Masters Degree in International Development: Program Overviews

Get information on master's degree programs in international development. Read on to find out about these programs' prerequisites and coursework as well as career options for graduates.

Essential Information

International development is a field that focuses on the economic, social, and political progress of global cultures. Some master's programs in this field emphasize the cultural aspects of international studies, while others look at practical applications, such as urban planning. Students need a bachelor's degree to gain admission to all of these programs.

Courses vary, depending on the program, but may include urban geography, anthropology, public health and international legal studies. Most master's programs in international development call for a thesis. Students may have the opportunity for international study, and some programs require an internship. Students with master's degrees in international development are primed for careers in business, government, and education.

Master of Arts Degree in International Development

The Master of Arts degree in International Development degree program introduces students to advanced concepts in demographics research, ecology, and social sciences. International development graduate degree programs usually require a thesis combining research in multiple academic disciplines. Most international development programs have study abroad opportunities.

Educational Prerequisites

Admission to a graduate program in international development requires a bachelor's degree. Successful applicants often have an undergraduate degree in a field related to international development. In addition to a personal interview, students must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Program Coursework

Students in international development graduate programs take courses in business, urban planning, and public health. Topics that students can expect to study include:

  • Development theory
  • Education and national development
  • Conservation
  • Urban geography
  • Environmental politics

Popular Career Options

Graduates with master's degree in international development can pursue careers that include:

  • Government official
  • Policy director
  • Researcher
  • Refugee relief organizer

Master of Science Degree in International Development

Students interested in pursuing a Master of Science degree in International Development must study urban planning, public health, and international relations. This program involves research in agriculture, architecture, and economics. A Master of Science degree in international development requires a thesis.

Educational Prerequisites

Like all graduate programs, a Master of Science degree requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Many applicants to international development programs demonstrate proficiency in multiple languages. Professional experience in government, business, or non-profit charity work can make an applicant especially desirable.

Program Coursework

In addition to their research, students earning Master of Science degrees in International Development take courses in the following areas:

  • Anthropology
  • Urban and regional planning
  • Public policy and administration
  • Public health
  • Geography

Popular Career Options

A master's degree in international development prepares students for careers in government, business, and research. Some specific career paths chosen by graduates include:

  • Human rights advocate
  • Proposal writer
  • Community developer
  • Teacher

Master of International Development

Students hoping to earn a Master of International Development degree should demonstrate interest in global cultures, languages, and international relations. This program usually involves an internship program with a government agency, non-profit organization, or multinational corporation. Students are also expected to submit a research thesis reflecting original ideas in international development.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree with courses in political science, economics, or urban planning. Prospective international development graduate students must submit GRE scores. The ability to read, write, and speak in multiple languages is an advantage during the admissions process, as well as during the degree program itself.

Program Coursework

Typical coursework for students earning a Master of International Development degree might include:

  • Policy analysis of development
  • Effects of economic growth
  • East Asian studies
  • Global health policy
  • International legal studies

Employment and Salary Prospects

Earning a master's degree in international development may qualify individuals for careers as political scientists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that available jobs in this field are expected to increase 8% from 2010-2020, which is slower than average. The mean salary for political scientists as of May 2012 was $104,600, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

A doctoral degree in international development can greatly enhance a career in a range of fields. Doctoral candidates are often interested in careers in research and academics. However, a Ph.D. in international development can lead to work overseas in government or with a non-profit organization.

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