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Development Practice (MDP) 
Program Description

The Master's in Development Practice (MDP) program brings together talented students and faculty who have dedicated themselves to reducing the impacts of global poverty and defining the pathways to enhance well-being for the under-resourced and socially excluded. The UA MDP provides a comprehensive foundation and practical experience to produce professional and well-trained graduates who understand the complexities of poverty.

Consistent with the philosophy of the MDP network, the Arizona curriculum consists of four cornerstone competency areas:

  • Public health
  • Management
  • Social sciences
  • Natural sciences

It adds integrating skill courses and three possible elective certificate tracks that offer students an area of specialization. It provides a broad foundation of international development and, at the same time,allows students to specialize in various sectors such as:

  • Collaborative Governance
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Public Health
  • Collaborative Governance
  • Immigration/Refugee issues 
  • Development Entrepreneurship

This approach of foundational knowledge and applied practice ensures that graduates are ready to make meaningful contributions in the field of development practice.

For further questions about admissions, please contact

Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Anthropology -

School of Geography and Development -

Graduate students in the School of Geography and Development (SGD) benefit from the broad range of faculty expertise and strong links to interdisciplinary research centers across campus. Our work spans the discipline, from physical geography (climate science, dendrochronology, remote sensing, spatial science), to human-environment (political ecology, water policy, climate change) to human geography (development, state theory). Our shared commitment to collaboration and community makes for a lively and engaged department.

SGD offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, two professional master’s degrees, and participates in several graduate certificate programs

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Elizabeth S Cordova
Graduate Program Coordinator
Elizabeth S Cordova
Director of Graduate Studies
Katherine Ann Snyder
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Personal statement
2 Letters of Recommendation required, 3 preferred
Academic transcript(s)



Standardized Tests

Acceptable English Proficiency tests are: 

Financial Aid



Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Admission decisions for fall semester 2019 are made on a rolling basis until the start of classes in mid-August 2019.

International Applicants:

  • For fall admission, all applications must be received by May 15.
International Conditional Admission
International applicants may be considered for conditional admission to this program at the department's discretion.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Over the course of 22 months students complete 48 credits of development-focused coursework, including a combination of core, elective, and integrative work.

Students begin by taking required core courses and other introductory activities with their cohort the first year.

During the summer between their two years of study, MDP students complete an intensive hands-on Practicum in their field of concentration and at a destination chosen in consultation with MDP faculty.

The Practicum acts as the pivot within the MDP program. Students apply knowledge and skills gained during the first year of study to their Practicum.  Then they return with new insights for the second year to distil the findings from their summer projects, to complete more specialized coursework, and to apply their experiences to the pursuit of new careers in development practice.


Overview of Courses

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to development practice, students must take a combination of required core courses, including the following:

Social Sciences:
DVP 601: Principles of Social Science for Development
DVP 602: The Role of Culture in Sustainable Development
Other electives of your choice (which for many students will be in economics)

Natural Sciences
DVP 620: Introduction to Natural Systems
DVP 621: Natural Resources Management: Applications 
Other electives of your choice

Health Sciences
An elective of your choice
A recommended course is HPS 533: Global Health

Development Management
DVP 630: Essential Management Principles for Development
Other electives of your choice
A recommended course is PA 582: Managing to Collaborate on Environmental and Natural Resource Conflicts

Additionally, students are required to take integrative coursework, which includes the following: 

DVP 600: Foundations of Development/ Boot Camp
DVP 640: Methods in Development Practice
DVP 642A: Cross-cohort professional development seminar
DVP 694A: Summer Field Practicum
DVP 909: MDP Culmination Project

Along with integrative course work and courses in the Core curriculum, students may take further elective courses in their chosen areas of specialization.  Students may consult this suggested list of electives or discuss other course options with their advisors. 

Before enrollment: It is highly recommended that all MDP students have completed at least some coursework in statistics before starting their first semester, and also take an additional statistical analysis course related to their particular area of focus.

Minor Requirements
The Academic Unit has not provided this information. 
Student Handbook  
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Last revised 11 Apr 2019