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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 like you in the field of international development.

Within a multidisciplinary core curriculum, as an MPA/ID student you will take economics and quantitative methods sequences that are taught at the same level as first-year courses in top PhD programs in economics but with an emphasis on policy applications to development over pure theory. You’ll also complete core courses in politics, institutions, and management, as well as the theory and practice of development.

In your second year, you'll choose from an array of elective options at HKS, at the other Harvard 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.

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

Shammi Quddus MPA/ID 2018 (Bangladesh)

"What I love about the MPA/ID is that it is truly a practitioner's degree. It is a highly quantitative curriculum but the technicality is not an end in itself. The rigor of the program is designed to equip us with the tools and confidence to engage both the academic and political worlds as you go about designing effective policy and development programs."

Shammi Quddus MPA/ID 2018 (Bangladesh)
Product Manager, Payments
Google, Inc. 

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 

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)
Manager, Policy Group
Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab 

Yacoub Shomali MPA/ID 2019 (Jordan)

"My favorite course is DEV-401 Applications and Cases in International Development. The course was designed to give us exposure to a wide array of topics in development such as macroeconomic crises, infrastructure finance, migration, and education. It also allowed us to engage in discussions with leaders and practitioners in the development community, hone our writing skills, and learn through in-class simulations.

Yacoub Shomali MPA/ID 2019 (Jordan)
Boston Consulting Group

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)
Director, EDF Business+
Environmental Defense Fund

woman smiling

"'You can be technically correct, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t have the right institutions and the right management to make something happen,' says Myers, the founder of the Mozambique School Lunch Initiative, a nonprofit that feeds 1,200 children daily with the aim of keeping them both nourished and in school. 'That has really been true to my experience.'"

Cara Myers MPA/ID 2018 (USA)
ET Consultant, Global Poverty Practice
World Bank