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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 course 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 legal and political institutions, governance, management, and the history and theory of development.
The demanding set of core courses includes:
In short, the MPA/ID Program is built on three pillars:
Classes at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Harvard Kennedy School/HKS) 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.
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:
Whether as distribution requirements for graduation or as a part of core curriculum, these three areas are the foundation upon which the HKS education is built. HKS graduates depart the school with a powerful complement of skills to increase their effectiveness in working in their chosen fields.
“Public sector reforms are commonplace in developing countries. Much of the literature about these reforms reflects on their failures. This paper asks about the successes and investigates which of two competing theories best explain why some reforms exhibit such positive deviance,” writes Associate Professor Matt Andrews in his recent paper Explaining positive deviance in public sector reforms in development.
Originally from South Africa, Matt has worked with the provincial government of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa and as a Public Sector Specialist working in the Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank. He brings this experience to the MPA/ID core course, Getting Things Done: Management in a Development Context.
Many of the MPA/ID courses encourage or require group work on problem sets and presentations. Some students choose to co-write their Second Year Policy Analysis (SYPA) with another student. The collaborative learning environment is an important part of the MPA/ID experience.