MA in Global Development Policy

The Master of Arts in Global Development Policy (GDP) program prepares students for a fast-growing number and variety of careers in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of development programs, working for governments, international organizations, NGOs, and private companies. The GDP is a rigorous three-semester program that provides students with a breadth of training in the various facets of sustainable international development as well as in-depth training in a chosen sub-field (Governance and Political Economy, Environment and Development, or International Public Health). In addition to coursework in their chosen subfield, students complete a set of universal requirements, including core courses surveying the essentials of each subfield and the workings of the global economy, training in research design, and a capstone seminar involving team projects done for real-world clients. The program includes the opportunity for students to spend a summer studying and interning in Geneva or (for Public Health concentrators) studying and researching in Kenya. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Environmental Science, Economics, Political Science, Public Health, or a discipline closely related to one of these fields.

The Global Development Policy MA is a joint offering of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, the School of Public Health, and the Department of Earth & Environment.

Students with an Economics background may wish to consider the related Master of Arts in Global Development Economics.

Course Requirements

The MA in Global Development Policy requires a total of 48 credits. In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses.

Core Course Requirements (20 credits)

  • GRS GE 600: Environment & Development: A Political Ecology Approach
  • GRS IR 701: Fundamentals of International Relations
  • SPH IH 770: Poverty, Health, and Development
  • GRS IR 704: Global Economic and Development Policy
  • GRS IR/GE 798: Global Development Capstone

Track Course Requirements (at least 20 credits)

Students choose to concentrate in one of three tracks. Each track includes a required statistics/methods course, two required track classes, plus sufficient optional track coursework to bring the total credits in the track to at least 20. The required courses for each track are detailed below. Full track course listings can be found online.

Governance & Political Economy

  • CAS MA 614: Statistical Methods
  • Students choose two of the following three classes:
    • GRS IR 621: Global Governance, Economic Development, & Human Rights
    • GRS IR 759: International Institutions for Finance Development, and Trade
    • GRS IR 789: Globalization, Development, Governance

Environment & Development

  • CAS GE 516: Multivariate Analysis for Geographers or GRS GE 700: Research Methods in Human-Environment Interactions
  • CAS GE 510: Physical Principles of the Environment
  • GRS GE 660: Resource Economics and Policy

International Public Health

  • SPH BS 704: Introduction to Biostatistics
  • SPH EP 713: Introduction to Epidemiology
  • SPH IH 745: Monitoring & Evaluation of International Health Programs

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA degree in Global Development Policy are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination, or successful completion of a non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University. In the case of non-native English speakers who were required to submit a TOEFL score report as part of their application for admission, knowledge of English fulfills this requirement.