What will I learn?

The 21-month MPA in Development Practice is a practice-oriented, professional advancement degree where you will acquire the knowledge, and build the skills, experience, and networks, to make the world a better place. Our objective is to empower and support you through a combination of core and elective courses, skills development, and real-world practice. We support diverse, work-experience opportunities during the program, including a 3-month professional placement, a client-oriented, team capstone project, and internships. Upon graduation, you will be ready to apply these competencies with leading organizations in the public, non-profit, and private sectors or create your own enterprise, as many of our students have done.

Career Paths

“Business as usual” graduate programs in development prepare you for traditional careers in traditional development institutions. But the “development ecosystem” is rightly becoming more complex and increasingly inclusive of all countries and societies. While our graduates are regularly finding their way into the United Nations, the multilateral development banks, aid agencies, NGOs, and development consultancy firms, the door is opening in non-traditional areas. Big name management firms like McKinsey and Deloitte have lately been recruiting our graduates. State and local authorities in the United States have hired MPA-DPs to tackle urban development challenges. Other graduates have joined tech start-ups and impact investing firms, or have created their own social enterprises. Several of our alumni are currently enrolled in PhD programs. Career paths for development practitioners will continue to evolve and diversify. And we will support you towards the path that best meets your professional and personal goals.


Your academics will cover a wide range of disciplines and sectors, including core courses sustainable development, economics, statistics, global food systems, and more. In addition, you will also choose to focus your degree in a particular area, such as Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition; Disaster, Emergencies, and Crisis Management; or Gender, Human Rights, and Social Inclusion, to name a few.

Your coursework will also be supplemented by a three-month summer field placement with established partner organizations around the world, providing you with practical work experience in sustainable development practice and a holistic learning experience.

Which department am I in?

School of International and Public Affairs

Study options

Full Time (21 months)

Tuition fees
US$57,476.00 per year
Start date

Expected January, September 2022


Columbia University

116th Street, 2960 Broadway,

New York,

10027, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Other English Language Requirements:  The minimum TOEFL score expected is 600 (written) or 250 (computer version).

For international students

Applicant must have passion for Domestic and/or International Development and minimum of 2 years work experience (preferably).

English Language Requirement

Applicant must have minimum TOEFL score of 600 on paper-based, 250 on computer-based, minimum IELTS score of 7.0 and minimum PTE score of 68

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.