Master in Development Practice

Main orientations and specific features | Career opportunities | Programmes | Faculty

One-year PSIA MDP for Experienced Development Practitioners.

Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) underscores the need for a cadre of generalist professionals trained across the fields of global health, economics, governance, and environmental sciences. 

The ability to work in global networks and local teams across many professions and cultures is essential, since the skills and knowledge required for success range far beyond a single discipline or profession.

-Jeffrey Sachs, World-Renowned Economist

Directed towards professionals with substantial work experience (at least five years’ of full-time, non-internship, work), the program endows students with the substantive knowledge required to analyze and address cross-sector challenges to development, such as malnutrition, absolute poverty, energy regulation, climate change and infectious disease control.

 The Master in Development Practice is given in collaboration with the Agence française de développement.


General Objectives

The Master in Development Practice (MDP) has been described as “the development practitioner’s executive MBA,” according to the International Commission of Education for Sustainable Development Practice, providing a top-notch academic experience during the course of one year.  Integrating the core disciplines of health sciences, natural sciences and social sciences, the Master in Development Practice (MDP) is an innovative, cross-disciplinary graduate degree program supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

The PSIA MDP one-year program is structured according to the guidelines formulated by the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, while at the same time, offers the dynamic pedagogical process that is the hallmark of the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), enabling students to customize their curriculum, reflecting their own specific learning and professional objectives related to development practice. PSIA MDP students have access to over 150 courses per year, within the context of the Master in Advanced Global Studies.

While at PSIA, all students acquire interdisciplinary knowledge and practical skills and work in cross-cultural teams transnationally within their diverse cohort and through the MDP Global Network. The program’s intersectoral approach enables graduates to work across various sectors to design and manage integrated development interventions, and to implement appropriate policies to support sustainable development. Students have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative seminar with the French Development Agency or to attend an international development forum as part of a professional simulation.

Laurence Tubiana is the Scientific Advisor of the PSIA Master Development Practice.  She is also the founder and director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in Paris as well as the President of the Board of Directors of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Laurence Tubiana follows and participates in the international negotiations on climate change, in which IDDRI is highly involved. She is also professor and director of the Sustainable Development Center at Sciences Po Paris, and recently set up the new direction of Global Publics Goods of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. Laurence Tubiana is member of several scientific boards of main research institutions such as the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the India Council for Sustainable Development and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. From 1997 to 2002, she served as senior advisor to the Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, on environmental issues and conducted a number of international negotiations on this subject.


Main orientations and specific features

PSIA MDP students, on average, have 5 to 7 years of professional experience before entering the one-year program (in development or in another field).  More junior candidates are invited to apply for our two-year Master of International Development. 

MDP students include sector-based practitioners, policy administrators, private-sector professionals, and educators, with the shared objective of broadening their knowledge base to understand complex interactions between sectors of development practice.

MDP students participate in the Global MDP Network of 24 universities around the world, engage with guest lecturers from various development organizations through the PSIA’s speaker series, and interact with other MDP students through collaborative virtual learning in the Global Classroom course. The one-year MDP includes a one-week Bootcamp in August, two full semesters, a short course in January, and two months of academic work in the summer.  At the end of the one-year academic component, students return to full-time work or pursue a newly-acquired area of expertise should they be in exploring another sector of sustainable development practice.  

Acquiring interdisciplinary knowledge and practical skills enables graduates to work across various sectors to design and manage integrated development interventions and to implement appropriate policies and draw from specialist expertise to support sustainable development.

One of the great assets of PSIA’s MDP program is the exceptional quality of its students.  They bring a wealth of knowledge that reflects the strength of their diversity not only in culture and origins but in real-life development experiences.  It is always more than a pleasure to interact with them.

-          Charles Oman, PSIA MDP Faculty and Former Director of Research, OECD Development Center

Please visit the MDP Global Association, which includes all programs offering a Master's in Development Practice (MDP), situated at universities around the world, and a broad range of MDP collaborating organizations.


Career opportunities

The one-year MDP Program at PSIA is designed to provide the necessary knowledge and skills for development practitioners, policy professionals at the local and national level, private sector professionals, and high-level project managers. The one-year PSIA MDP program is directed towards young professionals with previous substantial work experience who want to acquire new competences and skills and to become  part of a new generation of generalist practitioners prepared to confront complex sustainable development challenges and able to innovate, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.



Tuition Fees and MDP Scholarship Opportunities

Tuition fees for the MDP are 21,000 euros, for the entire one-year course of study (including the one-week August bootcamp, two full academic semesters, a January intersession, and the summer session).  The same fees apply for both EU and non-EU residents.

On a competitive basis, a limited number of scholarships are awarded each year to MDP (Master in Development Practice) candidates (who are not eligible for the Emile Boutmy scholarship). These scholarships are awarded on the basis of need as well as merit. They range from partial to full tuition remission, and are valid for study at Sciences Po upon sufficient academic performance (top 50% of class). Should students not maintain these academic standards, their scholarship may be revoked. MDP scholarships do not cover living expenses, books, or field training.

Other MDP funding opportunities include the AFD scholarship and the Joint Japan/World Bank scholarship.


Scientific Advisor: Laurence Tubiana

Academic Advisor: Kate Vivian