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25 Years

Master of Development Practice Degree Program

The Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), in partnership with the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, offers a Master of Development Practice (MDP) in international development program at the University of Minnesota. Our MDP program is part of a global network that prepares graduate students for a career in sustainable development. The two-year degree provides a rigorous interdisciplinary education, and equips students with the competencies, skills and knowledge needed to work toward poverty alleviation and sustainable development in developing regions of the world.  Our first cohort of students entered in August 2010.

The MDP program prepares young professionals for careers in sustainable development—globally, locally, and in the complex realities in between. A strategic blend of training in theory and practice equips MDP graduates with knowledge, skills, and competencies essential to appropriate and effective engagement with the broad coalitions addressing society’s complex sustainable development challenges. Poverty and inequalities, social and environmental justice, and the causes and effects of a rapidly changing climate are a few of the thematic areas toward which our alumni gravitate. The interdisciplinary MDP degree features training across the University, with courses in public policy, public health, education, and the natural and social sciences. This distributed approach fosters the integration of knowledge that is necessary for addressing the grand and systemic challenges confronting society and the development professions. Our MDP experience centers on engagement. Student inquiry and action typically begin with challenges framed by local and global partners, with engaged learning experiences occurring through campus-based coursework, field-based summer placements,* a culminating capstone project, and a variety of co-curricular opportunities.** Minnesota’s MDP program is a cooperative, interdisciplinary endeavor comprising faculty from six collegiate units at the University of Minnesota. MDP faculty work both locally and globally, and with notable partnerships and extensive experience in Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and the Middle East / North Africa region. 

2020 MDP Cohort 

Top left to right: Karla Godoy da Costa Lima, Olaluwakitan Babalola, Casey Ortbahn, Noran Aly, Khaled Abdellatif, Sam Turner

Bottom left to right: Denis Enywaru, Hannah Barnes, Eva Kough, faculty directors Dave Wilsey, Karen Brown and Ragui Assaad

The MDP Program at ICGC

The Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, where MDP students will take the core MDP courses, seeks to foster an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural community of faculty and graduate students committed to studying global change, especially as seen in the global south; addressing issues of peace, conflict, security, social and environmental change, justice, human rights, development, and international cooperation. The study of these issues is also extended to the United States and other developed countries.

ICGC already provides intellectual and financial support for more than 100 graduate and professional students in several colleges of the University of Minnesota, and is delighted to co-sponsor this initiative. ICGC organizes interdisciplinary faculty-student seminars and workshop series around major theoretical, comparative, and methodological issues related to the global south; as well as formal public lectures and informal discussion series featuring scholars, policymakers, and activists addressing issues related to its mission.

The MDP program shares several key features with ICGC’s highly successful graduate education programs:

  • Commitment to the study of global change, especially as seen in the global south
  • Exploration of multiple perspectives and approaches through a genuinely interdisciplinary curriculum and faculty
  • Emphasis on sustainability in development and what development policy and practice mean for sustainable livelihoods and communities
  • Integration of practical and field-based experiences with classroom curriculum
  • Focus on the linkages among policy and practice at local, national and global levels

What You Can Do with an MDP Degree

This field of study is designed to serve people committed to public service and working on issues of poverty, social justice, and sustainable development in the global south. As analysts, managers, and leaders, MDP graduates use their interdisciplinary tools and knowledge to develop, assess, and evaluate alternative approaches to the promotion of sustainable livelihoods. Career choices might span government, nongovernmental (NGOs) organizations, and the private sector.  Your career possibilities in international development will be greatly enhanced by the interdisciplinary training the MDP provides.