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international development class

Collaborate across disciplines and social groups to develop solutions to the make-or-break challenges facing today’s world.

Climate change. Health equity. Gender identity. Economic inequality. Forced migration. In this landmark graduate program, you will investigate the pivotal forces that are shaping the contemporary human experience. Distinguished by a transdisciplinary approach, the M.A. in International Development brings together leading researchers, practitioners, and educators from a broad range of fields to develop collaborative responses to the most pressing issues facing humankind.

A distinguished master’s program in Clark University’s renowned International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department, the graduate degree in international development focuses on critical analysis and hands-on practice, giving you the tools and confidence to put your skills to work in the field. You will assess the real-world impact of grassroots initiatives, social movements, government policies, technological innovation, and education. And you will reach a deeper understanding of the major forces shaping societies.

Make a difference. Join our community of scholars and practitioners dedicated to driving productive solutions to issues of social justice, economic well-being, and sustainable development.

Why a Master’s in International Development at Clark University

  • Accelerated degree options – earn a master’s degree in 12 to 15 months. Two other degree tracks are available to earn your degree in 12 to 24 months.
  • Gain a competitive professional edge in a department ranked #15 in the world for development studies (QS World University Rankings).
  • Build deep knowledge through rigorous academics and authentic on-the-ground experiences.
  • Engage in one of nine departmental concentrations, taking classes with students across IDCE’s degree programs, to tackle significant global challenges on projects that cross geographic and cultural boundaries. Learn to work across teams with diverse intellectual and personal backgrounds to become a change maker.
  • Work closely with professors who are influential scholar-practitioners with decades of field experience and extensive networks.
  • Solve problems collaboratively in disadvantaged communities located in rural areas, small towns, and major cities across the globe.
  • Pursue your master’s degree on your terms with options for part-time and full-time study. Start dates for the program are in Spring and Fall.
Benjamin Gowdy-Chase

The people in International/Community Development are amazing. IDCE has taught me how to unravel the complexities within Development, and how to measure and manage socially oriented projects.

Benjamin Gowdy-Chase M.A. ’22 – International Development

Foreign Service Officer

U.S. State Department

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From Afghanistan to Clark University, Qudratullah is Thankful for the Fulbright Program

Qudratullah Jahid, a master’s in international development and social change student, gets to focus his concentration on current issues that match market demand and impact the world. Working alongside his fellow international peers in IDCE, he feels at home and supported by the IDCE community.

I like the fact that we get concentrations that match the market demand and the current issues that the world is facing.

The Essentials

Program Overview

The M.A. in International Development pairs a foundational academic core – consisting of theory and skill-building courses focused on research methods, project management, and economic development – with the opportunity to apply your learning toward a specialized area of interest through compelling elective courses and research. You can choose to pursue one of the nine transdisciplinary concentrations, including global and community health, youth development, climate change impact, and geographic information science, or create your own.

You have the flexibility to complete your degree at your own pace — either as a full-time or part-time student, beginning in January or September.

Three separate degree tracks provide students with options for completion of an advanced degree.

  • 10 Unit Degree Option – 12 to 15 months –- 10-unit curriculum consisting of three units of core courses, two units of methods and skills courses, four units of concentration courses, and one completion unit.
  • Prior Experience/Service Option – 12 months –- This option gives academic credit for prior professional work or service experience which would allow qualified students to complete an IDCE degree in eight units, which could take nine to 12 months. This pathway lets those students focus on building the skills they need to advance their careers and to maximize their impact in the world.
  • Research Track Option – 20 to 24 months — IDCE recognizes that a traditional, two-year residential master’s degree remains attractive to those students interested in conducting independent research as preparation for further graduate study. A research degree track will require 12 units for completion. Under this track, students will complete nine units of work across their first three terms (12 to 15 months). This option differs from the 10-unit Degree Option in that students are required to take a third method or skills course and engage in two units of substantial research in their final term.

Our program in International Development is designed to facilitate transdisciplinary collaboration with other programs and academic specialties within the IDCE department and across other graduate programs at Clark. We take a problem-based approach rather than a conventional solution-based approach, identifying pressing social or environmental challenges and bringing together a diverse team of researchers and practitioners with the collective expertise to effectively address them. The challenges we work to address exist across domestic and international contexts and social and environmental arenas, including topics such as climate change policy, educational policy and advocacy, conservation and development, and human migration.

As a result, the projects our students and faculty undertake don’t fit comfortably within a single disciplinary silo. Some of the provocative questions we pursue include:

  • How can we build resilience for populations experiencing economic, environmental, and political stressors?
  • How can we develop climate-smart agricultural efforts that speak to the needs and desires of farmers?
  • How can we implement intersectional framings of identity in the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of development projects?
  • How can we create robust self-sustaining programs that help women drive gender-transformative change at the grassroots level?
  • How can we empower youth to lead meaningful efforts to address the issues that affect them the most directly?
  • The ability to address complex societal challenges on every level – from a single village to the global policy arena
  • Knowledge of how to build a healthy community while managing resources sustainably and responsibly
  • Skills related to problem-solving, evaluation and analysis, logic, communication, organization, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning
  • Experience drafting policy analyses and grant proposals
  • An understanding of how to effectively partner with local community organizations and nonprofit organizations in order to efficiently effect meaningful change
  • Nongovernment Organizations: Catalysts for Development
  • Strategies for Community Organizing
  • Displacement and Development in the Contemporary World
  • Trafficking: Globalization and Its Illicit Commodities
  • Applied Ecology
  • Utopian Visions, Urban Realities: Planning Cities for the 21st Century


10 course units

  • 3 core courses
  • 4 electives from one of IDCE’s 9 concentrations
  • 2 skills or methods courses
  • 1 completion unit

Course Catalog

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