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

How to Prevent a Disaster for Children in Developing Countries

“The disruption and harm caused by global climate change is expected to be even more pronounced in developing countries, and children in those countries could face myriad risks, but there are actions that can be taken now to reduce those risks. 

‘Most people in developing countries still depend primarily on agriculture as a source of income, and so anything that reduces crop yields—such as excessive heat or rain—is likely to directly threaten the livelihoods of developing-country families and their ability to feed their children. Poor nutrition and economic disruption are likely to lower children’s scholastic achievement or even keep them out of school altogether,’ Hanna writes.

Rema Hanna, Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies, teaches the elective course PED-322M: Social Protection Programs in Developing Countriesand also PED-250 Second Year Policy Analysis Seminar.


Faculty Feature

Ricardo Hausmann

Refugees as Weapons of Mass Destruction

By Ricardo Hausmann

“Any immigration restriction… implies a trade-off between two errors. A Type I error involves admitting a potential terrorist. A Type II error involves stopping innocent foreigners. To formulate an appropriate policy requires balancing these two risks, given their relative likelihoods and how much you care about the saved lives of residents and the disrupted lives of potential immigrants. How many innocent lives are you willing to disrupt or endanger to avoid a terrorist attack?” Read More (Project Syndicate, Feb 28.)

Ricardo Hausmann is Director of Harvard's Center for International Development and Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at the Kennedy School of Government. He teaches the popular elective PED-309 Development Policy Strategy which reviews various determinants of economic growth, macroeconomic volatility, and income distribution, such as factor accumulation, demography, geography, and institutions.

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