The Master of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) trains current and aspiring practitioners to develop, implement, and manage comprehensive approaches to sustainable development. The goal is to create a new generation of development practitioners who can speak the “languages” of many specialties, understand the complex interactions among them, and coordinate stakeholders from all levels and disciplines to better address development challenges.
Graduates of the MPA–DP program are prepared to work in a range of organizations that address sustainable development issues, including: local and international NGOs, UN agencies, private sector companies, consulting firms, social enterprises, government institutions, international finance institutions, bilateral aid agencies, philanthropic organizations, and academic institutions.
Development Practitioners will be able to:
The MPA-DP curriculum draws upon the outstanding resources of the Earth Institute and SIPA to provide students with the technical knowledge, skills and tools needed to address complex development issues.
In addition to the courses designed specifically for the program, MPA-DP students can take electives from the School of International and Public Affairs, as well as from Columbia’s other graduate schools, including the Mailman School of Public Health, the Business School, the Law School, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The rigorous academic course work is complemented by practical hands-on experience. Through the field placement program, students work on the ground on an integrated, multi-sectoral development project, in close collaboration with skilled practitioners, community members, and faculty mentors. The field experience encompasses three months at select locations and several additional months of preparation and follow-up activities in New York.
During the course of the two year program, students attend a weekly seminar with accomplished development practitioners. The seminar provides students the opportunity to ask candid questions, gain practical insight on how to function effectively in future careers and also promotes longer term professional exchanges that may open the door for professional opportunities. A list of previous speakers for this seminar can be found here.
Courses are taught by an expert faculty and renowned practitioners in fields such as food systems, development economics, health systems, management and many others. The program utilizes sustainable development research and practitioner experience to provide practical training to a new generation of professionals who will address critical interdisciplinary issues.
The MPA in Development Practice program welcomed its first class in the fall of 2009 and graduated its first students in May 2011. The first two cohorts were about 25 students each, although the program has since grown to 50 students in each incoming class. The MPA-DP program now has nearly 90 alumni and over 100 current students attending Columbia.
The program encourages students to gain hands-on field experience before applying to the program. For each cohort, we seek diverse international representation and a range of disciplinary backgrounds to enrich the learning environment. Each MMPA-DP class comprises approximately 50 students from about 20 countries, coming from a range of academic backgrounds including economics, business, engineering, computer science, agriculture, public health, education, biology, religion, history communications, political science, law and international relations. This cultural and professional diversity within each cohort is a powerful asset for learning and contributing to a vibrant program.
MPA-DP students can take advantage of the incredible resources and events offered by the Earth Institute and the School of International and Public Affairs. In addition, students are part of a truly global network through the Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat, which serves as the umbrella organization overseeing all Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programs and activities worldwide. The creation of the MDP Secretariat is one of the core recommendations of a report from the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The MDP Secretariat supports the Columbia MPA-DP program by facilitating interactions among MDP students and faculty members throughout the Global Network; managing the development of the MDP curriculum and standards; and supporting online resources for participating institutions.
Admission to the program is highly selective. Prospective students interested in learning about the program are encouraged to contact André Corrêa d'Almeida, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 854-2636.
André Corrêa d'Almeida, Ph.D