Columbia University

MDP Director: 
Glenn Denning

Assistant Director & Adjunct Associate Professor: 
Andre Correa d’Almeida

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The MPA in Development Practice (MPA-DP) at SIPA trains current and aspiring development practitioners to design, implement, and manage results-oriented, integrated approaches to sustainable development. The program emphasizes practical technical knowledge and skills training while providing high-level opportunities to work directly with leading development organizations and practitioners in the field. The goal is to train and deploy a new generation of practitioners capable of understanding and crossing institutional, sectoral, and regional boundaries to integrate diverse stakeholders and methodologies to sustainably address complex development challenges.

MPA-DP graduates are not generalists, but specialists in integrated approaches to sustainable development. They are rising leaders at NGOs, private sector companies, social enterprises, UN agencies, development banks, philanthropic organizations, academic research institutions, government departments and bilateral aid agencies working towards the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Drawing upon the Earth Institute’s rich technical expertise and SIPA’s outstanding international record in public policy and management research and education, the MPA-DP curriculum trains students to integrate the many fields of development, including food systems, public health, education, infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and business enterprise. Technical knowledge in each sector is underscored by practical, crosscutting skills, such as problem identification, capacity building, partnership development, project design and management, monitoring and evaluation, budgeting and financial management, communications, and technology integration.

The rigorous academic coursework is supplemented by practical, hands-on experience. The program curates and funds high-level, dynamic, 12-week summer positions and consultancies for students. Over 190 students have worked in over 30 different countries for partners spanning development and management consultancies, multilateral institutions, NGOs, social enterprises, and foreign governments. Students also have access to client-facing classroom projects, field workshops, skills clinics, and expert seminars that allow them 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.