Master's in Development Practice - Discontinued 2024

Master's in

Development Practice

The Master's in Development Practice (MDP) has been discontinued by the School of Geography, Development, and Environment (SGDE) effective May 2024.

For further information about the former program, please see below.

The Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) was a graduate professional degree program offered by the University of Arizona between 2012 and 2024. Approximately 75 students received the MDP degree from the University of Arizona before it was discontinued as part of the evolution of the University’s approach to development studies.

The program was part of the Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programs at more than three dozen universities worldwide. The concept for the MDP degree emerged from a year-long commission led by the Earth Institute at Columbia University in 2007, with support from the MacArthur Foundation. The commission aimed to reimagine sustainable development practice for the challenges of the twenty-first century. By combining the insights of the social, natural, and health sciences with essential management skills, these MDP programs prepare a new generation of development practitioners. 

The Arizona MDP was a two-year, 47-credit program built around four pillars: social sciences, natural resources and the environment, public health, and management skills. During the first year, students took mostly core courses focused on these areas of practice as well as broad overviews of the field of international development focused on such topics as social science research methods and the role of culture in sustainable development. During the second year, students mostly took elective courses in which they refined their individually-selected area of specialization. Most students also were involved in community-engagement projects at the University, in Tucson, or in nearby areas of Southern Arizona and the US-Mexico borderlands.

During the summer between the two years, students engaged in an intensive on-site practicum, either internationally or within the US, in which they gained exposure to the practical challenges of the field of development, cultivated new hands-on skills, and prepared for their post-graduate careers. For example in the 2018-2019 academic year, students carried out their summer practicums in Cambodia, Kenya, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Ethiopia, Haiti, The Bahamas, and Timor Leste, as well as site in southern Arizona and other parts of the United States. Practicums were conducted in association with partners including: TANGO International; International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); Humane Society of America; Maasai Education, Research and Conservation Center (MERC); WorldFish; International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT); Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona;; and the Fort Yuma-Quechan Native American Reservation. 

Graduates of the Arizona MDP went on to careers in a wide variety of fields and with many different federal, state, and local governments and non-governmental organizations. These include Partners in Health, UNHCR, US Department of the Interior, USAID, Catholic Charities, the International Rescue Committee, Habitat for Humanity, Good Shepherd Microfinance, the United Way, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Child Fund International. 

To learn more about MDP Programs at other universities, please visit the website of the MDP Global Association

To learn more about other master’s degrees available at the University of Arizona, please visit the website of The Graduate College. A range of fully-online master's degrees can be found on the website of AZ Online

Some Arizona master's degrees that are related to the MDP are offered by the following UArizona units: 

Please direct any inquiries about applications and admissions to the appropriate program or to The Office of Graduate Admissions.

Alums of the program should contact the UA Registrar directly for official transcripts.