Designed to empower professionals like you, our program will equip you with the analytical skills, management capabilities, technical expertise, policy communication tools and intercultural perspectives needed to tackle the complex challenges of international development.

Based on your professional interests and goals, you can select additional courses from the MIDP program, the Sanford School of Public Policy, other schools across Duke, and nearby universities including NC State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. MIDP staff and faculty advisors will work together to advise you and guide you in creating your course plan.

A Strong Foundation

Core Courses

Policy Analysis for Development examines the role of policy analysis in solving important international development problems and hones the analytical and communication skills needed to undertake effective policy analysis. 

Economic Foundations for Development provides an overview of microeconomic and macroeconomic principles related to development. Fellows gain analytical tools for the study of economic policies and problems in developing countries. 

Empirical Analysis for Development (Statistics) provides an introduction to basic concepts of quantitative and empirical analysis and enables fellows to read and assess the quality of the empirical data and results that are used in reports. Fellows learn basic applied tools using statistical software. 

Applied Development Economics examines the basic principles and policy issues in the study of economic growth and development. Fellows learn about the roles of various sectors in explaining patterns and causes of variations in countries’ growth and development performance. 


Practicums are designed to support your coursework and professional development. They are required and not graded.

The goal of this course is to introduce you to several key principles of good writing. We will use your own writing for your other courses as the “raw material” of the class. The key principles we will cover – through in-class exercises, lecture and homework – will include the following: 1. the role of culture in determining style; 2. writing clear sentences; 3. writing focused, connected paragraphs; 4. motivating your reader; and 5. pulling papers into a coherent whole. 

To be effective, policy writing must be well-structured, clear and free from distractions. While most of our writing efforts must be focused on content, in today’s world, writers must also learn how to pay attention to form and format. In this short course, you will learn the mindset and specific skills need for a professional level of writing and editing. 

Because the public policy career landscape is both broadening and deepening, public policy students can shape and direct their careers in a variety of ways. This course will offer Master of Public Policy (MPP) and MIDP students the professional skills needed to navigate their career choices. This course is required of all first–year MPP and MIDP students. The class is divided into sections - the Friday section is tailored to international students and students interested in international development careers, and the other is tailored to students with U.S. policy interests. Topics covered include goal setting; elevator speeches; identifying internship opportunities; drafting resumes, CVs, and cover letters; networking; and informal and formal interviewing. The classes will offer a combination of short lectures and demonstrations, weekly homework assignments, group and individual work and presentations, and guest lectures. Students will have the opportunity to practice their new skills throughout the year.

Capstone Experience

Master’s Project

Two people standing next to each other and facing another person.
Abdedaim Battioui's master's project detailed why Morocco, his home country, should reexamine its Energy Transition Policy with the UK.

A culminating hands-on experience, the Master’s Project asks you to apply the professional skills and knowledge you’ve acquired in the classroom to a project that tackles a real-world policy challenge, often in service to the industry, government or nonprofit external partners. You will demonstrate mastery in defining a policy problem, analyzing it in an interdisciplinary manner, and recommending a specific course of action to the client to address that problem.

The Master’s Project is a client-focused project or paper required of all candidates for the master’s degree. To help complete the project, you will take two seminars over two semesters for a total of 3 credits and will be assigned a Master's Project faculty advisor who will provide guidance throughout the research process.


Build on the Best of Duke

Focus Areas

We believe in the power of choice. Building on the best of Duke, we offer a diverse range of focus areas including the following: 

This area 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, factors that bolster economic growth, domestic revenue generation, and international capital markets.

This area has a strong foothold in political science and covers issues of public and private partnerships, civil society and governance, fiscal decentralization, political risk analysis, aid coordination, regional planning, or other sector development issues.

Focus on how to improve the lives of citizens by supporting their education, welfare, work and well-being. This area focuses on safety net policies as well as on issues of gender, ethnic and economic inequality, poverty reduction, building human capital, and social entrepreneurship.

This area emphasizes international environmental and energy policy, security, regulation, and institutional development. Sanford expertise is complemented by the resources from the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment and Sustainability in areas such as natural resource economics, energy access, climate change, and environmental advocacy and regulation.

This area focuses on health equity and policy alternatives for current global health challenges. Sanford expertise is complemented by the resources of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the Duke Global Health Institute. Those interested may pursue the Global Health graduate certificate offered by the Duke Global Health Institute.

This area equips future leaders to promote greater tolerance, cooperation and peace among people. Course choices focus on democracy, negotiation and conflict resolution, and the promotion of effective cooperation in international development. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a certificate in peace and conflict resolution for two-year MIDP fellows through the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center.

Technology plays a crucial role in sustainable and inclusive development. This area focuses on the impact that technology has on society across industries as well as the role of technology in governance and democracy.

This area focuses on the range of strategies that promote economic growth in developing countries by creating healthy enabling environments for private enterprises, whether small, medium or large. Strategies include political risk analysis, regulation, and global value chains. Additional options are also available through Duke's Fuqua School of Business.

Drawing on Duke’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship and its pioneering leadership in policy and social entrepreneurship education, this focus area aims to further enhance fellows’ abilities to explore the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems and complexities, as well as develop innovative and entrepreneurial methods to address local and global challenges. Those interested may pursue a graduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


Focus areas serve to facilitate the course selection process and promote professional growth. They do not appear on student transcripts or diplomas.  

Concurrent Graduate Certificates

Maximize your Duke experience by combining your MIDP degree with a graduate certificate offered by another department or school. Learn more about concurrent graduate certificates.


Academic Policies

Duke MIDP has academic policies related to certificate and degree requirements, required courses, timelines, internships, assessments, auditing, independent study, grades and more. This information is provided to MIDP fellows and available through the MIDP academic services staff.