An education that makes a difference

Whether you're looking to strengthen sustainable agricultural practices in rural areas or combat the global HIV/AIDs epidemic, the MA in International Development offers degree options to tackle any of the world's toughest development challenges.

Students have the opportunity to custom-design a particular focus or professional track to fit their interests and are encouraged to gain real-world experience through practica, internships, and hands-on study abroad opportunities. All students will complete a capstone option of their choice: a substantial research paper, a practicum, or a master’s thesis.

Degree Options

In addition to the standard master's degree, you can earn a dual master's degree through our partnerships at AU.

The MA in International Development is designed for students whose professional interests require a broad, multidisciplinary approach to international development theories, issues, and programs. It is particularly useful preparation for careers in policy analysis, program management, and research. The program provides opportunities for students to critically examine past and present international development theories and policies and to gain firsthand experience by working and interning with prominent development organizations. Students also have the opportunity to choose a professional track from a range of options or to individually design a specialization relevant to their needs and interests.

Students will complete a capstone that demonstrates critical thinking and research and writing skills through completion of either a master's thesis, a substantial research paper, or a practicum.

The School of International Service (SIS) offers a dual master’s degree program with Wesley Theological Seminary, providing graduates with a powerful combination of peace, theology, and development studies. Applications are submitted to both SIS and Wesley. Students must be admitted separately to each program. Students will earn 42 credit hours toward their MST from WTS and 33 credit hours for their MA from SIS. Students may count up to 9 credit hours of relevant coursework from Wesley toward the professional track requirement and an additional 3 credit hours toward the capstone requirement for the MA in International Development.

Learn more about Wesley Seminary MA/MTS admission and degree requirements.

The School of International Service (SIS) offers a dual master's degree program with Kogod School of Business, providing students with a unique business background that complements their international development studies. MA/MBA students can specialize in areas at SIS that include international development, security, global governance, conflict resolution, global environmental policy, regional studies, US foreign policy, public diplomacy, or a tailored concentration of their choice.

The full-time MBA is a cohorted two-year program that requires 31 credit hours of approved graduate coursework from Kogod in addition to 39–42 credit hours from SIS. All students are required to participate in the full-time MBA orientation prior to the start of the program. Dual degree students may count up to 9 credit hours from their Kogod degree requirements toward their SIS degree requirements with approval of the SIS program director.

Generally, dual degree students begin their academic programs at Kogod, but this is not required. Applications are submitted to both SIS and Kogod and students must be admitted separately to each program. While students are encouraged to apply for admission to both programs simultaneously, students can apply to the second program after admission and matriculation in the first program. Students must be admitted to the second program and begin their studies prior to conferral of the degree from the first program. Applicants to the MBA program must also have completed two undergraduate courses, one in micro and one in macro economics (or the graduate equivalent), prior to entering the program.

Professional Tracks

Graduate study in the International Development program is anchored in a required core curriculum and offers students the opportunity to custom-design a particular professional track to fit their interests. The following list includes suggested courses for each professional track, although students may also customize a track or design their own.

  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Population & Development
  • SIS-635 Rural Development
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-635 Urban Development
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-726 Professional Development Management
  • ECON-600 Microeconomics
  • EDU-642 Training Program Design
  • EDU-649 Nonformal Education and Development
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-650 Economic Globalization & Development Alternatives
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-620 Political Ecology of Food & Ag
  • SIS-620 Democracy and Environment
  • SIS-620 Global Climate Change
  • SIS-620 Politics of Conservation
  • SIS-620 Water Governance
  • SIS-652 Intro to Environmental Economics
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-619 Gender, Peace and Security 
  • SIS-628 Postcolonialism, Race & IR
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Human Trafficking in Global Society
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-642 Intercultural Relations
  • SIS-712 NGOs in Global Governance
  • ANTH-543 Anthropology of Development
  • SIS-650 Economic Globalization & Development Alternatives
  • SIS-635 Human Trafficking in Global Society
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-712 NGOs in Global Governance
  • SIS-622 Human Rights
  • SIS-673 Comparative Political Economy
  • IBUS-641 Social Sustainability Strategy
  • IBUS-745 Global Supply Chain Mgmt
  • SIS-619 Corruption, Dirty Money and Development
  • SIS-620 Democracy and Environment
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-635 Regional Cooperation & Sustainable Development
  • SIS-635 Urban Development
  • SIS-647 Governance and Development
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-650 Economic Globalization & Development Alternatives
  • SIS 635-Intro to Global Health
  • SIS-628 Global Health, Culture & Communication
  • SIS-635 Food Security: Institutional Perspectives
  • SIS-635 Population & Development
  • SIS-635 Program Planning in Global Health
  • SIS-648 Gender & Development
  • SIS-726 Professional Development Management
  • EDU-649 Non-Formal Education & Development
  • HPRM-585 Global Health Policy
  • SIS-726 Professional Development Management
  • SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring & Evaluation
  • SIS-750 Data Analysis
  • SIS-750 Qualitative Methods & Methodology
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-635 NGO/Social Enterprise Management
  • PUAD-617 Project Management
  • ACCT-611 Cost Accounting for Strategic Management
  • MGMT-633 Leading People & Organizations
  • SIS-635 Intro to Global Health
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Rural Development
  • SIS-652 Environmental Economics
  • SIS-673 Comparative Political Economy
  • SIS-616 International Economics
  • SIS-750 Project Design, Monitoring & Evaluation
  • SIS-750 Data Analysis
  • SIS-619 Leading Social Innovation
  • SIS-619 Innovation for Social Impact
  • SIS-635 NGO/Social Enterprise Management
  • SIS-635 Private Sector Engagement with Societal Challenges
  • SIS-619 Consulting for Social Impact
  • SIS-750 Organizational Effectiveness for International Service
  • SIS-793 Social Innovation Individual Project 

Experiential Learning

Students are encouraged to take Skills Institutes and participate in the Practicum Program, both of which provide extensive real world skills and experience in international development.

The practicum is a a one-semester, pre-professional experience, which can serve as a capstone for the MAID degree. Student teams complete projects for external client organizations, producing deliverables that address challenges identified by clients in a statement of work. Students work under a site supervisor and a faculty advisor. Each practicum offers real-world experience with project management, client relations, oral presentations, and writing skills. Practicum options change every year, and students can apply to one that best suits their academic and career interests. Some practica also have international immersion components.

Skills Institutes are intensive workshops designed to introduce students to professional skills relevant to careers in international affairs. Taught by experienced practitioners, these rigorous and experiential workshops allow students to translate theory into practice and gain the competencies sought by today's employers. Over 2-3 full days, students will have the opportunity to focus on tangible skills that are applicable to the development field.

Application            At a Glance

View a detailed admission and degree requirements listing for your degree of interest.

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Application Deadline
January 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester (September 15 for international applicants)
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
Two letters of recommendation
Resume
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if non-native English speaker
Application
Completion of online application