MPA/ID candidate Lucila Arboleya

Electives and Policy Tracks

The goal of the second year of the MPA/ID is to broaden the students' knowledge in the field and to deepen their understanding of a major area of development practice. Students choose their six electives from the broad array of courses available at HKS or through cross-registration with other graduate schools at Harvard University or MIT. They apply the theoretical and empirical tools learned in their first-year core courses to a policy area which they have chosen based on their professional and career interests.

National and International Economic Policies

Students interested in careers in this area should focus on courses on macroeconomic policies, international trade and finance, financial sector policies, and public finance (taxation and public expenditures) with an eye to also deepening knowledge in the institutional, political, and administrative aspects of policy reform.

Sectoral Policies and Programs

Students interested in this area should keep in mind two aims in choosing their courses:

  1. Developing the general public sector management skills that are relevant across a range of sectors
  2. Deepening their knowledge of specific sectors of interest such as:
    • Sustainable development
    • Social policy (including poverty, health, education, and community development)
    • Global governance, conflict and human rights
    • Science, technology and development

Private Sector Development and Its Regulation

Students in this area should focus on courses in finance and financial policies, the regulatory environment (including privatization), competitiveness and industrial policies, and policy related skills such as leadership and negotiation.

Additional Electives

Additional electives may be chosen from the broad array of courses available at HKS or through cross-registration with other graduate schools at Harvard University or MIT.

Faculty Feature

Professor Kathryn Sikkink

Nothing but the Truth: Brazil's Truth Commission Looks Back

“In December 2014, Brazil’s National Truth Commission…completing what may be Latin America’s last major investigation into human rights abuses during the twentieth century... recommended a repeal of (Brazil’s) amnesty law and the prosecution of those culprits still living,” wrote Prof. Kathryn Sikkink in Foreign Affairs.

Kathryn Sikkink is the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy at HKS. She works on international norms and institutions, transnational advocacy networks, the impact of human rights law and policies, and transitional justice.  Her publications include The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award); Mixed Signals: U.S. Human Rights Policy and Latin America; Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics.

This year she taught an elective, IGA-106M The Politics of International Law: The International Criminal Court and the United Nations Security Council with Luis Moreno Ocampo.

Faculty Feature

Professor Ricardo Hausmann

Austerity Is Not Greece’s Problem declared Ricardo Hausmann in Project Syndicate.

“When looking out a window, it is easy to be fooled by your own reflection and see more of yourself than the outside world. This seems to be the case when US observers, influenced by their own country's fiscal debate, look at Greece.

For example, Joseph Stiglitz regards austerity in Greece as a matter of ideological choice or bad economics, just like in the US. According to this view, those who favor austerity must be obsessed with the theory, given the availability of a kinder, gentler alternative. Why would you ever vote for austerity when parties like Greece's Syriza or Spain's Podemos offer a pain-free path?”

Ricardo Hausmann is Professor of the Practice of Economic Development and Director of Harvard's Center for International Development, the intellectual home of the MPA/ID Program. He teaches the popular elective PED-309: Development Policy Strategy.


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