fbpx Curriculum | Harvard Kennedy School

Training for development practitioners

The Master in Public Administration in International Development (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 politics, institutions, and management, integrated with the theory and practice of development.

In your second year, you'll choose from an array of elective options at HKS, at the other graduate schools at Harvard—such as Business, Design, Education, Law, and Public Health as well as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. 

Core courses in the MPA/ID curriculum
  • Advanced Microeconomics (API-109, API-110)
  • Advanced Macroeconomics  (API-119, API-120)
  • Advanced Statistics and Econometrics (API-209, API-210)
  • Economic Development: Theory and Evidence (DEV-101, DEV-102)
  • Applications and Cases in International Development (DEV-401)
  • The Politics of Development (DPI-410)
  • Political Philosophy for Development (DPI-411)
  • Getting Things Done: Management in a Development Context (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. Read about our degree requirements for more about the MPA/ID curriculum.

Earn a second professional degree 

You are committed to a future in public policy and public service. You’re also interested in how the world’s challenges can be addressed at the intersection of business, law, medicine, design, or other fields.

You might consider combining the MPA/ID degree with another professional degree, such as business or law. Read about the combined degree track.

STEM-Eligible Program

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

Learn more about the STEM OPT Extension

Preya Sharma

"The MPA/ID program is an experience that stays with you throughout your career. Having graduated in 2009 I continue to draw on my learning from the multi-disciplinary courses and, of course, my fabulous classmates. From economics to leadership, the rigor of the training prepares you for the challenge of working in development."  

Preya Sharma  MPA/ID 2009 (UK)
IMF Resident Representative
International Monetary Fund, Lusaka, Zambia

Marekh Khmaladze

"For me the MPA/ID programme was the perfect combination of knowledge, tools and ideas that I needed to build on top of my years of work experience in the public sector to help me understand and articulate in practical terms what works and what does not in development and why. Above all, however, I will cherish the conversations and occasional rants from my professors and classmates who to this day remain my lifeline anytime I need to crowd-source new ideas.  "

Marekh Khmaladze MPA/ID 2016 (Georgia)
Regional Program Cycle Advisor, UN World Food Programme
Regional Bureau for West Africa and Central Africa, Dakar, Senegal

Diana Zamora

"The MPA/ID experience has been essential to be the professional I am today, and a catalyzer for the positive impact I aim to have in the world. The combination of rigor, practical applications, and a truly international and diverse cohort of peers (who have become lifelong friends as well), have allowed me to work in a wide arrange of industries and geographies, at the intersection of public good and tech."

Diana Zamora MPA/ID 2014 (Mexico)
Global Public Policy Director
Mastercard, Mexico City, Mexico  

Sophie Gardiner, MPA/ID 2020 (USA)

"The threads connecting our core classes and our classmates’ experiences are what make the MPA/ID so much more than the sum of its parts. After deriving Walras’ law in Micro, we read a paper in Dev 101 that used this model to explain a relationship between property rights and intra-household bargaining. Though the intra-household relationship initially seemed illogical, a classmate shared a personal anecdote about the power dynamics of in-laws in India that immediately elucidated the context. Moments like these capture the MPA/ID experience."

Sophie Gardiner MPA/ID 2020 (USA)
Senior Consultant
Dalberg Advisors, New York, NY 

Adil Ababou MPA/ID 2017 (Morocco/France)

"The uniqueness of the MPA/ID Program comes from the integrated nature of the subjects. Core classes fit together as a full narrative, with the whole greater than the sum of its parts. We do not study economics for the sake of solving the model but for the sake of solving a real life, complex development problem."

Adil Ababou MPA/ID 2017 (Morocco/France)
Senior Program Officer, Development Policy and Finance 
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington, DC 

Ratnika Prasad MPA/ID, MBA 2020 (India)

"The lessons from the curriculum proved invaluable to me in multiple ways over the summer when I began my internship with the World Bank’s Climate Change Group. The climate change space is a classic example of a tragedy of the commons where the equilibrium is not a stable one and incentives to deviate are high for individual actors. So a lot of the game theory we studied is actually seen in action here.” 

Ratnika Prasad MPA/ID-MBA 2020 (India)
Business and Strategy Lead
Sway, San Francisco, CA

Dimitri Gvindadze

"MPA/ID teaches students to think critically, to analyse things from different angles, to understand multiple issues which shape the process of reforms and of state building in developing countries. The program is highly respected by employers.  Graduates' strong analytical skills and versatile mindsets allow them to exercise leadership in both private and public sectors."

Dimitri Gvindadze  MPA/ID 2005 (Georgia)
Director, Climate Strategy and Regional Delivery
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, London, UK