Master of Arts in the Field of International Development Studies

The master of arts in the field of international development studies (IDS) degree program prepare students for professional careers in the field of international development through interdisciplinary course work that includes the study of economics, research methods, policy analysis, and management. Students focus their studies by creating their own area of specialization in coordination with their faculty mentor. 

The IDS program culminates in a capstone project where students work on a real-world consulting experience with a development organization. In past years, capstone projects have addressed a broad range of topics, including private sector development, rural education, microfinance, HIV/AIDS, environmental conservation, gender-based violence, municipal planning, and many others. Teams have pursued these projects and conducted fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Previous capstone reports can be found on the program's capstone website.

In addition to their regular course work, most graduate students in the IDS program are employed full- or part-time in a job or internship directly related to their studies. Employers include USAID, World Bank, Organization of American States, Peace Corps, IREX, Ashoka, Management Systems International, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Chemonics International, and many others. 

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder.

Visit the program website for additional information.

Specific admission requirements are shown on the Graduate Program Finder

Prerequisite: a bachelor’s degree including introductory microeconomics, a course in statistics, and at least two years of study of a modern foreign language

The multidisciplinary program requires 40 credits including: 

10 credits in core courses
12 credits in analytical courses
18 credits in an area of specialization
Foreign language proficiency

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

International Development Studies

Core Courses (10 credits):
IAFF 6121International Development Studies Cornerstone
IAFF 6122Development Policy and Practice
IAFF 6137Development Studies Pre-Capstone Workshop
IAFF 6139International Development Studies Capstone
Analytical Courses (12 credits):
ECON 6250Survey of Economic Development
A management course selected from the following:
EDUC 6381Program Evaluation: Theory and Practice
EDUC 6620Strategies and Analysis in International Education (Managing International Education Development Projects)
EMSE 6220Environmental Management
EMSE 6260Energy Management
EMSE 6285Analytical Tools for Energy Management
EMSE 6305Crisis and Emergency Management
EMSE 6310Information Technology in Crisis and Emergency Management
EMSE 6320International Disaster Management
EMSE 6325Medical and Public Health Emergency Management
EMSE 6820Program and Project Management
GEOG 6293Special Topics (Water Resources Policy & Management)
IAFF 6138Special Topics in International Development Studies
IBUS 6297International Management Experience
IBUS 6402Managing in Developing Countries
MGT 4101
MGT 6216Cross-Cultural Management
PPPA 6031Governing and Managing Nonprofit Organizations
PPPA 6032Managing Fund Raising and Philanthropy
PPPA 6057International Development Administration
PPPA 6058International Development NGO Management
PPPA 6059International Development Management Processes and Tools
PPPA 6077Case Studies in Public Policy
PUBH 6006Management and Policy Approaches to Public Health
PUBH 6435Global Health Program Development and Implementation
PUBH 6436Global Health Program Management and Leadership
PUBH 6437Global Health Program Evaluation
PUBH 6513Community Health Management
SMPP 6210Strategic Environmental Management
A research methods course selected from the following:
ANTH 6331Research Methods in Development Anthropology
ANTH 6591Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology
EDUC 6114Introduction to Quantitative Research
EDUC 6116Introduction to Educational Statistics
EDUC 8130Survey Research Methods
EDUC 8131Case Study Research Methods
EDUC 8140Ethnographic Research Methods
EDUC 8142Phenomenological Research Methods
EDUC 8170Educational Measurement
EDUC 8171Predictive Designs and Analyses
IAFF 6138Special Topics in International Development Studies
IAFF 6501Quant Analysis Int'l Aff Prac
PPPA 6002Research Methods and Applied Statistics
PUBH 6247Design of Health Studies
PPPA 6013Econometrics—Policy Research I
PPPA 6016Public and Nonprofit Program Evaluation
PUBH 6249StatPackages/DataMgt&DataAnlys
PUBH 6260Adv DataAnalysis-Public Health
PUBH 6264Quantitative Methods
PUBH 6266Biostatistical Methods
PUBH 6410Global Health Study Design
PUBH 6411Global Health Qualitative Research Methods
PUBH 6412Global Health Quantitative Research Methods
PUBH 6533Design of Comm Health Surveys
SOC 6230Sociological Research Methods
SOC 6231Data Analysis
SOC 6232Qualitative Methodology: Doing Field Research
SOC 6240Field Research in Organizational Settings
A policy analysis course selected from the following*:
*in lieu of a policy analysis course, students can select a second research methods course.
EDUC 6100Experimental Courses (Policy Design: Accountability)
EDUC 6371Education Policy
EDUC 6388Analysis of Education Policy Issues
EDUC 6610Programs and Policies in International Education
EDUC 8322Education Policy Implementation
EDUC 8340Methods of Policy Analysis in Education
IAFF 6378Special Topics in Middle East Studies
PPPA 6006Policy Analysis
PPPA 6014Economics in Policy Analysis
PPPA 6085Special Topics in Public Policy
PSC 6346The Politics of U.S. Foreign Policy
PSC 6349International Security Politics
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
WSTU 6240Women and Public Policy
Area of Specialization (18 credits):
18 credits from a self-designed area of specialization, developed in coordination with a faculty advisor

Language Proficiency

Students must demonstrate proficiency in a modern foreign language. The ability to communicate across cultures in more than one language is a distinguishing and expected skill of the international development professional. For that reason, completion of the M.A. in International Development Studies requires demonstrated oral and reading proficiency in a modern foreign language.

Professional Skills Courses

The Elliott School offers a series of one-credit workshops on a variety of topics and students are encouraged to explore the possibility of taking up to three of these. Offered throughout the academic year, the skills covered provide students with practical skills and knowledge they will need to perform effectively in a variety of work settings.