The SDG Academy welcomes the consortium of Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programs

The SDG Academy is delighted to announce the integration of the Association of the Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programs into the SDG Academy portfolio as of July 2019. We are especially pleased to welcome Lucia Rodriguez, who serves as the Director of the Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) project, as the newest member of the SDG Academy team at SDSN’s New York office.

The MDP is a two-year, graduate-level program designed to train aspiring practitioners to understand, design, and manage integrated approaches to sustainable development challenges. The rigorous academic curriculum spans four disciplines: health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, and management. It also fosters the acquisition of critical knowledge, skills, and behavioral attributes needed to work successfully in developing or developed societies. At the core of the curriculum is a field practicum component, lasting two to three months, in which students learn through hands-on participation on development projects and contribute solutions to real-world problems.

Today, there are 37 MDP programs (and expanding) in 26 countries around the world. Most courses are face-to-face, but some Association members incorporate some form of “blended learning,” a combination of online and face-to-face interaction. The curriculum can offer a variety of courses. Hundreds of students are currently enrolled in MDP programs, including a large number from Asian, South American, and Sub-Saharan African countries. Students come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds; represent multiple cultures, languages, and ethnicities; and have technical skills and interests that run the gamut of development issues. The overall mean student age is just over 25 years. Women outnumber men, representing two-thirds of the student body in some MDP programs. There are thousands of MDP alumni around the world working in multilateral organizations, government ministries and non-profit organizations, among other things.

The MDP is the only program of its kind—global, interdisciplinary, and collaborative, MDP trains professionals in the field of sustainable development. Students include generalist development practitioners, experts in a particular domain of sustainable development, policy administrators, private sector professionals, educators and professionals from the public sector. Upon graduating from the MDP program, many return to work in these professions.

Dr. Lucia Rodriguez works with the members of the Global Association of MDP programs to manage, scale up, and secure the financial sustainability of the global network of MDP programs. At her new home within the SDG Academy, Lucia looks forward to opportunities to engage with SDSN members and expand the reach of the program by creating new ones. Pedagogical innovations promise accessibility of this program to future MDP cohorts. A broad canvas of learning priorities as demonstrated through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030 presents new fields of study for MDP programs; and fresh partnerships within and outside of the SDSN network beckon.

SDG Academy is excited at the new possibilities that the MDP brings to our goal of furthering education for sustainable development; and in our shared mission of supporting academic institutions around the world to build excellent programs of development practice. We look forward to deepening this relationship, and in supporting the MDP to meet the challenges of sustainable development that our current times present.

If you are an SDSN member university and want to join the MDP program, or simply learn more, please visit or contact Lucia at

Partner MDP Institutions (as of July 2019)


University of Botswana, Botswana

Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal

University of Ibadan, Nigeria

University of Pretoria, South Africa

East Asia

National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan

Tsinghua University, China

KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Republic of Korea


Sciences Po – Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), France

Lund University, Sweden

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

University College Dublin, Ireland

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

ETH-Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto, Portugal

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Latin America

CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza), Costa Rica

Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia

Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Middle East

Hebrew University of Jerusalem AND Jerusalem Institute’s Milken Innovation Center, Israel

North America

Columbia University, USA

Emory University, USA

Harvard University, USA

Regis University, USA

University of Arizona, USA

University of California, Berkeley, USA

University of Florida, USA

University of Minnesota, USA

University of Waterloo, Canada

University of Winnipeg, Canada

South Asia/Central Asia/Oceania

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University, Bangladesh

James Cook University, Australia

TERI University, India

Universiti Sains Malaysia (Penang), Malaysia

University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakhstan

Monash University, Australia

Sunway University, Malaysia