Harvard Extension School, Harvard University, USA

Thomas Gloria, PhD, MDP Program Director, tgloria@fas.harvard.edu

William O’Brien, MBA, JD, Field Study Research Advisor, william_obrien@fas.harvard.edu

MDP Website: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/academics/graduate-degrees/development-practice-degree

 

The Master of Liberal Arts in the field of Development Practice at Harvard Extension School offers a rigorous curriculum in a part-time, nonresidential format to accommodate distance students and those working full time. Drawing from dedicated faculty across Harvard University and leading development practitioners, the program provides affordable and accessible instruction.

The program at Harvard Extension covers the four core pillars of development practice: health science, natural science, social science, and management. Students will gain proficiency in all four areas and learn how apply this knowledge with practical skills, including project management, communications, research, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and more.

Key learning outcomes include a holistic understanding of policy instruments, social complexities, human health risks, ecological system dynamics, technological innovations, and financial models that can advance sustainable development.

To earn this master’s degree at Harvard Extension, students must successfully complete 12 courses. The field study capstone course must be attended at the Harvard University main campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, either as five separate weekends during the fall or spring semesters, or as three contiguous weeks in the summer. The remainder of courses attended entirely online, making this an ideal program for international or distance learners. Harvard Extension has an earn-your-way-in admissions process, where students must complete two introductory courses and earn a B or higher before applying to the program. Our distance capabilities and open enrollment admissions allow for greater flexibility within the Global Association to earn your degree.

The program concludes with a field training program where students work with a client—which may include a local or state government, local nongovernmental organization, school, hospital, health center, commercial enterprise, or development agency—to develop a sustainable solution. With this learner-centered approach, students are responsible for selecting a client, fostering a good working relationship, and designing a project scope.