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 towards 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


Paris Can be a Key Step

“The Paris talks may turn out to be a key step in the international negotiations, and more important, a significant step in efforts to address the threat of climate change,” writes Prof. Rob Stavins in his blog.

Prof. Stavins is Co-chair of the MPP/MBA and MPA/ID/MBA Joint Degree Programs, and Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a former Chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Economics Advisory Board. Early in his career he  was a Peace Corps Volunteer, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, in Sierra Leone, West Africa, 1969 - 1973. He holds a BA in philosophy from Northwestern University, an MS in agricultural economics from Cornell, and a PhD in economics from Harvard. He teaches an elective course, API-135 Fundamentals of Environmental Economics and Policy.

Larry Summers

Grasp the reality of China’s rise: Reasonable dialogue requires a recognition of the tensions between short and long-term interests

“I returned last week from a trip to China with the dispiriting conclusion that the world lacks shared understandings regarding goals for the evolution of the Chinese economy, the objectives of China policy in the short and medium term, and the institutional structures needed to manage both co-operation and inevitable tensions, wrote Larry Summers in the Financial Times.”  MORE

Lawrence H. Summers is President Emeritus of Harvard University. During the past two decades he has served in a series of senior policy positions, including Vice President of development economics and chief economist of the World Bank, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Director of the National Economic Council for the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2011, and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, from 1999 to 2001.

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