Development Practice

Columbia University

21 months
57476 USD/year
57476 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The 21-month MPA in Development Practice offered by Columbia University is a practice-oriented, professional advancement degree where you will acquire the knowledge, and build the skills, experience, and networks, to make the world a better place.


Our objective is to empower and support you through a combination of core and elective courses, skills development, and real-world practice. We support diverse, work-experience opportunities during the Development Practice program offered by Columbia University, including a 3-month professional placement, a client-oriented, team capstone project, and internships. Upon graduation, you will be ready to apply these competencies with leading organizations in the public, non-profit, and private sectors or create your own enterprise, as many of our students have done.

Who It's For

Are you motivated to act in the face of persistent social inequality, unsustainable environmental practices, conflict and poor governance, and widespread poverty? Are you committed to sustainability and resiliency as essential — not just desirable — attributes of a better society? Are you frustrated by the difficulty of putting good ideas into practice and of taking effective practices to scale? Are you seeking a practice-orientated, interdisciplinary, education experience that will enable you to reach your full potential as an agent of change? If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, the MPA-DP is very likely the right program for you.

Career Paths

“Business as usual” graduate programs in development prepare you for traditional careers in traditional development institutions. But the “development ecosystem” is rightly becoming more complex and increasingly inclusive of all countries and societies. While our graduates are regularly finding their way into the United Nations, the multilateral development banks, aid agencies, NGOs, and development consultancy firms, the door is opening in non-traditional areas. Big name management firms like McKinsey and Deloitte have lately been recruiting our graduates. State and local authorities in the United States have hired MPA-DPs to tackle urban development challenges. Other graduates have joined tech start-ups and impact investing firms, or have created their own social enterprises. Several of our alumni are currently enrolled in PhD programs. Career paths for development practitioners will continue to evolve and diversify. And we will support you towards the path that best meets your professional and personal goals.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Agriculture
  • Food Security, and Nutrition
  • Disaster, Emergencies, and Crisis Management
  • Gender, Human Rights, and Social Inclusion

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 21 months

Start dates & application deadlines




30 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

GRE admission requirements GRE® The GRE® General Test is a widely administered admissions test that measures the skills needed in today's graduate and business school programs worldwide. It contains three sections - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. Three scores are reported: a Verbal Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, a Quantitative Reasoning score on a 130 - 170 score scale in one-point increments, and an Analytical Writing score on a 0 - 6 score scale in half-point increments.
GMAT admission requirements GMAT The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a test intended to assess certain analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to a graduate management program, such as an MBA. GMAT contains 4 sections - Analytical Writing Assessment, Integrated Reasoning, Quantitative and Verbal. The score has a range from 200 - 800.

English requirements

TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at designated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).

Other requirements

General requirements

  • Essay questions (Personal Statement, Short Essay, and/or Optional Essay)
  • Video Essay
  • Professional Resume/CV
  • Quantitative & Language Resume/CV
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Academic Transcripts
  • $95.00 USD non-refundable Application Fee

Tuition Fee

  • International

    57476 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 28738 USD per semester and a duration of 21 months.
  • National

    57476 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 28738 USD per semester and a duration of 21 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Fresh content

Updated in the last 9 months

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

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Development Practice
Columbia University