I know it’s a tough decision to choose the right program that will boost your career, so I’m here to tell you more about one of those options: the MPA-DP program.As the MPA-DP program assistant, I’m in a unique positive to tell students more about its comprehensive approach to creating leading development practitioners. There are seven key characteristics of the program that I’d like to discuss; all of which will advance your understanding of the development world while preparing you for the rest of your professional career.
- Emphasis on applied practice
Summer Field Placements, client-facing classroom projects, field workshops, skills clinics, the Development Practice Lab and expert seminars allow students to engage directly with leading development organizations and practitioners to address challenges in the field and in the office. These opportunities equip students with skills and practice in management, communications and technology, as well as quantitative and qualitative analytical experience.
- Multilevel and multi-sector perspective
The MPA-DP looks at sustainable development from a holistic lens. In terms of program development, the graduate program explores issues from problem identification in the field up to program design and organizational management. The graduate program will also examine high-level national and global policy formulation within various sectors including health, education and food security.
- Specialized and flexible
While the MIA and MPA programs have formal concentrations and specializations, the MPA-DP program does not. Instead, students “concentrate” on Development Practice. This core represents about 50 percent of the course load for the degree program, allowing students the freedom and flexibility to use electives at SIPA and Columbia University’s other eight graduate schools to explore and define a focus area. There are 11 focus areas to choose from, ranging from Food Security to Education and Social Inclusion to Sustainable Cities, which students may mix and match.
- Small by design
The MPA-DP program is the smallest two-year program at SIPA, with just 50 students per graduating class. Students benefit from SIPA and Columbia University’s vast resources, brand and alumni network, while learning in a small “family atmosphere” and connecting with the same leadership and faculty as other degree programs.
- Innovative and adaptive
Columbia University launched the first MPA-DP program in 2009. The program remains entrepreneurial and adaptive to the evolving expectations of students and employers. Just take a look at Karolina Walęcik’s, MPA-DP ’16, summer placement. Less than two months after the devastating Nepal earthquake, Karolina joined a team in improving fund transparency in humanitarian crisis efforts.
- Global MDP Association
Since the MPA-DP program’s inception in 2009, the Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat and the MacArthur Foundation have helped more than 25 institutions on six continents launch Master’s in Development Practice programs, providing an unprecedented professional network and resources for our students and alumni. Currently, SIPA’s MPA-DP program has more than 188 alumni working around the world.
- The Development Practitioner’s Seminar
This weekly series of discussions with international practitioners provides opportunities for students to ask candid questions, gain career insights, and spark professional exchanges from leading practitioners, which open doors to future field placements, internships, and employment.
If you’d like to speak with a current MPA-DP student to learn more about its advantages, submit the Connect With A Current Student form.