM 5061 Water Quality and Natural Resources (3)
ESPM 5101 Conservation of Plant Biodiversity (3)
ESPM 5108 Ecology of Managed Systems (4)
ESPM 5202 Environmental Conflict Management: Leadership and Planning (3)
ESPM 5207 Emerging Issues in Tropical Agriculture and Forestry: Costa Rica (3)
ESPM 5251 Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development (3)
ESPM 5604 Environmental Management Systems and Strategy Development (3)
ESPM 5251 Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development (3)
FR 5104 Forest Ecology (4)
FR 5105 Forest Ecosystem and Health Management (3)
FR 5142 Tropical Forest Ecology (3)
FR 5153 Forest and Wetland Hydrology (3)
GEO 5108 Principles of Environmental Geology (3)
HORT 5071 Restoration and Reclamation Ecology (3)
PA 5721 Energy and Environmental Policy (3)
WRS 5241 Ecological Risk Assessment (3)

Health and Education
OLPD 5101 International Education and Development (3)
OLPD 5104 Strategies for International Development of Education Systems (3)
OLPD 8101 International Development and Education (3)
PA 5414 Child Labor and Education (3)
PUBH 6080 Policy, Politics, and Ethics of Public Health Decision-making (2)
PUBH 6102 Issues in Environmental and Occupational Health (2)
PUBH 6133 Global Health Seminar (1)
PUBH 6650 Community Based Participatory Research (1)
PUBH 6807 Global Health, Relief, Development and Religious and Non-Religious NGOs (3)
PUBH 6845 Using Demographic Data for Policy Analysis (3)
PUBH 6933 Nutrition and Chronic Diseases (2)
PUBH 8140 Validity Concepts in Epidemiologic Research (2)
PUBH 8142 Epidemiologic Uncertainty Analysis (2)

Management and Policy Analysis
PA 5101 Management and Governance of Nonprofit Organizations (3)
PA 5111 Financial Management in Public and Nonprofit Organizations (3)
PA 5271 Geographic Information Systems: Applications in Planning and Policy Analysis (3)
PA 5301 Population Analysis and Policy for the US and Third World (3)
PA 5522 International Development Policy, Household Economics and Family Health (3)
PA 8821 National Security Policy (3)
OLPD 5011 Leading Organizational Change: Theory and Practice (3)
OLPD 5048 Cross-cultural Perspectives on Leadership (2–3)
OLPD 5101 International Education and Development (3)
WHRE 5351 Methods for Change in Developing Countries (3)

Social Science
ANTH 5041 Ecological Anthropology (3)
ANTH 8120 Problems in Culture Change and Applied Anthropology (3–6)
APEC 5152 Applied Macroeconomics: Income and Employment (3)
APEC 5651 Economics of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (3)
GEOG 5007 Theories of Development and Social Change (3)
GEOG 5385 Globalization and Development: Political Economy (4)
GEOG 5561 Principles of Geographic Information Science (4)
GEOG 5565 Geographical Analysis of Human Environment Systems (GIS applications) (3)
GWSS 8401 Gender, Space, and Resistance (3)
PA 5801 Global Public Policy (3)
POL 5441 Environmental Policy (3)
POL 5485 Human Rights and Democracy in the World (3)
POL 5872 Global Environmental Politics (3)
POL 5889 Governments, Global Trade, and Money (3)
SOC Topics Courses

Why choose a Master’s of Development Practice in international development degree from a top international development graduate program such as the Humphrey School? Ragui Assad, Professor

Masters Development Practice International develpment, International Development Graduate Programs

Why choose a Master’s of Development Practice in international development degree from a top international development graduate program such as the Humphrey School? Nadine Habeel, Student

Master's of Development Practice in International Development


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