Global MDP Program

Sustainable Development Practice

The Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP), an interdisciplinary graduate degree program, prepares students to better identify and address the challenges of sustainable development. MDP programs generally consist of two years of coursework in four intersecting disciplines—health, natural, social, and management sciences--combined with cross-sectoral field training.

The interdisciplinary nature of the MDP program equips development practitioners to speak the different “languages” of specialists in, for example, health, agronomy, and economics, enabling them to better understand the root causes of extreme poverty and to address the challenges of sustainable development.

Video: Jeffrey Sachs Introduces the first Master's in Development Practice program

MDP programs belong to a global network of universities and collaborating organizations and have been developed according to recommendations outlined in the report of the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice.

MDP programs are designed for

  • generalist development practitioners, to deepen their knowledge in diverse but related disciplines, enabling them to better coordinate and implement the insights of specialists;
  • specialist development practitioners, to round out their knowledge base, enabling them to contribute more effectively to interdisciplinary policy teams;
  • policy administrators and policy professionals, to equip them to pursue effective strategies for sustainable development practice;
  • private-sector professionals, to prepare them for decision-making and problem-solving roles in matters relating to sustainable development practice;
  • educators, to help them better address in their curricula the wide range of issues in sustainable development practice.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation committed more than $16 million to create the first 20 MDP programs at universities worldwide.