Trinity College Dublin


Padraig Carmody, Trinity College Dublin, MDP Program Director,

Susan Murphy, Trinity College Dublin, MDP Program co-ordinator


Apply here.


The Trinity College Dublin Masters in Development Practice (MDP) is a two-year fulltime programme that offers professional trans-disciplinary graduate degree training that addresses the challenges of sustainable development through a blend of rigorous academic courses and practical engagements.  The MDP is based in Trinity College, The University of Dublin (TCD) School of Natural Science and is delivered by staff from all faculties across the university, in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills.

Trinity College Dublin (established in 1592) is Ireland’s leading university, recognised internationally for the quality of its education and research. Over 100 Trinity staff members identify themselves as having a research and education interest in this area, and there are more than 70 research projects on international development. The Dublin MDP collaborates closely with The Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) which forms an overarching structure to coordinating and promoting International Development Research and education at Trinity. TIDI is a College wide initiative involving all three faculties and multiple disciplines. It is a key enabler in attracting world class researchers and collaborators to Trinity and in giving visibility to and engaging with stakeholders and policy makers.

The goal of the Dublin MDP is to produce rounded development practitioners with a deep understanding of scientific methods and techniques to reduce global poverty, in addition to extensive on-the-ground training in developing country contexts, and in international organizations. The course modules are categorized according to each of the Global MDP Program’s four pillars—health, natural, social, and management sciences. Some are categorized as cross-disciplinary, although the program as a whole emphasizes the interconnectedness between development issues in these four fields. The MDP is rooted in evidence that effective public policy must be science-based. Course offerings include a blend of traditional class-room based modules and three internships including two international field training placements.

MDP Candidates develop specialist skills in

  • Economics: Micro and Macro Development Economics.
  • Statistics; Impact Measurement in Development
  • Research design, methodology, and methods including (including training in leading edge quantitative, qualitative, and digital tools and techniques)
  • Project and programme management
  • Sector analysis: Tropical Livelihoods and sustainable development; global health; Gender and development; Climate Change, Human Rights, and Sustainable Development; Science, Technology and Sustainable Development; Economics of Sustainable Development ; Post-Conflict Situations; Governance, Politics, and Development; and Globalisation and African Development.
  • Fieldwork I
  • Fieldwork II
  • NGO Placements
  • Students also produce a dissertation on a specialist research area of their choice.

The Dublin MDP utilizes three models of Field Practicum over the course of the program – both national and international – to provide space for learning through practice. The details are as follows:

Sub-Contractor Model – Local NGO research placement module

During this core module, students work with local Non-Governmental Development Organisations (NDGOs) on specific research topics.  Collaborating organisations include







Development Perspectives

Coalition 2030

Embedded Practitioner Model: International Clinical Field Training (Fieldwork I)

There are two objectives of this core module – firstly, the module is designed to enable students to gain field experience in a supportive and structured environment; and secondly, to provide students with the opportunity to collect data for use in the final MDP dissertation. On completion of this module, students develop skills in the following areas:

  • Research design and planning;
  • Primary and secondary data collection utilising a range of quantitative and qualitative tools;
  • End-to-end project management skills including design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a development project as a practitioner
  • Conduct policy oriented case study research on development problems and challenges from theoretical, policy and practice perspectives.

Sample projects include:

Volcanoes National Park (VNP), Rwanda  

How are the incentives from sustainable conservation projects used by community based organizations? Impact evaluation.

Assessing the contribution of community/cultural based tourism in socio–economic development of the communities around the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda.

REPOA, Tanzania .   Research on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection instruments – what are the most effective instruments for reduce poverty in Tanzania?

DUCE, Tanzania.    Gender and Education: Why are women less likely than men to participate in higher education in Tanzania?

Conduct baseline study to inform gender interventions. Develop longitudinal research programme to evaluate impact of strategies over time.

Climate Change awareness and education programme.

IPAS.  Cross-country Regional Assessment of IPAS Policy Initiatives on Sex-selective Abortion in Asia.

Individual Entrepreneur Model: Intergovernmental International Organisation Professional Work-based Placements (Fieldwork II)

This is a core module where students are expected to self- select, apply, secure, and undertake policy based internships with an intergovernmental international organisation of their choice. The core aims of this module include

  • To provide students with the skills and experience to move directly into employment post-graduation;
  • To offer students the opportunity to target their preferred organisations and roles, establish contacts and networks, and gather the necessary work-experience to prepare them for employment, with full institutional support;

Sample of placements secured by MDP students include:

Organisations include

UNESCO UN Economic & Social Commission, New Delhi UNDP, Geneva, Tokyo, New York Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice UN SIDS, New York National Universities Commission, Nigeria UN Office of the General Secretary, New York OECD, Paris UN DESA, New York UN ESCWA, Lebanon UNODC, Pretoria, South Africa Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris & Kathmandu UN Economic Commission for Africa SRO-EA, Rwanda UN OCHA, Johannesburg UN ESCAP, Bangkok

UN WOMEN, India, New York

UN EP, Panama

UN FCCC, Bonn UNDP, New York Oxfam Ireland, India & Tanzania

For more details, please see our website or contact one of our programme leaders directly.