The International Development Group is open to students of all degree programs in the Department. Applications for the MCP and PhD degree programs are made to the Department. For information on admissions and financial aid and instructions on how to apply, please visit the Admissions page.
All Masters’ students take the basic MCP Gateway classes. The Gateway curriculum has been designed to familiarize students with the evolution of major theories, concepts, applications and ongoing debates within the field of urban studies and planning. For doctoral students, the program of study is developed jointly with the student and the student’s advisor, under guidelines and course requirements set by the Department’s Ph.D. committee.
Minor in International Development
MIT students have enormous interest in tackling problems of global poverty and economic development in the poor regions of the world. The minor in international development will increase the capability to understand, analyze and tackle today's problems in emerging countries, including the challenges of dealing with increasing urbanization, the need for industrial growth and jobs for increasing number of educated youth, the crisis of resources and infrastructure, the fragmentation of state capacity and rising violence, the ethical and moral issues raised by development planning, the role of appropriate technology and research, and the challenge of dealing with popular discontent. Through research and teaching, we combine a robust introduction to the theoretical framework of the field, with a strong analytical orientation and problem-solving method tested through field engagement. Taught by faculty from one of the worlds premier academic centers of expertise in planning, at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and with more than a quarter century of experience in dealing with problems of international development, the minor is a new offering to MIT students that emphasizes problem-solving, multidisciplinarity and an understanding of institutions at various levels from the local to the global as the key to solving todays problems in emerging countries.
The six-subject minor is structured into two tiers. The first tier gives students a general overview of the history of international development and major theories and debates in the field, and an introduction to the dilemmas of practice. It will also introduce students to the challenges of applying models of interventions across contexts and the importance of understanding local institutional frameworks and political economies across scales and levels of governance. The second tier of classes offers an array of more specialized and advanced subjects to allow students greater depth in specific sectors and international development issues with faculty immersed in a variety of disciplines. These sectors range from public finance, infrastructure and energy, sustainability, the role of technology policy, the form and the structure of cities, the politics of urban change and development, the role of law and public policy in development and the rethinking of development in terms of human rights.
The courses seek to combine the real world resources of experienced practitioners by taking advantage of fifteen mid-career international development and planning practitioners (Spurs/Humphrey fellows), who are hosted by DUSP each year, and who can serve as a major resource for connecting MIT undergraduates to the international world of development planning practice.
TIER I: Introduction to International Development Theories & Practice
- 11.025 D-Lab: Development
- 11.005 Introduction to International Development
- 11.140 Urbanization and Development (meets with 11.480)
TIER II: Specialized Topics in International Development
Choose four in consultation with the minor advisor:
- 11.002 Making Public Policy
- 11.027 City to City
- 11.144 Project Appraisal in Developing Countries
- 11.147 Innovative Budgeting & Finance for the Public Sector
- 11.164J Human Rights in Theory and Practice
- 11.165J Infrastructure & Energy Security Challenges
- 11.166 Law, Social Movements, & Public Policy
- 4.233 The New Global Planning Practitioner
- EC.715 D-Lab: Disseminating Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Innovations for the Common Good
Additional information can be obtained from minor advisor Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Each IDG student in the Master’s program is required to take the following courses:
- Gateway: Planning Action
- Planning Economics
- Microeconomics (or test out)
- Intro to Spatial Analysis (or test out)
- Quantitative Reasoning and Statistical Methods (or test out)
- Introduction to International Development and Planning
- One practicum (e.g. Mexico City Practicum, Sao Paulo Studio, etc.)
Many IDG master’s students also elect to take at least one additional economics or methods class. Ph.D. students do not normally take the MCP core, but fulfill their degree requirements with a slightly different array of required courses. Ph.D. students in IDG frequently take at least two from the intermediate economics or methods classes offered, e.g. Economic Analysis for Business Decisions Applied Macro- and International Economics.
IDG offers a wide range of elective classes that allow MCP students the opportunity to focus their work around specific themes and issues. While IDG does not require MCP students to formally commit to a sub-specialization, students are advised to build a cohesive course of study based on a specific body of knowledge. Possible areas of focus include Governance and Globalization; Housing and Human Settlement Policies; Income Distribution, Employment, and Poverty Alleviation; Infrastructure and Transportation; Institutional Approaches to Development; or Regional and Urban Economic Theory. A current list of IDG core and elective courses can be found on the Subjects page.
At the Ph.D. level, IDG aims to heighten reflective practice and promote research that is both theoretically rigorous and innovative while also cognizant of the concrete obstacles people face in developing cities, regions, and nations. The doctoral program trains candidates for the research and teaching of development planning, emphasizing fundamental research competence, and offers flexibility in the design of special areas of study. Joint student-faculty research and teaching is also encouraged.