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Developing leaders, leading development

The two-year Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) Program is designed to prepare the next generation of leaders in international development. It is an economics-centered, multidisciplinary program, combining rigorous training in analytical and quantitative methods with an emphasis on policy and practice.

The MPA/ID Program offers unparalleled training for a professional career in development. The mix of theoretical rigor with a practical approach has proven to be a winning combination in the professional world. Our graduates hold influential policy and management positions in a range of international organizations, national governments, central and regional banks, nonprofit and research organizations, and private sector companies.

The right fit

The MPA/ID Program may be the right fit for you if you:

  • Demonstrate commitment to the economic, social, and political advancement of developing and transitional economy countries
  • Work in the development field, whether in government, central or regional banks, international development institutions, nonprofits, research organizations, or the private sector
  • Want to deepen your understanding of complex development problems and acquire the analytical tools to design and implement effective solutions
  • Have a strong academic record, including in economics and mathematics

Our program is known for its challenging, integrated curriculum, outstanding faculty members, bright, committed students, exciting professional internships, and successful alumni

Learn more about what we look for in applicants. 


    A need to do and a need to serve

    Recent grad  Michelle Fakler reflects on the importance of her MPA/ID experience.

    "'You can know the medicine and you can know the science. You can know those technically correct solutions to the specific health problem,' she says, 'But if you don't understand people, if you don't understand policy, and if you don't understand economics, you're going to fall short of scaling your solution.'"

    Now, Michelle will refocus her lens as she takes on the last two years of her surgical residency at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


    Peru’s 35-Year-Old Finance Minister Is Suddenly a Rock Star

    At 35, Maria Antonieta Alva, more commonly known as Toni, is the youngest-ever finance minister of Peru. Praised by colleagues, former professors, and even mothers who stop her on the street, she is gaining notoriety for more than her age: she's "steering an ambitious recovery package during a devastating pandemic, and she is winning praise for its generosity to small businesses and ordinary citizens."

    Toni's fellow MPA/ID alum, Juan Ariel Jimenez of the Dominican Republic, is also mentioned as another of the four millennial finance ministers in Latin America. We are very proud of our alumni!


    Harvard’s MPA/ID Program has been designated a STEM eligible program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

    Therefore, MPA/ID students with F-1 visas may apply to work in the US for two additional years, beyond the standard 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT), following graduation.   

    More information about the STEM OPT Extension can be found here: https://hio.harvard.edu/stem-opt.


    "The last few decades have witnessed significant advances in economic development, mostly but not exclusively in East Asia. Never before in history has the dream of eliminating global poverty seemed so attainable. We live in a world where the reach of technology and markets are global, enabling more rapid economic growth and poverty reduction than ever before. Yet globalization and technological change also conspire to create new challenges. Significant pockets of poverty remain in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. In an age of plenty, what deprives people of adequate food, shelter, clean water, education, good health, and enough income to live on with dignity? What can governments, international agencies, and nongovernmental organizations do to make the dream a reality? As the COVID-19 pandemic has painfully made clear, addressing the global development challenges of our time requires a combination of analysis and leadership skills. Answers to these questions require not only technical knowledge in economics and quantitative methods, but also management, institutional, and political analysis – core elements of the MPA/ID curriculum."

    - Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy and MPA/ID Program Faculty Chair 2020-21