MPA/ID candidate Lucila Arboleya


The MPA/ID Program is a rigorous, economics-centered program designed to train the next generation of practitioners and leaders in the field of international development. In the context of a multidisciplinary core curriculum, MPA/ID students take microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics sequences that are taught at the same level as first-year courses in top PhD programs in economics, but with an emphasis on policy applications to development over pure theory. In addition, MPA/ID students complete core courses in institutions, governance, management, and the theory of development.

The demanding set of core courses includes:

Students gain professional expertise through the case workshop and speaker series, a required summer internship, a substantial capstone paper, and elective coursework in specific fields of development.

In short, the MPA/ID Program is built on three pillars:

  1. PhD-level training in economics and quantitative methods
  2. Multidisciplinary approach through coursework on institutions, governance, and management
  3. Professional orientation through the case workshop, a summer internship, and other integrative work

More specific information about the MPA/ID curriculum can be found on the core courses page and the Office of the Registrar's list of MPA/ID Degree Requirements.

Teaching and Learning at HKS

Classes at the Harvard Kennedy School are taught by the case method, the more traditional lecture format, or a mixture of both. Students work together in small groups on projects and will have assistance from course assistants, teaching fellows, and faculty members in a collaborative working environment.

Methodological Areas at HKS

The HKS curriculum is built around the concept that future leaders and policy makers need to be adept in analytical, management, and leadership skills in order to serve the public good. The three foundational methodological areas at HKS are:

  1. Quantitative Analysis
  2. Strategic Management
  3. Leadership and Advocacy

Whether as distribution requirements for graduation or as a part of the core curriculum, these three areas are the foundation upon which the HKS education is built. HKS graduates depart from the school with a powerful complement of skills to increase their effectiveness in their chosen fields.

Faculty Highlight

Professor Rohini Pande

What's Economics got to do with Keeping Women Safe?

Following several highly publicized rapes in India, “numerous policies have been proposed (and several enacted) to stop this 'war on women.' But how many of these short-term protective measures will fail, or even create perverse incentives opposite to those intended—possibly leaving women less safe in the long run?” writes Rohini Pande in Keeping Women Safe (Harvard Magazine).

“As an economist, I want to understand, in context, the social, legal, and financial forces that lead individuals, families, and society to undervalue women and unleash violence against them. Contemporary economic scholarship embraces such subjects, employs new tools to evaluate behavior, and draws on fieldwork for firsthand knowledge of subjects. I draw on all of those elements in my own work, and in colleagues’, to understand the ways in which girls and women are harmed: actively, through abuse; or passively, by passing them over and devoting resources to boys. And then I want to apply that understanding to determining which policies can weaken these destructive forces or re-channel them in women’s favor.”

Professor Rohini Pande co-teaches the MPA/ID core courses PED-101 Economic Development: Theory and Evidence and PED-102 Economic Development: Using Analytical Frameworks for Smart Policy Design.  Professor Pande is the Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy, and Co-Director of Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD).

Collaborative Learning

Students are encouraged to work in study groups.

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