Key Program Information

Program Length: Two years (varies for students pursuing joint or concurrent degrees)

Degree Awarded: Master in Public Administration in International Development

Admission Application Deadline: December 2024

Financial Aid Application Deadline: January 2025

Contact the MPA/ID Program

Contact e-mai icon Email

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Rubenstein Building, Rooms 122, 124, and 126
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Be a leader in global development

The Master in Public Administration in International Development Program combines rigorous training in economics and quantitative methods with an emphasis on policy and practice.

The Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) Program offers unparalleled training for a professional career in development. The mix of theoretical rigor with practical approaches has proven to be a powerful combination. Our graduates hold influential policy, advocacy, and management positions at international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, and private sector companies.

The right fit

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

  • Demonstrate commitment to solving the economic, social, or political problems facing low-income communities, regions, or nations 
  • Work in the development field, whether in government, nonprofits, central or regional banks, international development institutions, research organizations, or the private sector
  • Want to deepen and broaden your understanding of development problems and acquire the analytical tools and global perspectives to design and implement effective solutions
Jaiwen Tang with long black hair, smiling broadly, and wearing a maroon jacket and black shirt

“The MPA/ID Program expanded my perspectives and equipped me with a set of analytical tools to make the impact I seek to have in the world.”

— Jiawen Tang MPA/ID 2021

About the MPA/ID Program

Training for development practitioners

The MPA/ID Program is a rigorous, economics-centered program designed to train the next generation of practitioners and leaders in the field of global development.

Within a multidisciplinary core curriculum,  you will take advanced economics and quantitative methods sequences  with an emphasis on key policy applications to development. You will also complete core courses in economic development, politics, political philosophy, and management—integrated with the theory and practice of development.

In your second year, you’ll choose from elective options at HKS, at the other graduate schools at Harvard—such as BusinessDesignEducationLaw, and Public Health as well as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Core Curriculum

  • Advanced Microeconomic Analysis I: Supply, Demand, and Equilibrium (API-109)
  • Advanced Microeconomic Analysis II: Game Theory and Information Economics (API-110)
  • Advanced Macroeconomics for the Open Economy I (API-119)
  • Advanced Macroeconomics for the Open Economy II (API-120
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods I: Description and Prediction (API-209)
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods II: Causal Inference (API-210)
  • Economic Development: Theory and Evidence (DEV-101)
  • Economic Development: Using Analytic Frameworks for Smart Policy Design ( DEV-102)
  • Applications and Cases in International Development (DEV-401)
  • The Politics of Development: Power, Institutions, and Prosperity (DPI-410)
  • Political Philosophy for Development (DPI-411)
  • Getting Things Done: Management and Implementation for Development (MLD-102)
  • Second Year Policy Analysis Seminar (DEV-250)

You will gain professional expertise through the case workshop and speaker series, a required summer internship, and an integrative capstone paper.

Second Year Policy Analysis: Using Your Toolkit 

The Second Year Policy Analysis (SYPA) serves as the capstone experience for the MPA/ID Program. You will choose a current development issue of interest to you; select your faculty advisor; and draw on the tools of economics, management, and political analysis to define the problem, analyze the evidence, develop alternatives, and provide specific policy recommendations for a concrete development problem.

Summer Internships: Out of the classroom, into the field

During the summer between your first and second year, you will engage in a development project, typically in a low- to middle-income country other than your own. This field experience allows you to apply the skills you’ve acquired during your first year and explore a new organization, substantive area of interest, or part of the world.

STEM Eligibility

The MPA/ID Program is a designated STEM-eligible program (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Students with F-1 visas may apply to work in the United States for two additional years beyond the standard 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) following graduation.

The MPA/ID Program consists of four semesters of full-time coursework in residence at HKS. The coursework includes the core curriculum, a minimum of six electives (24 credits), a development-related internship, and the Second-Year Policy Analysis.

To graduate, you must:

  • Matriculate as a full-time, in-residence student and take 12-24 credits per semester
  • Earn at least 76 credits, which must include the required courses, SYPA, and electives
  • Finish with a GPA of B or better
  • Earn a B- or higher in all required MPA/ID courses

You might consider pursuing a second degree jointly or concurrently if you’re interested in how the world’s challenges can be addressed at the intersection of international development and business, law, medicine, design, or other fields.

Pursuing a joint or concurrent degree reduces coursework and residency requirements and makes it possible to earn two degrees in a shorter amount of time.

Joint Degrees

As an MPA/ID student, you can pursue a joint degree—either an MBA at Harvard Business School or a JD at Harvard Law School—that involves carefully crafted and integrated coursework.

Concurrent Degrees

You can pursue a concurrent degree in business, law, medicine, design, or another field—as long as it is:

  • A professional degree (for example, an MBA, MD, or JD; not a PhD or an academic master’s degree)
  • At least a two-year program
  • Completed at a partner school

The concurrent degree program allows you to pursue degrees at HKS and at a partner school; however, the coursework is not as closely integrated as the joint degree program. As a concurrent degree student, you are responsible for weaving together the two halves of your learning experience.

Where ideas meet practice

Our faculty members are changing the ways in which poverty and underdevelopment are analyzed and approached.

MPA/ID faculty members are scholars and practitioners working with governments, international organizations, and NGOs. They are diagnosing economic woes and helping develop cures, bringing real-world development and political experience to bear on complex challenges, and helping people escape poverty by understanding what hinders development progress.

MPA/ID Faculty Research

Dani Rodrik smiling in a classroom

Don’t Fret About Green Subsidies

In this Project Syndicate article, Professor Dani Rodrik argues, “Governments should stop decrying each others’ green industrial policies as norm violations or dangerous transgressions of international rules. The moral, environmental, and economic arguments all favor those who subsidize their green industries, not those who want to tax others’ production.”

Professor Eliana La Ferrara lectures at the front of a classroom

Looking at the world through a wider lens

The thread running through Professor of Public Policy Eliana La Ferrara’s work is an unwillingness to limit herself to traditional microeconomic models.

collage of images from growth lab work

Diagnosing economic woes and helping develop cures

Professor Ricardo Hausmann’s Growth Lab is training students and practitioners to develop prescriptions for economic growth.

government building in the Dominican Republic surrounded by palm trees

Bringing real-world experience to bear

Juan Jimenez MPA/ID 2010 has returned to HKS to share valuable wisdom gained from high-level development policy positions in the government of the Dominican Republic.

MPA/ID Core Faculty Members

Dani Rodrik photo

Dani Rodrik

MPA/ID Faculty Co-Chair; Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy

Eliana La Ferrara photo

Eliana La Ferrara

MPA/ID Faculty Co-Chair; Professor of Public Policy

Matthew Andrews Headshot

Matthew Andrews

Edward S. Mason Senior Lecturer in International Development

Arthur Applbaum Headshot

Arthur Applbaum

Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values

Luis Armona Headshot

Luis Armona

Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Jie Bai Headshot

Jie Bai

Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Jeffrey Frankel Headshot

Jeffrey Frankel

James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth

Rema Hanna Headshot

Rema Hanna

Jeffrey Cheah Professor of South-East Asia Studies

Ricardo Hausmann photo

Ricardo Hausmann

Rafik Hariri Professor of the Practice of International Political Economy

Anders Jensen photo

Anders Jensen

Associate Professor of Public Policy

Juan Jimenez photo

Juan Jimenez

Lecturer in Public Policy

Asim Khwaja photo

Asim Khwaja

Director, Center for International Development;  Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development

Dan Levy photo

Dan Levy

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Celestin Monga photo

Celestin Monga

Adjunct Professor of Public Policy

Gautam Nair photo

Gautam Nair

Assistant Professor of Public Policy

Carmen Reinhart photo

Carmen Reinhart

Minos A. Zombanakis Professor of the International Financial System

Federico Sturzenegger photo

Federico Sturzenegger

Adjunct Professor of Public Policy

Our alumni do development differently

Around the world, MPA/ID graduates are in pivotal roles, leading development.

Inside governments and traditional development organizations, and outside the box in startups and social enterprises, MPA/IDs are changing the way development is done.

Our graduates hold influential policy and management positions in a wide range of international organizations, national governments, central and regional banks, nonprofit and research organizations, and private sector companies. 

Where do MPA/ID graduates work?

graphic showing sector breakdown of MPAID graduates
Data reflects the current positions of MPA/ID graduates from the classes of 2001-2023. Sector (IGO, nonprofit/NGO, public, and private) totals may not equal 100% due to rounding .

Learn more about how MPA/ID alumni are shaping development.

 Dalia Al Kadi MPA/ID 2011 headshot

Dalia Al Kadi MPA/ID 2011

Dalia Al Kadi MPA/ID 2011 is a Senior Economist in the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the World Bank, Dalia worked as a Project Manager at the Abu Dhabi General Secretariat of the Executive Council.

Abdulhamid Haidar MPA/ID 2021 headshot

Abdulhamid Haidar MPA/ID 2021

Abdulhamid Haidar MPA/ID 2021 is the founder of Darsel, a non-profit aimed at bridging the digital divide. In Haidar’s words, “The [MPA/ID] curriculum, faculty, and incredible student community all played an integral role in Darsel’s development and its positive impact on education in developing countries.”

Katherine Koh MPA/ID-MBA 2008 headshot

Katherine Koh MPA/ID-MBA 2008

Katherine Koh MPA/ID-MBA 2008 is the Principal Investment Officer and Global Climate Lead for Infrastructure at the International Finance Corporation (IFC).  In Putting Climate at the Heart of IFC Infrastructure Business, she describes “the transition to a low-carbon and resilient global economy—and the need for climate-smart infrastructure solutions—(as) among the most urgent and important issues of our time.”

Johannes Lohmann MPA/ID 2017 headshot

Johannes Lohmann MPA/ID 2017

Johannes Lohmann MPA/ID 2017 is an Executive Director at Pollination.  Johannes advises a range of public and private sector clients on their transition to net zero, and on decarbonization and nature positive strategies. Previously, Johannes worked as Head of Work and Financial Behaviour at the Behavioural Insights Team, advising public and private sector partners on topics such as green jobs and sustainable pensions.

He “Charlie” Tian MPA/ID 2015 headshot

He “Charlie” Tian MPA/ID 2015

He “Charlie” Tian MPA/ID 2015 is a Senior Professional/Project Team Leader at New Development Bank in the Project Sector Department. He joined the New Development Bank a few weeks after its establishment in 2015. Since then, he has worked on projects in renewable energy, green transportation, and social infrastructure, totaling $5 billion of the Bank’s investments.

 

Information sessions and events

View a recording
We do not currently have any upcoming information sessions scheduled but invite you to watch a recording of a previous session.

 

MPA/ID at a glance

Entering class size
Entering age
Years of work experience
International students

*Statistics are based on a five-year average.

Featured MPA/ID stories

 

Economist Ganchimeg Ganpurev MPA/ID 2021 was moved to shift her focus by the startling inequality she saw in her homeland.

 

Isidro Guardarucci MPA/ID 2018 adds soft skills to his economics toolkit.

 

A desire for more grounding in economic theory led Zainab Raji MPA/ID 2022 to the HKS/HBS joint degree program.

Miguel Ventura MPA/ID 2024

“Every day is an opportunity to weave together economic theory and development practice using the insights from my professors and classmates’ own professional and personal experiences.”

Miguel Ventura MPA/ID 2024 (Philippines)
Globe

Applying to the MPA/ID Program

Career Focus

Most students admitted to the MPA/ID Program have at least two years of development-related work experience in government, nonprofits, central or regional banks, international development institutions, research organizations, or private businesses. Usually at least some of the work has been in developing countries.

Quantitative Analysis

We also look for applicants who are interested in applying quantitative analysis and economics to development policy design.

To apply to the MPA/ID Program, you must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a solid academic record, including strong grades in economics and mathematics courses
  • Completion of at least one university-level course each in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and calculus through multivariable calculus (usually part of a three-course college sequence). Applicants may satisfy some of these prerequisites after submitting an application as long as they are completed before the program starts. Statistics and linear algebra courses are desirable, but not required. 

A complete application to the MPA/ID Program includes: 

  • Online application
  • Essays
  • Résumé/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Standardized test scores
    • GRE or GMAT required; in general, you are most competitive for admission if your quantitative section score is 160 or above on the GRE, or 48 or above on the GMAT.
    • Non-native English speakers who did not earn an undergraduate degree conducted in English must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English exam results. We recommend an overall TOEFL score of at least 100 on the iBT or an overall band score of 7 on the IELTS.
  • Academic transcripts
  • $100 application fee or waiver

Read more about how to apply.

The application for the 2025-2026 academic year will be available in September 2024. There is one admission application deadline and one start date for each degree program per year. You may apply to only one master’s degree program per admissions cycle. 

The cost of attendance for the 2024-2025 academic year is outlined in Funding Your Master’s Education to help you plan financially for our master’s degree programs. Living expense costs are based on residence in Cambridge. The 2025-2026 academic year rates will be published in March 2025. HKS tuition and fees are subject to change without notice. 

Financing your education is a partnership—we are here to help guide you. You are strongly encouraged to explore all funding opportunities.

Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program

The MPA/ID Program is a participating program of the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP). The scholarship provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance. The JJ/WBGSP is open to citizens of certain developing countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts.

 

Learn more about the HKS community

Center for International Development (CID)

CID is the intellectual home of MPA/ID students and faculty members. It seeks to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. Learn more from its director, Professor Asim Khwaja, and read about the work and perspectives of those in the CID community.

How to Apply
Apply to the MPA/ID Program. Now is the time.
Funding Your Master’s Education
Explore all opportunities to fund your master’s education at HKS.