The Master in Development Practice (MDP) is a world-leading and uniquely innovative program that blends science and social science to further international development. It is part of a global network with a Secretariat at the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network with offices at Columbia University in New York (and was the only program to receive seed funding in Europe in the first round). In the program, students are exposed to leading-edge scientific and social science techniques and researchers in order to develop international development solutions. The MDP is part of the only global educational network of its kind, involving more than 30 universities across all continents. Students receive leading-edge transdisciplinary training in four “pillars”- health, natural, social, management sciences.
The MDP is led by the Trinity College Dublin (TCD) School of Natural Science in collaboration with leading scientific researchers and national and international organizations with specialist skills. The goal is to produce rounded development practitioners with a deep understanding of scientific methods and techniques to reduce global poverty, in addition to extensive on-the-ground training in developing country contexts and/or international organizations.
The MDP has innovative elements that distinguish it from other M.Sc. programs in Ireland as it utilizes a modular structure to develop student capabilities to understand theories, practices, and languages of different specialties. Students develop deep analytical and practical skills across the four core pillars of the program.
Specialist skills are formed across a range of areas, including research design and methods (with training in cutting edge scientific quantitative, qualitative, and digital tools and techniques, sustainable agriculture and land use; development economics; health; gender; climate change and climate justice; civil engineering for sustainable development; impact measurement; globalization and African development and smart cities and sustainable urbanism. Students also produce a dissertation drawing upon research conducted during fieldwork. These have attracted attention from policy-makers, such as the Minister of Education in Rwanda, and are sometimes revised for publication in international journals.
It combines a range of teaching and learning approaches both in the seminar room and in the field. Students engage in a minimum of twelve classroom-based modules and a work-based or research placement to gain hands-on practical experience during the program. In this, they are encouraged to spend up to three months completing cross-disciplinary fieldwork in a developing location. To date, students have undertaken fieldwork in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Brazil., Malawi, India, USA, Vietnam, and Madagascar.
Placements have included those with UN Women, World Health Organization, Food, and Agriculture Organization of the UN, OECD, World Bank, UNESCAP, and a multitude of other international organizations.
Students also have the opportunity to collaborate in a global community through their participation in the Global Classroom, a web-based capability managed by the Global Association, to bring students and world-leading development experts together to engage in collective classes and educational innovation.
Students also engage with leading experts, practitioners, and academics both in the classroom and in the field. The MDP is delivered by TCD in collaboration with a wide number of national and international organizations with specialist skills in development practice.
The Admissions Committee strongly recommends early applications, especially from international students, as we review applications on a continuous basis.