The Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) Program is a rigorous, economics-centered program designed to prepare the next generation of practitioners and leaders like you in the field of international development.
What do we look for in our MPA/ID students?
First of all, we look for appropriate career focus. Most of our admitted MPA/IDs have at least three years of development-related work experience in government, central or regional banks, international development institutions, nonprofits, research organizations or private businesses. Usually at least some of the work has been in developing or transitional economy countries.
Secondly, we look for applicants who are interested in quantitative analysis and economics. You should consider applying to a different program if you have never enjoyed math or economics. We encourage citizens of both industrialized and developing countries to apply to the MPA/ID Program.
What else you should know
There are also some key academic criteria you must meet to be considered for the MPA/ID Program.
- Academic record: a bachelor's degree, with a strong academic record, including good grades in economics and mathematics courses.
- Prerequisite courses: completion of at least one university-level course each in microeconomics, macroeconomics and three university-level courses in calculus, which must include multivariable calculus. Statistics and linear algebra courses are desirable, but not required.
- GRE or GMAT: competitive GRE or GMAT scores, especially in the quantitative section. In general, you are most competitive for admission if you score in the 80th percentile and above on the GRE or GMAT quantitative section.
- TOEFL/IELTS: evidence of fluency in English, demonstrated by a TOEFL score of at least 100 on the iBT or an overall band score of 7 on the IELTS (only for applicants whose native language is not English)
- Recommendations: we look for strong recommendations from academic and professional recommenders who know you well and can tell us about your qualifications for our program.
- Essays: you will have the opportunity to tell us about yourself through three essays: one discussing your decision to pursue a career in international development, one describing an experience in which you exercised leadership, and one analyzing a public policy problem and discussing a range of solutions.
Simply meeting the criteria above does not guarantee admission. Our program receives many more applications from well-qualified candidates than can be admitted, but we carefully consider all aspects of each application we receive. Offers of admission are made to the strongest candidates.
Typical MPA/ID class profile
|70% developing countries||51% men||25% 23-25 years old|
|20% United States||49% women||50% 26-28 years old|
|10% other industrialized countries||25% 29+ years old|
"I realized that what these governments need most are internal sources of revenue that can then finance their public goods and services – which means a strong local private sector that creates jobs and generates tax revenue. This interest in private sector development in Africa is what motivated me to pursue a joint degree." Nanako Yano, MPA/ID, MBA 2018 (Japan)
"I knew I wanted to attend graduate school, and I knew I wanted to study public policy and international development. I studied Economics and Anthropology as an undergraduate, and this furthered my interest in an interdisciplinary approach to development that was backed by both rigorous methodologies, yet inclusive of the local context and presented a holistic picture." - Nikita Taniparti MPA/ID 2018 (India)
"I’m interested in working at the intersection of government and business, so I was looking for joint MPA/MBA programs. I wanted an MPA course that offered strong analytical training, an international perspective on economic policy, and a multidisciplinary approach to development. I felt that the MPA/ID program fit the bill perfectly." Daniel Gastfriend, MPA/ID, MBA 2019 (United States)
"One of the most distinct features of the program is the group of impressive students that it manages to attract. From multinational organizations such as the World Bank to truly innovative nonprofits and startups throughout Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, MPA/ID students bring many different experiences and perspectives on some of the most pressing challenges of our time." - Alfonso de la Torre MPA/ID 2017 (Peru)
"To understand the most pressing international development challenges and, importantly, to thrive as a professional seeking to address these problems, a rigorous understanding of economics is absolutely essential." - Molly Kinder MPA/ID 2008 (United States) Senior Adviser, The Future of Work at New America in Washington, DC.