Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 19, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

International Development, MID

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

MID students promote respect for human life and human rights, often working behind the scenes to bring real improvements to the human condition through hands-on careers in public service. They work face-to-face with underprivileged and vulnerable populations, in the front offices of aid agencies, and in international organizations dedicated to protecting those who need help most.

The 48-credit MID degree is designed to prepare students to make a difference locally, nationally, and globally by emphasizing intellectual rigor and practical skills. Students study development theoretically, but also learn concrete technical and managerial skills necessary to work in organizations that promote equality in the developing world. Graduates exit the program prepared for professional work in the United Nations, public aid agencies, and charities of all sizes. Often, they pursue work in the private sector, research groups, and prominent non-governmental organizations.

Required Courses: 18 credits

Along with the Required MID courses, all students must complete a 300-hour internship with approval from GSPIA career services.

Energy & Environment Concentration: 12 credits

This concentration explores the politics and policies of environmental sustainability and environmental protection, climate change and climate emergencies, natural resource governance and the worldwide energy industry, and ways to meet global energy needs in an ethical and sustainable way. International Development students are equipped to confront the global climate emergency that threatens human survival, especially the in the poorest countries. Students study efforts to achieve a just and equitable transition to renewable energy, thereby cutting global greenhouse gas emissions, while securing affordable and resilient energy systems and investing in economic diversification of traditional fossil fuel reliant regions. Students learn about international, national, state and local policy strategies to govern and protect the environment. Successes such as the Montreal Protocol for the protection of the ozone layer inform current efforts to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and transboundary air, water and waste issues. 

Governance & International Public Management Concentration: 12 credits

***On August 8, 2023 the following Governance and International Public Management course information was updated in the published catalog. In an effort to provide accurate information the update was made on August 8, 2023.***

Governance and International Public Management provides a comparative perspective on international development, focusing on the ways in which public and nonprofit organizations must adapt to meet the different cultural, political, and economic circumstances of the communities they serve. 

It explores how public agencies around the globe, faced with similar problems like poverty, illiteracy, and inequality, have addressed those issues differently in different countries. Students confront the challenges of implementing complex policies in a global, multicultural context. This major focuses on developing the management and analytical skills necessary to take leadership roles in the multilateral sector, governments abroad, or any organization that delivers services internationally. Graduates are well-prepared to pursue careers at the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and similar organizations.

Human Security Concentration: 12 credits

Human security threats are wide-ranging, manifesting in critical problems of deprivation, indignity, and fear that are also deeply interconnected. Human Security students learn to develop forward-thinking solutions to such problems by using analytical tools that are people-centered, and that tackle linkages between threats through comprehensive interdisciplinary analysis and innovative multi-sectoral collaboration across the fields of development, human rights, and security. By focusing on people as the central unit of analysis, human security approaches mark a shift away from traditional state-centered threats and responses, instead emphasizing peoples’ lived experiences, as well as participatory or “bottom-up” solutions that foster resilience and sustainability. Students benefit from GSPIA’s multidisciplinary faculty and its highly regarded Ford Institute for Human Security, one of the oldest human security programs in the country.

The flexible design of this concentration enables International Development students to use GSPIA’s comprehensive course offerings in order to study how development intersects with other issues, for example: the empowering tools offered by human rights for achieving Sustainable Development Goals such as education, poverty, hunger, and inequality; the importance of environmental sustainability goals for development work to prevent root causes of human displacement and ill-health; the role of development in fostering peace, reducing interpersonal violence such as human trafficking and gender-based violence, as well as political violence and armed conflict; and the value of intersectional and gender analysis across human security threats.

  • Plus:

    PIA 2xxx  Approved HS Concentration Course

    PIA 2xxx  Approved HS Concentration Course

    PIA 2xxx  Approved HS Concentration Course

Nongovernmental Organizations & Civil Society Concentration: 12 credits

The explosive growth of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide has fostered demand for deeply committed staff with solid development policy and organizational management skills. This concentration focuses on how NGOs and civil society drive social change and enable participation and empowerment, especially among vulnerable and excluded groups. It gives students the skills they need for careers in NGOs and social-change organizations including foundations, social movement coalitions, community organizations, non-profit associations, and social enterprises. Key topics of study include NGO management, program design and evaluation, advocacy, community participation and social movements, rights-based approaches, project and financial management, fundraising and grant writing, and policy analysis. Students apply such learning to wide-ranging policy issues at the heart of NGO work, for example food security, health policy, poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability, migration and refugees, human rights, and other UN SDGs. NGOCS students learn to apply essential organizational and management skills to address these and other important policy issues in diverse contexts around the world. Students also develop valuable direct experience through NGO internships, benefiting from the GSPIA-to-DC pathway for internships with national and international organizations in the nation’s capital and the option to study at GSPIA’s DC Center, GSPIA’s dedicated support for a wide range of international NGO internships and study abroad experiences, and local opportunities within our own vibrant nonprofit community.

Social Policy Concentration: 12 credits

The concentration in Social Policy appeals to students who are committed to the study of social issues of public importance, who would like to pursue careers analyzing social needs and policy impacts as well as advocating for improved policies and implementation. To that effect, the curriculum offers courses on pressing social problems both in the U.S. and internationally, and highlights linkages between inequality and discrimination, conflict, poverty, political and community participation, and social mobility. Students use essential methods such as policy analysis and other rigorous tools of social science to bear on these important policy questions. Master of International Development students address social policies that are core to development problems in diverse contexts worldwide, including those highlighted in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as poverty, food insecurity, health, gender inequality, human rights, and environmental sustainability.

Urban Affairs & Planning Concentration: 12 credits

This concentration gives students a city-focused perspective on international development. More than half of the world population now resides in urban areas, raising important questions about how governments should meet public needs for transportation, health and sanitation, education, and other essential services within complex and often  massive urban contexts. Worldwide, cities face similar challenges of development and redevelopment. As urbanization continues to grow at a rapid pace, booming cities like Shanghai, Mumbai, Buenos Aires, and Johannesburg face particularly critical challenges including poverty, homelessness, and pollution. Students confront and compare problems and approaches from the local to the global, developing valuable skills in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), regional economic planning, sustainable development management, and social justice in the context of urban development. 

Elective/Minor Courses: 18 credits

48 Credits

MID Joint Degrees

Students pursing a MID degree have the following Joint Degree options:






Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation