Development Management A Professional Degree

As the School of International Service’s only master of science degree, the MS in Development Management boasts a distinctive approach to management that allows graduates to go on to careers in responsible tourism, consulting, programming for NGOs, and more. Above all, MSDM graduates improve the lives of others by managing and facilitating change.

The MSDM combines professional training experience with development skills such as policy analysis, program design, gender analysis, social assessment, cost-benefit analysis, microfinance, monitoring and evaluation, rapid appraisal techniques, conflict resolution, and information technology. To complete the program, students select a concentration of their choice that deepens their management skills. They also carry out a Management Practicum to consolidate their project management skills.

Degree Options

The Master of Science in Development Management prepares students for development careers through core curriculum, a Management Practicum, and other opportunities.

The MSDM provides an effective, challenging, current, applied, and relevant curriculum. First and foremost, it seeks to provide students with current professional skills that relate to development management as it is practiced today. The MSDM is an integral part of the School of International Service’s International Development Program, which has prepared students for development careers for more than 40 years.

Students in the MSDM will complete 15 to 18 credits of core classes that focus on international development, economic theories, and management, in addition to either an administrative or management course of their choice from Kogod School of Business or the School of Public Affairs. Each student will work with their academic adviser to create a 12-credit concentration of their choice. Within those 12 credits, students are encouraged to incorporate Skills Institutes (up to six institutes at 1 credit each) and to seek out applied courses on program evaluation, microfinance, social enterprise, NGO management, organizational development, accounting, etc. Additionally, students will complete 6 credits of research and professional methods and a 6-credit Management Practicum designed to provide hands-on management experience in a real-world setting.


MSDM students expand and deepen their management skills through tailored professional concentrations. Graduate study in MSDM is anchored in a required core curriculum and offers students the opportunity to custom-design a concentration to fit their interests. The following are examples of possible concentrations students may design.

  • SIS 635 Population, Migration, and Development
  • SIS 635 Community Development
  • SIS 635 Rural Development
  • SIS 635 Urban Development
  • SIS 635 Children and Youth in International Development
  • SIS 635/PUAD-614 Development Management
  • SIS 648 Women and Development
  • SIS 649 Environment and Development
  • EDU 642 Training Program Design
  • EDU 649 Non-formal Education and Development
  • ANTH 543 Anthropology of Development 
  • SIS 517 Gender and Conflict 
  • SIS 542 Human and Global Security
  • SIS 619 Migration and Security
  • SIS 635 Development Policies 
  • SIS 635 Children and Youth in International Development 
  • SIS 635 Globalization, Human Trafficking, and Development
  • SIS 642 Intercultural Relations 
  • SIS 648 Women and Development
  • SIS 675 Race in International Relations
  • SOCY 635 Social Inequalities and Social Justice
  • SIS 536 Complex Emergencies
  • SIS 628 Health Research
  • SIS 635 Development Policies
  • SIS 635 Health in Developing Countries
  • SIS 635 Children and Youth in International Development
  • SIS 648 Women and Development
  • EDU 649 Non-formal Education and Development
  • HFIT 575 Global Health
  • SIS 635 Leading Social Innovation
  • SIS 635 Social Enterprise Context/Practices 
  • SIS 635 NGO/Social Enterprise Management 
  • SIS 635 NGO-Private Sector Engagement 
  • PUAD 615 Public/Private Partnerships 
  • MGMT 660 Entrepreneurship and Innovation 
  • MGMT 661 New Venture Business Planning 
  • MGMT 666 Strategic Alliances/Mergers and Acquisitions
  • SIS 516 Peacebuilding in Divided Societies 
  • SIS 517 Applied Conflict Resolution 
  • SIS 536 Complex Emergencies 
  • SIS 540 Conflict and Development 
  • SIS 603 Peacebuilding and Development Institute 
  • SIS 606 Culture, PCR: Alternatives to Violence 
  • SIS 609 Conflict Analysis and Resolution
  • SIS 610 Theories of Conflict and War 
  • SIS 619 NGOs and Conflict Resolution 
  • SIS 619 Human Rights and Conflict
  • ECON 634 Development Finance and Banking
  • IBUS 649 Global Supply Chain Management
  • SIS 587 Globalization and Global Governance
  • SIS 589 Global Political Economy
  • SIS 635 Social Accountability
  • SIS 635 Social Mission Businesses
  • SIS 635 NGO Private Sector Engagement 
  • SIS 644 Communication and Social and Economic Development
  • SIS 645 Social Enterprise Context/Best Practices 
  • SIS 648 Women and Development 
  • SIS 649 Environment and Development 
  • SIS 650 Global Economic and Sustainable Development
  • ECON 665 Project Evaluation in Developing Countries
  • MGMT 609 Management of Organizations and Human Capital 
  • PUAD 617 Project Management
  • SIS 635 Social Accountability 
  • SIS 635 Development Management 
  • SIS 635 Urban Development
  • SIS 619 Big Data
  • SIS 750 Program Evaluation

Experiential Learning

Students are encouraged to take Skills Institutes and required to participate in the Graduate Practicum Program, both of which provide extensive real world skills in international development.

A 6-credit individual capstone, Management Practicum is a distinct and required component of the MSDM. The objective of the practicum is to put students in managerial positions that will help organizations or communities accomplish positive, practical, and observable objectives. To the extent that this is feasible, the organization or communities will hold students accountable for achieved results. Students do not need to achieve their objectives in all respects, but rather continue to try work toward them and demonstrate progress to the organization or community. This includes communicating any necessary adaptations to the objectives that students will eventually make. In the process, students will take the viewpoint of a manager, attempting to apply some selected principles of management and carefully observe the process.

The Development Management Practicum has six required components:

  1. Ongoing participation with your colleagues in all Practicum meetings
  2. Eight preparation exercises
  3. Carrying out the assignment
  4. An outcome/product, i.e. the change or the result of the Practicum 
  5. Report and analysis of the process in an Analytical and Process Report
  6. Formal presentation of your findings and experiences to the Development Management cohort

Skills Institutes are intensive workshops designed to introduce students to professional skills relevant to careers in international affairs. Taught by experienced practitioners, these rigorous and experiential workshops allow students to translate theory into practice and gain the competencies sought by today's employers. Over 2-3 full days, students will have the opportunity to focus on tangible skills that are applicable to the communication field.

Application At a Glance

View a detailed admission and degree requirements listing for your degree of interest.

Entrance Semester
Fall and Spring
Application Deadline
January 15 for the fall semester
October 1 for the spring semester
Additional Requirements
Undergraduate degree
Two letters of recommendation
Statement of Purpose
TOEFL/IELTS score if international applicant
Completion of online application