An education that makes a difference

Whether you're looking to assist farmers in remote rural locations or combat the global AIDs epidemic, the MA in International Development offers degree options and concentrations to tackle any of the world's toughest development challenges. The MAID program's primary focus is the improvement of opportunities for the world's poor and disenfranchised.

Students have the opportunity to custom-design a particular focus or concentration 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 those in policy analysis, development and global education, and research. The program provides opportunities for students to examine critically the most current international development theories and policies, and to gain an inside view on the Washington development community by serving as interns with development organizations. Students also have the opportunity to choose an area of concentration from a wide range of options, or to fashion an individually designed specialization relevant to their needs and interests.

Students will complete a capstone that demonstrates of critical thinking, 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 concentration 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.


Graduate study in the International Development program is anchored in a required core curriculum and offers students the opportunity to custom-design a particular focus of concentration to fit their interests. The following are examples of possible concentrations students may design, with the exception of Development Economics*, which is uniquely designed by the ID program and Department of Economics at the College of Arts and Sciences.

  • SIS-635 Population, Migration & Development
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Rural Development
  • SIS-635 Urban Development
  • SIS-648 Women & Development
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-635 Children and Youth in International Development
  • EDU-642 Training Program Design
  • EDU-649 Non-formal Education & Development
  • SIS-635/PUAD-614 Development Management

This concentration is a more formal concentration within the MA International Development. Established jointly between the International Development Program and the Department of Economics, it’s designed to give students a strong grasp of economic theory as it pertains to development as well as a good background in quantitative analysis. Students can choose to enter this concentration once they are enrolled in their first semester and do not have to apply for it in their initial application to SIS.

While many of the degree requirements remain the same, students in the Development Economics concentration are required to take additional economics credits and will choose from a curated selection of economics and international development courses to fulfill their concentration requirements.

  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-650 Global Econ & Sustainable Development
  • SIS-635 Community Development
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-620 Political Ecology of Food & Agriculture
  • SIS-620 Politics of Conservation
  • SIS-620 Water Governance
  • SIS-620 Climate Change Policy
  • SIS-620 Building a Post-Carbon World
  • SIS-620 Policy Analysis for GEP
  • PUAD-614/SIS-635 Development Management
  • SIS-620 Political Ecology of Food & Agriculture
  • SIS-649 Environment & Development
  • SIS-635 Global Health & Rural Development
  • SIS-635 Rural Development
  • SIS-628 Global Health, Culture & Communication
  • SIS-620 Urban Political Economy
  • SIS-619 Human & Global Security
  • SIS-620 Politics of Conservation
  • SIS-635 Food & Agriculture
  • ECON-658 Economics of World Regions
  • HFIT-535 Global Nutrition
  • SIS-635 Health in Developing Countries
  • SIS-536 Complex Emergencies
  • SIS-635 Development Policies
  • SIS-648 Women & Development
  • SIS-635 Children & Youth in International Development
  • SIS-628 Health Research
  • EDU-649 Non-formal Education & Development
  • HFIT-575 Global Health
  • ECON-665 Project Evaluation in Developing Countries
  • SIS-750 Program Evaluation
  • SIS-635 Social Accountability
  • SIS-635 Development Management
  • SIS-619 Big Data
  • SIS-635 Urban Development 
  • MGMT-609 Management of Organizations & Human Capital
  • PUAD-617 Project Management

Experiential Learning

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

The practicum is a a one-semester, pre-professional experience, which can serve as a capstone for the MAID. 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 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 communication 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
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if non-native English speaker
Completion of online application