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Development Practice

The Masters in Development Practice (MDP) 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 MDP is led by Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin (TCD) School of Natural Science and University College Dublin (UCD) School of Politics and International Relations, and delivered by staff from all faculties across the universities, in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills.
The TCD UCD MDP programme is a joint degree course and award. TCD (established in 1592) is Ireland’s leading university, recognised internationally for the quality of its education and research. UCD (established in 1854) is Ireland’s largest University and one of Europe's leading research-intensive universities. Students have joint registration during their course.

The goal of the MDP 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 in developing country contexts, and in international organizations. The course modules are categorized according to each of the Global MDP Program’s four pillars—health, natural, social, and management sciences. Some are categorized as cross-disciplinary, although the program as a whole emphasizes the interconnectedness between development issues in these four fields. The MDP 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 three internships including two international field training placements.

MDP Candidates develop specialist skills in:
• Economics: Micro and Macro Development Economics
• Statistics; Impact Measurement in Development
• Research design, methodology, and methods including (including training in leading edge quantitative, qualitative, and digital tools and techniques)
• Project and programme management
• Sector analysis: Tropical Agriculture and sustainable development; global health; Gender and development; Climate Change, Human Rights, and Sustainable Development; Science, Technology and Sustainable Development; Economics of Sustainable Development; Post-Conflict Situations; Governance, Politics, and Development; and Globalisation and African Development.
• Students also produce a dissertation on a specialist research area of their choice.

There are four key pillars in the MDP curriculum: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Management and Health Sciences. The course will be taught by staff from TCD and UCD with input from the National University of Rwanda, The Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation, and other leading expert development practitioners.

Students will be jointly registered at TCD and UCD. The National University of Rwanda is a key partner and students will spend a portion of time completing cross-disciplinary fieldwork in Rwanda as well as undertaking internships in leading international organisations. Further information and modules are listed here along with their coordinators.

Entry requirements

Entry to the programme will be based on competitive selection. Applications for admission are accepted from
• holders of first or upper-second class honours degrees (grade point average 3.5 equivalent) awarded by recognised universities and institutions, and recognised degree awarding bodies (e.g. NCEA, CNAA);
• holders of other degrees from recognised universities or degree granting institutions who have experienced at least three years of appropriate employment;
• holders of recognised professional qualifications obtained through examinations who have spent at least four years in study and who, in addition, have been employed for at least two years in the work of their profession;
• holders of diplomas obtained through examinations who have spent three years at least in full-time study at a recognised third-level educational institution and who, in addition, have experienced a minimum of five years appropriate employment.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English in a test administered by an institution independent of their own university (e.g. the British Council).


W212: 2 years full-time or W213: 3/4 years part-time.

Number of credits


Careers or further progression

A wide variety of careers will be open to graduates from this programme in overseas development assistance for public, private and non-governmental organizations. It is envisaged that the programme will also attract active professionals already working in these fields who wish to strengthen their qualifications.

Employers of our graduates include:
• United Nations, New York and Geneva
• European Parliament
• Sankei Shimbun Tokyo
• Istituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino
• Lifetime, Merrill Lynch
• Department of Education, Dublin

Further enquiries

Contact Name: Gillian Johnston
Contact Number: +353 1 716 8643

Subjects taught

Students engage in a minimum of seventeen class-room based modules and three work-based placements to gain hands-on practical experience during the programme. In year one, students undertake two placements. Firstly, students complete a research project with an Irish Based International Development Non-Governmental Organisation. Secondly, they spend up to three months completing cross-disciplinary fieldwork in a developing location. To date, students have undertaken fieldwork in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Brazil.

In year two, students undertake internships in leading international organisations. To date, students have taken placements with UN Women, WHO, FAO, OECD, World Bank, UNESCAP, and a multitude of other international organisations.

List of Modules:
Year One
POL41260: Economic & Policy Analysis Prof Patrick Paul Walsh (UCD)
POL41750: Introduction to Statistics Dr Jos Elkink (UCD)
POL41330: Global Classroom Dr Conor Galvin (UCD School of Education)
POL41120: Global Health Dr Fiona Larkin (TCD)
POL41680: NGO's: Law, Governance and Social Change Dr Oonagh Breen (UCD)
POL41210: Tropical Agriculture & Sustainable Development Dr Bernard Calas (TCD)
POL41180: Climate Justice: Law, Politics, and Ethics Dr Susan Murphy (TCD)
POL41570: Economic & Policy Analysis II Prof Patrick Paul Walsh (UCD)
POL41440: Irish NGO Placement Dr Susan Murphy (TCD)
POL41430: Globalisation and African Development Dr Padraig Carmody (TCD)
POL41580: Fieldwork I

Year Two
POL41600: Science, Technology & Sustainable Development Prof Michael Bruen (UCD)
POL41460: Dev & Societal Transition in Post Conflict Situations Dr Conor Galvin (UCD)
POL41770: Economics of Sust. Development Prof Patrick Paul Walsh (UCD)
POL41530: Impact Measurement in Development Aid Prof Patrick Paul Walsh (UCD)
POL41520: Governance, Politics and Development Dr Samuel Brazys (UCD)
POL41190: Climate Change and Development Dr Gayle McGlynn (TCD), Dr Conor Buggy (UCD)
POL41560: Gender & Development Dr Susan Murphy (TCD)
POL41760: Fieldwork II
POL41610: Dissertation


MSc Development Practice
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)

Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

Application date

The following entry routes are available:
* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised
Applications are submitted via TCD Website.

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2017/2018 September.

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