MPA/ID candidate Lucila Arboleya


The MPA/ID Program is a rigorous, economics-centered program designed to train the next generation of practitioners and leaders in the field of international development. In the context of a multidisciplinary core curriculum, MPA/ID students take microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics 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. In addition, MPA/ID students complete core courses in institutions, governance, management, and the theory of development.

The demanding set of core courses includes:

Students gain professional expertise through the case workshop and speaker series, a required summer internship, a substantial capstone paper, and elective coursework in specific fields of development.

In short, the MPA/ID Program is built on three pillars:

  1. PhD-level training in economics and quantitative methods
  2. Multidisciplinary approach through coursework on institutions, governance, and management
  3. Professional orientation through the case workshop, a summer internship, a capstone paper, and other integrative work

More specific information about the MPA/ID curriculum can be found on the core courses page and the Office of the Registrar's list of MPA/ID Degree Requirements.

Teaching and Learning at HKS

Classes at the Harvard Kennedy School are taught by the case method, the more traditional lecture format, or a mixture of both. Students work together in small groups on projects and will have assistance from course assistants, teaching fellows, and faculty members in a collaborative working environment.

Methodological Areas at HKS

The HKS curriculum is built around the concept that future leaders and policy makers need to be adept in analytical, management, and leadership skills in order to serve the public good. The three foundational methodological areas at HKS are:

  1. Quantitative Analysis
  2. Strategic Management
  3. Leadership and Advocacy

Whether as distribution requirements for graduation or as a part of the core curriculum, these three areas are the foundation upon which the HKS education is built. HKS graduates depart from the school with a powerful complement of skills to increase their effectiveness in their chosen fields.

Training for Development Practitioners

Lant Pritchett

“Almost twenty years ago, we decided to devote substantial resources to a new kind of development training that wasn’t available anywhere else. And what was that development training? It was, essentially, providing all of the economics and all of the skill sets that economists had so that our graduates would be able to sit down at the table with economists in any setting and hold their own. We wanted a training that was economics, but grounded in the realities of development, and tailored for practitioners.  And that’s what we do.” - Lant Pritchett, Faculty Chair of the MPA/ID Program


Speaker Series

Professor Lawrence Summers

Professor Wing Thye Woo examined the sustainability of China’s economic growth in the MPA/ID speakers’ series, part of the core course PED-401 Applications and Cases in International Development, co-taught by Professors Lant Pritchett and Michael Walton.

The course has two objectives. 

-        First, to build an understanding of the nature and drivers of change in real development settings.

-        Second, to illustrate the use of the range of concepts and techniques from other MPA/ID courses in the diagnosis of development change. 

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