The International Development concentration in the Master of Public Affairs is designed to provide students with a policy-focused understanding of international development, and will introduce students to topics such as economic programming and planning, political economy, conflict and post-conflict recovery, sustainable development, international organizations, governance and business activities.
Curriculum for the International Development Concentration
Like all students in the Master of Public Affairs program, students in the International Development concentration begin building their skills in the 18-hour MPA core. The core courses are:
- Public Management (V502)
- Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making (V506)
- Public Management Economics (V517)
- Law and Public Affairs (V540)
- Public Finance and Budgeting (V560)
- Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs (V600)
The International Development concentration builds on this foundation with three required courses. The first of these courses — Introduction to Comparative and International Affairs (V578) — surveys the broad range and variety of concerns in political economy, trade, conflict, and the environment.
A second course, Economic Development, Globalization, and Entrepreneurship (V669) - examines the forces of globalization and economic integration as they impact local- and regional-scale actors and institutions.
A third (and new) course, Development Economics (V573) - aims to give a firm understanding about developing economies and their pressing issues.
Students also choose three electives for a total of 9 credit hours, where at least one course is from List A (Methods) and the others may come from List B (Other electives):
List A (Methods)
- Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs (V507)
- Benefit-Cost Analysis of Public and Environmental Policies (V541)
- Public Program Evaluation (V562)
- Vector-based Geographic Information Systems (E518)
- A graduate level area studies or language studies courses
List B (Other electives)
- Public Organizations (V504)
- Government Regulation in Market Economies (V510)
- NGO Management in Comparative Perspective (V534)
- International Environmental Policy (E535)
- Principles and Practices of Social Entrepreneurship (V559)
- Comparative Public Managment and Administration (V575)
- Approaches to Development (V576)
- International Economic Strategies and Trade Policy (V577)
- Global Health Issues and Management (V592)
- Sustainable Development (V596)
- Conflict and Development, new course (V583)
- Tax Policy in Developing Countries, new course (V584)
- Public Program Managment and Contracting (V654)
New International Development courses and their descriptions are listed below:
Conflict and Development (3 credits; Instructor: Desai)
Course description: This course will examine policies at the intersection of economic systems and political stability. The first half of the course will focus on the origins and political economy drivers of conflict, and changes in the trending of conflict in the post-colonial and post-Cold War world. We will in particular study how postconflict development policy has changed since its formulations as post-world war and post-cold war response, and the challenges for modern conflicts. In this first section of the course, we will examine conflict as both cause and result of economic development conditions. We will in particular seek to understand why so many poor countries are also weak, fragile or conflict states. The second half of the course will focus on public policy choices and programming undertaken before, during and after conflict. The course will focus on the role of various stakeholders, theories from multiple perspectives (mainly from economics, political science and sociology), and the framing, development, implementation and evaluation of policy responses.
Tax Policy in Developing Economies (3 credits; Instructor: Duncan)
Course description: This course will introduce students to challenges for developing countries as they seek to administer their tax systems and some of the policies that have been used to mitigate these problems. The course will start with an overview of various tax instruments and their main properties; efficiency, equity, revenue adequacy etc. We will look at the extent to which each has been applied in developing countries. Emphasis will be placed on identifying which are popular in developing countries and why. For example, consumption taxes are favored over income taxes because consumption is relatively easier to measure if there is a large underground economy. This section of the course will also highlight how the mix of taxes has changed over time. The final section of the course will cover tax administration issues such as auditing, information technology, organizational structure of revenue bodies, among others. Students will learn the importance of tax administration for effective functioning of any tax system. The last sections of the course will cover policy solutions in developing countries to address the highlighted problems. The course will also rely on examples from developed countries to highlight the nature of the problems in developing countries and to set the stage for discussions of possible policy solutions.
Development Economics (3 credits; Instructor: Tran)
Course description: This course aims to give you a firm understanding about developing economies and their pressing issues. It has three parts. Part I provides a global perspective of economic development and introduces a conceptual framework to analyze it. This includes both theories of economic development as well as empirical methods. Part II goes deeper into critical domestic issues such as poverty, inequality, population growth and control, healthcare, education, human capital, agriculture, urbanization and rural-urban migration, economic geography, environment, role of the market, institutions, corruption, transparency and governance. Part III extends the discussion to international and macro issues such as trade, foreign investment, foreign aid, debts, balance of payments, finance and fiscal policy. Upon the completion of this course, you should be able to discuss, analyze and work on topics relevant to developing economies.
Dual concentrations with International Development and other concentrations offered by SPEA—such as Economic Development or Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management—offer unique advantages for those wanting to make a difference in particular areas of public affairs. Our faculty work to accommodate these specialized professional interests in the design of student programs.