University College Dublin

Professor Samuel Brazys, University College Dublin, MPA-DP Program Director


Professor Patrick Paul Walsh, University College Dublin, MPA-DP Program, Chair of Sustainable Development Studies,

Gillian Johnston, University College Dublin, College of Social Science and Law Graduate School Programmes Administrator,

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The University College Dublin Masters in Public Administration – Development Practice (MPA-DP) 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 MPA-DP is based in the University College Dublin (UCD) in the College of Social Science and Law Graduate School 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.

Founded in 1854, University College Dublin is Ireland’s global university. UCD ranks #1 in Ireland in 40 of 43 subject areas in the QS World Rankings, including in Development Studies where it also ranks in the top 100 globally. UCD has a long history of encouraging students to engage in volunteer activities overseas and students today enjoy a wide variety of placement options. MDP students are encouraged to be team leaders in these wonderful activities.

UCD is home to the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) comprised of over 30 faculty members from across the university. The CSDS is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) and is currently supporting the Environmental Protection Agency (EAP) to prepare a framework for reviewing and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ireland and in partnership with other nations.

The goal of the MPA-DP is to train development practitioners with the scientific, policy and professional skills to succeed in the public, private and not-for-profit development sectors. The program’s core modules, delivered in year one, give a broad grounding in the Global MDP Program’s four pillars of health, natural, social, and management sciences. In year two the program is designed to allow students either to continue a broad training in public policy research and analysis or to pursue in-depth specialisms that draw on the expertise of UCD faculty. Indicative specialism areas include global health, environment and agriculture, and gender and conflict.

Skills developed in the core modules include:

  • Statistical and econometric analysis
  • Impact evaluation and randomized control trials (RCTs)
  • Economic analysis
  • Public Policy analysis
  • Negotiation skills
  • Project management

In addition to taught modules, students on the MPA-DP also undertake a summer research placement at a host academic or research institution while working with a UCD and local supervisor to collect research data for a thesis that is completed at the end of year two. The summer placement is designed to provide students with the following experiences:

  • 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.

Indicative host institutions for the summer field placement include:

  • Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Tanzania
  • University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE), Tanzania
  • University of Rwanda
  • Hawassa University Ethiopia
  • Tribhuvan University of Nepal
  • Sunway University in Malaysia
  • Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro
  • Monash University

For programme or admissions inquiries please contact Samuel Brazys,