As an MIDP fellow, you may choose one of seven optional areas of focus to help shape your studies. Although areas of focus are not listed on transcripts, they are a useful tool for designing a course of study and working with your academic adviser. 

Applied Economics

The Applied Economics area of focus emphasizes the economic policy aspects of development. This may include issues of international trade and competitiveness, public finance, and evaluation of public expenditures. Similarly, fellows in this focus area may examine subjects like 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, and is beneficial for fellows with aspirations for more senior leadership roles. Fellows may focus on issues such as development project management and nonprofit management. Alternatively, you may dig into things like society and governance, capacity building, decentralization, media policy, aid coordination, science and technology policy, and regional planning.

Environmental Management and Policy

Interested in the connection between development and the environment? Passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals? The Environmental Management and Policy area of focus looks at international environmental policy, security, and institutional development. 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. Learn more about sustainable development and environmental policy at Sanford. 

Law and Development

Law and Development is for fellows who are interested in the connection between development and formal and informal law (including informal arrangements that actually govern outcomes). Previous fellows have used this area of focus to look at  things like “doing business,” good governance,” “rule of law.” Further, some fellows have focused on rights-based approaches to development, J4P (justice for the poor), and legal empowerment. Fellows will be supported to create a course of study that includes development tools and legal frameworks which best fit their previous experiences and aspirations. 

Peace and Conflict Resolution

The Peace and Conflict Resolution area of focus, offered in association with the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, guides fellows interested in the connections between peace and development. Therefore, the program focuses on democracy, negotiation, and conflict resolution alongside issues of resource management and the promotion of sustainable development as a basis for world peace. Learn more about peace and conflict resolution study at Duke.

Social Policy

The Social Policy area of focus draws on social development and safety net policies, along with education and health policies. Fellows may also cover issues of disadvantage, gender, ethnic and economic inequality, and social entrepreneurship. Learn more about social policy at the Sanford School. 

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. Fellows in this area of focus learn how to develop creative solutions to challenges in international development. 

New! Duke I&E initiative now offers a concurrent graduate certificate available to MIDP fellows. Learn more here

Optional Concentration in International Taxation-Public Financial Management (IT-PFM).

Different from an area of focus, the IT-PFM program outlines a specific set of required courses, and appears on the academic transcript. Fellows enrolled in the 2020-2021 academic year will earn the “specialization” and fellows enrolled beginning in the 2021-2022 academic year will transition to the “concentration,” which is a more flexible version of the program that still appears on the transcript. A separate application will not be required, but fellows who express interest in the concentration on the MIDP application will have their applications reviewed by the Public Finance Group faculty. For questions, please reach out to our MIDP team at

Past Student Research Snapshots

Janina Cuevas-Zuniga, MIDP ’14 discusses her research on Mexico’s Full-Time Schools Program. 

Teale Yalch (MIDP ’15), returned Peace Corps volunteer, on how public-private partnerships can help ensure Cote d’Ivoire’s palm oil industry benefits both smallholders and the environment.

Partomuan Juniult, MIDP ’14 with a specialization in International Taxation, discusses his research on tax treaties in Indonesia.

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