The MIDP is a 48-credit degree program, divided into core courses, elective courses, a summer professional placement, and a capstone project.

Core Courses (30 Credits)

The core courses emphasizes analytical skills and core knowledge for designing and managing sound public policy

Economics & Development Policy (12 credits)

  • PPOL 536:  Intermediate Microeconomics for Development (3 credits)
  • PPOL 537:  Public Finance in Developing Countries (3 credits)
  • PPOL 540:  Social and Economic Development Policy (3 credits)
  • PPOL 541:  Sustainable Development (3 credits) 

Quantitative Methods (9 credits)

  • PPOL 531:  Statistical Methods for Development Policy (3 credits)
  • PPOL 532:  Regression Methods for Development Policy (3 credits)
  • PPOL 533:  Impact Evaluation for Development (3 credits) 

Management and Institutions (9 credits)

  • PPOL 545:  Management and Leadership in Developing Countries (3 credits)
  • PPOL 546:  Ethical Issues in Development (3 credits)
  • PPOL 542:  Political Economy in Developing Countries (3 credits)

Development Policy

PPOL 540: Social and Economic Development Policy

This course presents the key characteristics of developing economies that distinguish them from more advanced countries. In particular, the course illustrates how product, labor, and credit markets differ, and considers the implications of these differences for economic growth, and for household welfare. It then delves further into socio-economic welfare, poverty and inequality measurement, and human development (education and health policy issues). The course then provides a framework for understanding what drives economic growth and why some countries grow faster than others, and discusses the role of geography, trade, institutions and technology in economic development. Additionally, the course examines the role that international financial institutions, and foreign aid play in the development policy process. Throughout, the course highlights the contrasting policy challenges now facing the rapidly growing emerging market economies vs. low income countries.

PPOL 541: Sustainable Development

Building on the concepts examined in Social and Economic Development Policy, this course explores the meaning of ‘sustainability’ in the context of development. It considers the recent ‘tipping point’ that has pushed climate change to the top of the global policy agenda, and examines what the demands of climate change mean for regulatory frameworks, incentives, and the creation of new markets around the world. It explores sustainability as applied to agriculture and urban development, how vulnerable groups fare in the tension between progress and environmental protection, and at the scope for public-private partnerships in enhancing sustainability. Throughout, the course draws on case studies from both the developing and developed world to look at how the demands of sustainability are challenging and altering the way that public policy decisions can be optimized in the context of development. (PREREQUISITE: SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY)


PPOL 536: Intermediate Microeconomics for Development

This course provides an in-depth analysis of supply and demand, the theory of the consumer and theory of the firm, with particular emphasis on developing country contexts. The course focuses on the determinants of consumer behavior by studying the role of utility maximization and constrained optimization. Firm behavior is studied by investigating the role of profit maximization when firms operate in perfectly competitive markets and when they are monopolies. Key concepts include efficiency, opportunity cost, the role of incentives and marginal analysis. Applications to public policy issues are emphasized.

PPOL 537: Public Finance in Developing Countries

This course builds on the material covered in Intermediate Microeconomics for Development through exploration of the financing and provision of public goods and the conditions under which market failures occur, with particular focus on the role of information asymmetries, uncertainty and externalities. The course examines how differences in administrative capacity between developing countries and more advanced countries affect the nature and prevalence of these market failures and develops a framework for government policies (or other third parties such as non-governmental interventions) as responses to market failures in a developing country context. An introduction to cost/benefit analysis is incorporated as a mechanism for evaluating various policies and programs. (PREREQUISITE: INTERMEDIATE MICROECONOMICS FOR DEVELOPMENT)

Quantitative Methods

PPOL 531: Statistical Methods for Development Policy

This is the first course in the three-course quantitative methods sequence. The sequence is designed to increase understanding of empirical analyses — both as a producer of such analyses and as a consumer of empirical analyses as an input to development policy decisions. This course introduces students to descriptive and inferential statistics often used in international development policy research. The course aims to provide students with a solid foundation for analyzing data, conveying analyses in convincing and appropriate ways. Topics covered include: measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability and probability distributions, random variables, hypothesis testing and confidence intervals, statistical power, correlation, simple regression, and an introduction to multivariate regression. The course includes a final project on which students work together in small groups applying the methods learned throughout the semester to work with an actual database to inform a policy memorandum. Students learn advanced Excel programming and Stata (a statistical software application) as tools used to conduct data analysis.

PPOL 532: Regression Methods for Development Policy

This course builds on the material covered in Statistical Methods for Development Policy by further developing the student’s understanding of the motivation for, and application of, statistical techniques to policy analysis in developing countries. The course introduces the assumptions underlying ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models, and the consequences of violating those assumptions. Students gain hands-on experience exploring policy questions using data and examples from developing countries, and a deeper understanding for how econometrics can be used to draw key policy insights. The course provides students with a framework for selecting an econometric model to evaluate policy, generating and interpreting results, and identifying the limitations of the model. (PREREQUISITE: STATISTICAL METHODS FOR DEVELOPMENT POLICY)

PPOL 533: Impact Evaluation for Development

This course is the third in the sequence of courses exploring quantitative research methods in the context of policy analysis, emphasizing the application of econometric models to evaluate development policies and programs. The course goes beyond OLS to expose students to a broad range of state-of-the-art econometric techniques in policy evaluation, including randomized experiments, matching methods, panel data methods, instrumental variables, and regression discontinuity designs. Special emphasis is placed on using these techniques effectively in designing and evaluating development projects/policy. (PREREQUISITES: STASTICAL AND REGRESSION METHODS FOR DEVELOPMENT POLICY)

Management and Institutions

PPOL 545: Management and Leadership in Developing Countries

A key component in the study of public policy is the ability to work through how public policy gets put into action. Successful policy implementation requires more than getting technical analysis right; it requires a critical understanding of the underpinnings of good governance and a mastery of the management techniques that yield results on the ground. This course focuses specifically on the challenges facing less developed countries, as well as the options and resources available to effectively implement policies in those countries. Through class discussion, simulations, and assignments, students will apply theoretical concepts in public management to actual development policy challenges, gaining practice with the management, and leadership tools that can move teams from analysis to effective implementation.

PPOL 546: Ethical Issues in Development

Values (and not just interests) are fundamental to public policy, and so sophisticated policy analysts should understand the roles that values can play in policy analysis and the policy process. Values are contested in that political actors – particularly in the developing country context - interpret core values (e.g., equity, liberty, justice, security, efficiency) in conflicting ways and place different weights on different values. Differing institutional arrangements (markets, democracy, or authority) enhance certain values and suppress others. The systematic analysis of values can provide policy recommendations that are superior to those made without systematic reflection, and policy analysts should be able to provide a reasoned explanation of the values embedded in the policy recommendations they make. In this course, students use the case study method to learn how these principles can usefully be applied in the context of developing countries as well as multilateral organizations.

PPOL 542: Political Economy in Developing Countries

This course examines the political economy of policymaking in developing countries, with special attention paid to factors that promote or inhibit the implementation of successful policies in economic, financial, and social sectors. Attention is given to both "macro" level factors such as globalization and political culture, and "micro" level factors such how political and social institutions shape the policy making process in alternative country settings. The course relies heavily on case materials to develop an understanding of – and ability to work effectively within – a broad range of developing country contexts.

Capstone Project (6 credits) 

Each student completes a capstone project. This client-based group project gives students the opportunity to apply skills they are learning in the classroom to real world, real-time policy questions posed by clients from leading international development institutions. The capstone is a two-semester project completed during the second year of the program.

Electives (12 credits) 

MIDP students expand on the analytical skills they attain in their core coursework with 12 credits of elective courses. Students have an array of elective courses from which to choose at the McCourt School and Georgetown University’s other top-ranked graduate schools. Our expert faculty teach a wide range of elective courses in today’s most relevant policy areas and methods.

Many McCourt students choose to align their elective coursework with their interests and career goals. Electives in areas of development policy, international economic policy, and methods are likely to be of particular interest to MIDP students. MIDP students may also elect to take classes that do not focus specifically on policy making in developing countries, but whose substantive areas may be related to their career goals. 

Please see below for a sample list of electives offered over the past academic year. This list is not exhaustive and additional courses can be found on the Registrar's Schedule of Classes. McCourt students also have the opportunity to take electives in other Georgetown graduate programs as well as through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Please contact Director of Academic Affairs Nirmala Fernandes at for more information.

  • Analytical Methods for Development including courses such as:
    • PPOL 622: Policy Analysis
    • PPOL 646: Data Visualization for Policy Analysis
    • PPOL 658: Growth Diagnostics & Development Strategies
    • PPOL 683: Spatial Data Modeling & Public Policy
    • PPOL 693: Applied Monitoring & Evaluation for Development Programs
    • PPOL 696: Survey Research Methods
    • PPOL 737: Game Theory
  • International Economic Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 608: Asian Economic Development
    • PPOL 676: International Financial Institutions
    • PPOL 677: International Trade Policy & Negotiations
    • PPOL 734: Latin American Economic Development
  • Development Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 638: International Health
    • PPOL 647: International Social Development Policy
    • PPOL 681: BRICS & The Global Economy
    • PPOL 685: History and Theory of Development
    • PPOL 703: Political Economy of Foreign Aid
    • PPOL 780: Economic Complexity & Development
  • Political Strategy and Governance including courses such as:
    • PPOL 600: The Press & the Presidency
    • PPOL 612: Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations in the U.S.
    • PPOL 627: Identity Politics & Interest Groups
    • PPOL 632: Strategic Advocacy: Lobbying/Interest Groups
    • PPOL 657: Policy, Politics & the Media
  • Education Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 655: Education Productivity: Teachers & Technology Effects
    • PPOL 672: Topics: Post Secondary Education
    • PPOL 797: New Players in Education: Charter Schools
  • Environmental & Regulatory Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 613: Environmental and Natural Resources Economics
    • PPOL 636: Energy, Society & Politics in Developing Countries
    • PPOL 687: Nuclear Power, Climate Change, Clean Power
    • PPOL 711: Sustainable Development
  • Health Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 604: Health Care Quality: Recent Policy Issues
    • PPOL 642: Health Policy & Politics
    • PPOL 643: Health Care Access Demand Issues
    • PPOL 798: Politics & Policies of Addiction and Recovery
  • Homeland Security Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 688: Homeland Security
    • PPOL 692: Capacity Building/Counter-terrorism (previously Post Conflict Reconstruction)
    • PPOL 694: Cyber Conflict and National Security Policy
  • Management & Leadership such as:
    • PPOL 612: Federalism/Intergovernmental Relations
    • PPOL 633: Women and Leadership
    • PPOL 663: Public Leadership
    • PPOL 699: The Power & Influence of Philanthropy: Local, National, Global
    • PPOL 748: Negotiation
  • Public Management including courses such as:
    • PPOL 639: Strategic Planning & Public Policy
    • PPOL 663: Public Leadership
    • PPOL 680: Risk Management
    • PPOL 756: Contracting
    • PPOL 779: Agency Rulemaking & Adjudication: How Fed Govt Does Business
  • Social Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 604: Policy/Politics of Entitlements
    • PPOL 607: Child Development
    • PPOL 611: The War on Drugs: Causes, Consequences and Alternatives (formerly US Drug Policy & Its Consequences)
    • PPOL 659: Race, Faith & Politics
    • PPOL 664: Tax Policy
    • PPOL 745: U.S. Immigration Policy
  • U.S. Domestic Economic Policy including courses such as:
    • PPOL 614: The Federal Budget in a Time of Madness
    • PPOL 623: National Economic Issues
    • PPOL 649: Macroeconomics
    • PPOL 758: Foreign Direct Investments in the US
    • PPOL 759: Getting People to Behave