International Development

A broad base, plus depth and detail

You'll begin by mastering the fundamentals reflected in our MPA program's core competencies. These five courses (15 credit hours) will give you well-developed analytical skills and a broad understanding of policy issues and government processes. You'll then build on this foundation with three other required courses specific to international development:

  • Development Economics (D 573)
  • Introduction to Comparative and International Affairs (D 578)
  • Economic Development, Globalization, and Entrepreneurship (D 669)

The remainder of your course work (9 credit hours) will come from a wide range of elective courses. These will allow you to tailor your International Development program to your own specific interests. At least one of these electives must come from the list of methods courses. These are sample lists. To see all options, go to course descriptions, below. 

Methods electives

  • Vector-based Geographic Information Systems (E 518)
  • Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs (P 507)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis (P 541)
  • Public Program Evaluation (P 562)
  • A graduate level area studies or language studies course with approval

Other electives

  • U.S. Foreign Policy and Third World Regimes (D 548)
  • Approaches to Development (D 576)
  • International Economic Strategy and Development Policy (D 577)
  • Conflict and Development (D 583)
  • International Environmental Policy (E 535)
  • Public Program Management and Contracting (M 654)
  • Civil Society in Comparative Perspective (N 524)
  • NGO Management for International Development (N 534)
  • Sustainable Development (S 596)
  • Principles and Practices of Social Entrepreneurship (V 559)


Combining your International Development concentration with another MPA concentration—such as Economic Development or Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management—can offer you unique advantages in pursuing a particular career. As they help you design your program, our faculty will work to accommodate your specialized professional interests.


Experiential learning

Our MPA program offers far more than traditional lectures and lessons. You'll also get the benefit of experiential learning—typically through an approved internship. What's more, your concentrations course work will culminate in a project-oriented course—a capstone—that lets you apply the knowledge you gained throughout the program.

Current and past placements and internships:

  • American Security Project
  • Atlantic Council
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Center for Civilians in Conflict
  • European Parliament
  • Office of the President, KAUST (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Embassies

Get involved

You can join the SPEA International Public Affairs Association, one of many professional student organizations that offer networking and current information on events in the industry.

Get involved in other organizations