MPA Development Practice

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)

The Masters of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) is a two-year fulltime programme that offers professional trans-disciplinary graduate degree training that addresses the challenges of sustainable development through a blend of rigorous academic courses and practical engagements. The MPA-DP is delivered by staff from all faculties across the university, in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills. 

The goal of this programme is to produce rounded development practitioners with a deep understanding of scientific methods and techniques to reduce global poverty, in addition to extensive on-the-ground training with international organisations. The MPA in Development Practice is rooted in evidence that effective public policy must be based science-based. Course offerings include a blend of traditional class-room based modules and two internships including one in an internatinal organisation.

Candidates develop specialist skills in:

  • Economic Policy and Analysis
  • Statistics; Impact Measurement in Development
  • Research design, methodology, and methods
  • Sector analysis
  • Students also produce a dissertation on a specialist research area of their choice. 

Careers & Employability

A wide variety of careers will be open to graduates from this programme in overseas development assistance for public, private and non-governmental organizations. The programme also appeals to active professionals already working in these fields who wish to strengthen their qualification.

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

To qualify for a place on the Master of Public Administration Development Practice, students must hold a primary degree with at least Second Class Honours Grade 1 (2H1) or equivalent in a relevant discipline.

University English language requirements apply for students whose first language is not English.

    By the end of the programme a student should be able to:

    1. Explain the contemporary structure and challenges of development practice in areas of development management, development science and technology, development governance, development and global health, and development monitoring and evaluation

    2. Effectively participate in, and provide project management and team leadership for, development interventions

    3. Operate safely and effectively in fragile and post-conflict development situations

    4. Conduct professional program and policy evaluations

    5. Engage in a specialized area of development practice

    6. Work in teams

    7. Prepare and present briefings to high-level development practitioner and government policy makers

    View All Modules Here

    Y1 Core Modules Include (Students Must Only Take Core Modules in Year 1):

    POL41870      Economic & Policy Analysis I 
    POL41600      Science Technology & Dev  
    POL41860      Governance Politics & Dev 
    EDUC42930   Global Classroom 
    LAW40760      NGOs:  Law, Governance & Social
    MEDN40080   Global Health 
    POL41580       Fieldwork I  
    POL41610       Thesis 


    Y2 Optional Modules Include (Students Choose One Stream):

    Streams include: 

    Policy Impact and Evaluation (PIE)

    1. POL41890      Economic & Policy Analysis II 
    2. POL41740      The  Economics of Sust. Development 
    3. POL41880      Impact Measurement 
    4. CSSL40010    Public Administration and Policy 
    5. POL40950      Introduction to Statistics 
    6. ECON42000   Econometrics 
    7. ECON42400   Experiments in Economics 

    Conflict/Post-Conflict Interventions (CPCI)

    1. EDUC42940  Post-Conflict & Development 
    2. POL41720 Gender in Peace and Conflict 
    3. POL41910 Political Violence 
    4. POL41930 Psychology of Conflict in MENA 
    5. GS40050 Gender War and Violence 

    Environment and Agriculture (EA)

    1. PEP40800 Environmental Assessment 
    2. ENVB40070 Environmental Impact Assessment/ Ecotox & Air Quality 
    3. ENVB40130 Global Change Ecology 
    4. AESC40390 Human Impact on the Environment 
    5. AESC40440 Biodiversity & Ecosys Serv 
    6. RDEV40150 Policies&Strat for SustAgri&RD 
    7. RDEV 40490 Sustainable Agriculture 
    8. RDEV40300 Rural Enterprises 
    9. RDEV40470 Planning for Development 
    10. PEP40610 Tools for Sust Development 
    11. PEP40800 Environmental Assessment 
    12. LAW40120 Environmental Law and Policy

    Global Public Health (GPH)

    1. NMHS40700 Public Health Nursing: Principles and Theory
    2. PHPS40010 Fundamentals of Epidemiology 
    3. PHPS40040 Public Health Practice  
    4. RDEV40200 Public Health 
    5. PHPS40340 International Health I 
    6. PHPS40190 Biostatistics I 
    7. PHPS40460 Biostatistics II 
    8. PHPS40650 International Health II 
    9. PHPS40690 Public Health Nutrition 
    10. PHPS40850 Sociology&Social Epidemiology 

    MPA Development Practice (W412) Full Time
    EU          fee per year - € 9585
    nonEU    fee per year - € 19200

    ***Fees are subject to change

    MPA Development Practice (W412) Full Time 

    EU                   fee per year         -  € 9,350

    nonEU             fee per year         -  € 18,700


    ***Fees are subject to change

    Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.


    Year 1

    Students undertake one within-country placement. This will be GPA Neutral.

    Year 2

    Students undertake internships in leading international organisations. Professional research placements will be run across governments, in partnership with universities, in developing countries for OECD students but in developed countries for non-OECD students.



    The placements can be with the private sector or civil society once they align with the Sustainable Development Goals project and have been accredited by the UN either as members of the UN Major Groups or have signed up to the UN Compact or the UN PRI frameworks.

    The following entry routes are available:

    MPA Development Practice FT (W412)
    2 Years
    Full Time
    Rolling *

    * Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised