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U of M launches master program in international development

The University of Minnesota has launched a new Master of Development Practice (MDP) degree to train professionals in international development. The interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary degree program spans seven academic units at the University and will be offered as a partnership between the Humphrey School and the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC).

"The overall goal of development is to allow people to live the lives that they want in a sustainable way, free from deprivation and poverty," says the Humphrey School's Ragui Assaad, who serves as director of graduate studies for the new program. "There certainly is need to train more professionals to work in international development, and there is tremendous student interest in this kind of preparation."

"The University of Minnesota is a ground breaker with the development of a rigorous, interdisciplinary, practice-based MDP program. They have moved forward with developing a program that prepares young people with the knowledge and skills they need to address the complex challenges of sustainable development be it poverty, hunger or disease," says Lucia Rodriguez of the Global Master of Development Practice Secretariat, the umbrella organization overseeing all MDP programs and activities worldwide. "University of Minnesota's launch of the MDP program will ensure that more young people are prepared to be the type of leaders who really make a difference in the world."

The new degree will provide training that integrates policy analysis and management, health and education, natural sciences, social sciences, and interdisciplinary research methods. The University's is one of only four such degrees in the nation, including an existing program at Columbia University and planned programs at the University of Florida and Emory University.

"The new MDP capitalizes on ICGC's experience working with scholars and doctoral students on interdisciplinary study and combines that with the professional school ethos of the Humphrey School," says Eric Sheppard, Regents Professor of Geography who serves as associate director of ICGC. "It's an exciting new undertaking."

The academic units participating in the MDP degree are: College of Biological Sciences, College of Education and Human Development, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, and School of Public Health.

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