MDP Summer Field Practicum

A core element of the Arizona MDP program is its summer field practicum. The purpose of the field practicum is to create a structured opportunity for field-tested learning on a closely mentored, individual basis. The effective practicum experience engages the student in an on-going specific development practice activity; utilizes cross-disciplinary skills; provides a concrete methodological experience; involves collaboration and field interaction with local colleagues; and has a specific, measurable learning outcome. There are several pathways to this goal in the UA program. Please note: The summer practicum consists of 2 credits that must be completed during the summer months.

Student Testimonials:


"For my summer practicum I spent nine weeks in Myanmar working on monitoring and evaluation of Farmer-to-Farmer programs conducted by Winrock International. It was a great experience to see extension agents from the United States donating their time to work with small-scale fishery managers, coffee growers, and organic farmers in both urban and rural areas. I am still volunteering part-time with Winrock during my second year of the MDP."

- Chantel Welch, MDP student

TANGO International: 

One pathway for the practicum is through the public/private partnership between UA and TANGO International, an internationally renown, Tucson-based development firm which provides technical assistance to NGOs and other development donors and agencies.

TANGO International works in over three dozen countries and is continuously engaged in a range of field activities, such as livelihood and vulnerability assessments; monitoring and evaluation baselines and end-of-project surveys (quantitative and qualitative); development project designs (eg, Multiyear Operational Plans); and program/project evaluations (eg, school feeding impact evaluations). Arizona MDP students will be trained over the course of the first year in the skills needed for these types of projects. Practicum students are integrated on actual assessment/evaluation/design teams and given a specific set of responsibilities, including data analysis and write-up tasks. The practicum will be supervised by both TANGO staff and UA faculty who have worked with TANGO. 

Just Hope

The UA MDP has signed an agreement with the Nicaraguan NGO Just Hope.  One to two students a year can do their practicum in Nicaragua on a health, education, enterprise or agriculture project.  Just Hope is looking for students to conduct M&E assessments, project design, and assist with collaborative projects with other local NGOs.

Individualized Program

The most common practicum pathway that students choose is to set up their own practicum. For example, students have worked on monitoring and evaluations projects in Myanmar, on a gender equality project in Zambia, on implementation of children’s deworming project in the Dominican Republic, and with Central American migrants in Mexico.

Students can use their existing contacts to create a practicum that fits their needs and career goals. In addition, the faculty of the MDP program have numerous connections around the world and we can work with students who have a desire to go to a particular location or work on a particular issue. 

For practicum guidelines and resources, please visit our Resources Page