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Areas of Focus

MIDP fellows may choose one of seven optional areas of focus to help them target their studies more effectively. Although areas of focus are not listed on transcripts, they are a useful tool for designing a course of study. 


Applied Economics

The Applied Economics area of focus emphasizes the economic policy aspects of development, including issues of international trade and competitiveness; public finance and evaluation of public expenditures; banking and financial sector management; privatization; external debt management; and international capital markets.

Development Management and Governance

The Development Management and Governance area of focus covers a broad area of international development issues, allowing fellows the greatest flexibility to choose classes corresponding to their interests. Fellows may focus on issues such as development project management, entrepreneurship development, nonprofit management, civil society and governance, capacity building, decentralization, media policy, aid coordination, science and technology policy, and regional planning.

Environmental Management and Policy

The Environmental Management and Policy area of focus emphasizes international environmental policy, security, and institutional development including the generation of social capital at the community level. The expertise of the MIDP faculty is complemented by resources from the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment in such areas as natural resource economics, tropical ecology and eco-tourism.

Law and Development

The Law and Development area of focus is concerned with the intersection of formal and informal law (including informal arrangements that actually govern outcomes), with the broad field of development. Topics past fellows have taken an interest in include the law of “doing business,” good governance, rule of law, “the rules of the game,” rights-based approaches to development, J4P (justice for the poor), and legal empowerment. The curriculum is flexible and will be tailored to encompass the development tools and legal frameworks that most complement each fellow’s previous experience and future aspirations.

Peace and Conflict Resolution

The Peace and Conflict Resolution area of focus, offered in association with the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, aims to educate and train future leaders who will promote greater tolerance and cooperation among people. The program focuses on democracy, negotiation and conflict resolution; trans-boundary resource management; the global environment; and the promotion of sustainable development as a basis for world peace.

Social Policy

The Social Policy area of focus draws on social development, safety net, education and health policies as well as on issues of disadvantage, gender, ethnic and economic inequality and social entrepreneurship. 

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This area of focus draws on Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative and its pioneering leadership in policy and social entrepreneurship education. It aims to further enhance fellows’ abilities to explore the I & E ecosystems and complexities, and to develop innovative and entrepreneurial methods to address local to global challenges. Fellows will gain the ability to apply knowledge across disciplines to turn ideas into actions, making a tangible positive impact on society.