MA in Global Development Policy

The Master of Arts in Global Development Policy degree program offered by the Department of International Relations (IR) is designed to prepare students for a fast-growing number and variety of careers in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of development programs. A joint project of the School of Public Health (SPH) and the Departments of International Relations and Earth & Environment in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS), this program provides students with leading-edge exposure to a wide range of development-related knowledge and skills currently in demand. Students with an economics background may wish to consider the related Master of Arts in Global Development Economics.

The MA in Global Development Policy (GDP) trains students for development policy careers in government, nonprofit institutions, international organizations, and the private sector. The GDP is a rigorous three-semester program that provides students with 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.

Requirements

NOTE: The following explicates the requirements applicable only to the IR MA in Global Development Policy program. Students should first consult the International Relations MA Core Requirements portion of this Bulletin for detailed requirements applicable to all IR MA programs.

The IR MA in Global Development Policy is a three-semester program consisting of a total of 12 courses (48 credits). Students complete three core development policy courses, an economics course, a statistics/methods course, a final capstone course, 16 credit hours of coursework in a chosen track, and eight credit hours of elective coursework. In addition, students must pass the IR department’s foreign language examination.

Required Courses

Global Development Policy Core Requirements

  • GRS GE 600  Environment & Development: A Political Ecology Approach
  • GRS IR 701    Introduction to International Relations
  • SPH IH 770    Poverty, Health, and Development

Economics Course

  • GRS IR 704    Global Economic and Development Policy

Statistics/Methods Course

  • All students take a statistics/methods course. The specific course taken is dependent on the track chosen by the student. See the section below on track courses for details.

Capstone Course

All students in the Global Development Policy program take a capstone course in their second year, GRS IR 798 Global Development Capstone. This is a project-based course in which students, working in groups, design and carry out an interdisciplinary policy analysis comparable to those performed for a government or nonprofit agency.

Track Courses

Students in the Global Development Policy program choose to concentrate in one of three tracks: Governance and Political Economy, Environment and Development, or International Public Health. Each track includes a required statistics/methods class plus a further 16 credit hours of coursework, consisting of two or more required courses and one or more optional courses. Students take the required courses for their track and then select sufficient optional track coursework to total a minimum of 16 credit hours (not including the credits for the statistics/methods class). The three tracks are detailed below.

Governance & Political Economy

Statistics/Methods Course
  • GRS IR 702    Research Methods for International Relations Practitioners
Required Track Courses
  • GRS IR 759    International Institutions for Finance Development, and Trade
  • GRS IR 789    Globalization, Governance, and Development
Optional Track Courses

Students choose two additional track courses. Track course listings can be found online at www.bu.edu/ir/graduate.

Environment & Development

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

Students choose one additional track course. Track course listings can be found online at www.bu.edu/ir/graduate.

International Public Health

Statistics/Methods Course
  • SPH BS 704     Introduction to Biostatistics (3 cr)
Required Track Courses
  • SPH EP 713    Introduction to Epidemiology (3 cr)
  • SPH IH 704    International Public Health and Medical Care: A Systems Approach (4 cr)
  • SPH IH 745    Monitoring & Evaluation of International Health Programs (4 cr)
  • SPH PH 709    The Biology of Public Health (4 cr)
Optional Track Courses

Students choose one additional track course. Track course listings can be found online at www.bu.edu/ir/graduate.

Elective Courses

Students take sufficient elective coursework to total a minimum of 48 credit hours. For students in the Governance and Political Economy track and the Environment and Development track, this equates to two regular courses. Because the School of Public Health offers coursework with varying credits, the number of courses taken by students in the International Public Health track varies, but students must take sufficient elective coursework to total a minimum of 48 credit hours.

Elective coursework may be chosen from the optional track courses of any of the three tracks. Students are welcome to take coursework from outside of their own track, but they must satisfy any prerequisites for the courses that they take.

Elective coursework can also be selected from the graduate-level regional studies offerings of a variety of departments at BU. An extensive listing of regional studies course offerings can be found in the course listings for the various regional tracks of the IR department’s MA in International Affairs degree program. Students may take any of the regional studies courses listed there and may also petition the IR Director of Graduate Studies for approval to take a regional studies course not listed.

Students may also talk with the coordinator for their track about the possibility of taking other coursework to fulfill the elective requirement, if that other coursework fits with the intent of the degree program and contributes to preparation of the students for their intended career paths.