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Home > Degree Programs > Master's Degrees > Master in Public Administration/ International Development > Curriculum > Core Courses
The MPA/ID Program requires two years (four terms) of full-time study at HKS. The first year is dedicated to courses especially designed for this program, which introduce students to the main economic, quantitative, political, and managerial tools needed by analysts and leaders in the area of development. A chronological listing of the MPA/ID core courses and degree requirements is available from the Office of the Registrar.
MPA/ID core courses are taught by our top professors. In the first year, MPA/ID students can expect to be taught by an experienced team including professors Campante, Frankel, Khwaja, Levy, Pande, Pritchett, Rodrik, and Walton. The rigorous core of required courses includes the following course sequences:
The course on applications and cases has two objectives: to illustrate the application of concepts and techniques learned in other MPA/ID core courses and to introduce the variety of issues and challenges facing low- and middle-income countries. In the context of case studies drawn from a range of countries and sectors, each week will involve both a specific application of a case and a visiting speaker from the worlds of ideas and practice in development, drawing both from Harvard faculty and outside the university. Case studies and seminar topics include such diverse issues as growth diagnostics, the management of financial crises, climate change, education, gender issues, trade policy, pension reform, managing common property resources, and the design of decentralization.
These complementary courses enable students to combine high-level economic and empirical analysis with a sophisticated understanding of institutional realities and possibilities.
“For the 2.5 billion people who live on less than $2 per day, shocks such as illness, crop failures, livestock deaths, farming-equipment breakdowns and even wedding or funeral expenses can be enough to tip them, their families, or even an entire community below the poverty line. A major challenge for international development efforts is determining which financial tools provide durable buffers against such setbacks,” writes Rohini Pande with Dean Karlan, Rebecca Mann, Jake Kendall, Tavneet Suri and Jonathan Zinman in Harvard Business Review
Rohini Pande is the Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. She co-directs the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) Initiative at CID and co-teaches the MPA/ID core course PED-101 Economic Development: Theory and Evidence (with Dani Rodrik).
“In many developing countries the capability of the state to implement its policies and programs is a key constraint to improving human development. Many reform initiatives fail to achieve sustained improvements in performance because organizations pretend to reform by changing what policies and organizational structures look like rather than what they actually do.
To escape the trap of stagnant capability and increasing frustration, new conceptual models of state capability that go beyond the transplantation of the 19th century Weberian state are required. The BSC team is exploring the potential of a new Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach.”
Matt Andrews teaches the MPA/ID core course MLD-102-A Getting Things Done: Management in a Development Context which builds on the work of the Building State Capability project at CID. His research focuses on public sector reform, particularly budgeting and financial management reform, and participatory governance in developing and transitional governments.