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Development Management Program


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Contact:
Candace Gibson
Program Coordinator
(202) 885-1657
IDPSIS@american.edu

Master of Science in Development Management (MSDM)

(39-42 credits)

The MSDM is a specialized degree program (usually graduating 10 to 12 students a year) with a clear focus on applied and innovative skills of management.

The MSDM provides an effective, challenging, current, applied, and relevant curriculum. It seeks above all to provide you with current professional skills that relate to development management as it is practiced today. While we do some things in our own way, we are also an integral part of, and benefit from our close association with, the International Development Program.

Students must have at least two years of work experience (many have more) to be considered for the program. This is essential to a professional program. Typically we look for international work experience, but we do consider other relevant work experience as well (for example: NGOs, development firms, the private sector, or regional organizations.) Note that jobs and internships undertaken during your first degree do not count.

Students who self-select to pursue this degree are clearly focused on working with people, organizations, communities, and projects or programs. More specifically, their interests include program or project management, organization strengthening, capacity building, institutional strengthening, and monitoring and evaluation. Almost all of the concentrations (e.g. global health, social enterprise, gender/women, urban development -- see advising sheets) available to MAID students are available to MSDM students (although some of the more macro and policy focused may not make sense). Many MSDM students use the opportunity offered by the concentration to expand and deepen their management skills. You will craft your concentration in cooperation with your academic adviser.

There are a few components of the MSDM that are different from the MAID: you are required to take Development Management (SIS-635/PUAD-614) and one other management course, and you may not take a for credit internship. You are encouraged to take skills institutes, and seek out applied courses on program evaluation, microfinance, social enterprise, NGO management, organizational development, accounting, etc.

Most significantly, the required six credit individual capstone ‘Management Practicum’ is a distinct component. This may be carried out in the US or abroad. Arrangements and timing are flexible to take account of varying student needs. The objective of the MSDM management practicum is to put yourself in the position of a manager (in some cases a junior one) who will accomplish some helpful and observable positive purpose in which your organization or community is positively interested; to the extent that this is feasible, and it usually is, your organization should agree and hold you (notionally if not formally) accountable for the results achieved and your progress, including the necessary adaptations that you do eventually make. In the process you will self-consciously take the viewpoint of a manager, attempting to apply some selected principles of management (for example from the DM, Skills Institutes, Kogod, and PUAD courses) and carefully observe the process. Although you will not register for the practicum until you have made progress in your studies, you will become part of, and meet with the DM practicum group (about three times a semester) as soon as you join the program.

Please click here for the DM advising worksheet and concentration options. Please click here for the DM Practicum guidelines. Please click here for guidance on your letter of inquiry.