The Economic and Political Development (EPD) concentration attracts diverse students from around the world who are committed to fighting inequality between and within countries, eradicating poverty and its causes, and promoting inclusive growth and human development by expanding people’s civil and political as well as economic and social rights and freedoms. To take on these global challenges, EPD curriculum equips students with a variety of skills in policy analysis, program planning, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy. Through an interdisciplinary package of courses, workshop projects, and practical internships, students acquire both a broader understanding of the processes of economic, political and social change in the developing world as well as a more focused competence in specific fields such as microfinance, small business and social enterprise development, corporate social responsibility, gender and development, education policy, public health, sustainable development, post-conflict reconstruction and governance.
One of the most exciting opportunities within the EPD concentration is the Workshop in Development Practice, through which students gain practical experience by engaging in on-going cutting-edge development projects, often involving country fieldwork. Working in teams with a faculty supervisor, students assist a variety of clients on a wide array of assignments in international development. Students take a multidisciplinary approach to their work and learn extensively from each other as well as from the hands-on tasks of the workshop itself. A list of past workshop projects can be viewed at the following link: http://new.sipa.columbia.edu/academics/capstone-workshops/epd#top_info.
The EPD concentration is dedicated to enhancing students’ overall experience at SIPA. We sponsor a number of events throughout each academic year. This includes social events, such as the annual EPD retreat, happy hours, cultural trips around the city or off-campus parties; brown bag talks and evening lectures with practitioners and academics; and career events such as internship and alumni panels. We regularly collaborate with other concentrations, student groups and regional institutes to address the wide array of interests among our EPD students.
EPD graduates are uniquely prepared for careers in international development. They seek leadership positions in the nonprofit, public and private sectors and pursue opportunities in development consulting, microfinance, small business and social enterprise development, corporate social responsibility, gender and development, education policy, public health, sustainable development, post-conflict reconstruction, governance and/or capacity development. EPD works very closely with SIPA’s Office of Career Services to provide a comprehensive support to our students. A sample of employers who hired EPD graduates is available here http://new.sipa.columbia.edu/careers/employment-statistics/career-paths-by-concentration.