Development Practice

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The UC Berkeley Master of Development Practice (MDP) is an interdisciplinary, professional degree program designed to prepare leaders to tackle the local, regional and global challenges of the coming decades. Graduates go on to careers “with meaning” in non-profit, business and government organizations. Attracting experienced, engaged, and entrepreneurial students from around the world, its rigorous curriculum provides core scientific knowledge; skills in problem-solving, design and management; analytical and decision-making tools, and integrative perspectives. The program’s foundational core curriculum is supplemented by individually customized specialization, drawing from the unparalleled breadth and depth of the world’s top public university.  The Berkeley MDP’s focus is on practice with hands-on, experiential learning infused throughout the program. It emphasizes peer learning, enriched by a student cohort diverse in education, profession, and culture. Students come with backgrounds across the sciences and humanities; 40-50% of each cohort has been from outside the US, with alumni representing 26 nations.

The Berkeley MDP is a member of the Global Association of MDP programs — thirty-two graduate programs in nineteen countries — sharing a common approach and designed around a set of core capabilities developed through a year-long consultative process supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

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Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

Berkeley offers admission to applicants who appear to have the highest potential for graduate study and who, with the benefit of a graduate education, are the most likely to contribute substantially to their academic or professional fields through teaching, research, or professional practice.

International applicants must demonstrate English proficiency by taking one of the following exams:

  1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Selection criteria for the master’s program will include the applicant’s talent, academic background, work experience, leadership experience, vision, involvement in critical issues or new areas of research (such as poverty or climate change) and/or proven entrepreneurship. Applicants oriented towards developing managerial skills, improving public policy, and increasing interdisciplinary capacities as development practitioners will receive priority.

In addition to technical backgrounds and leadership potential, we will aim to establish diverse cohorts seeking balance among gender and ethnicity. We expect a highly competitive selection process leading to a mix of qualified international and domestic students. UC Berkeley requires a minimal level of mathematical and statistical skills that will be augmented by the bootcamp, which will aim to ensure that students have the necessary computer skills and a basic understanding of economics, sociology, and business concepts.

Master's Degree Requirements


Courses Required
Summer Boot Camp – Intro to Program, Basic Skills Training
A,RESEC C253International Economic Development Policy3
DEVP 222Economics of Sustainable Resource Development3
DEVP C232Foundations of Public Health2
DEVP 228Strategic Planning and Project Management3
DEVP 227Principles of Natural Resource Management2
DEVP 233Law, Politics, and Policymaking3
DEVP 237Leadership, Conflict Resolution, and Community Development3
DEVP 220Climate Change and Energy3
DEVP 225Innovation, Product Development, and Marketing3
DEVP 239Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar (Each Semester)2
PB HLTH 290Health Issues Seminars (Quantitative Methods and Impact Evaluation)3
4 units of Independent Study for Final Project/Thesis, 9 units of electives (100/200 level coursework)


Development Practice

DEVP 220 Climate Change and Energy 3 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
The first segment of the course provides an overview of the conceptual science of climate change. The second segment of the course will review energy management concepts. The third segment will present economic and policy perspectives to assess evolution of energy policies and to analyze the political economy of climate change policies and their implications.

Climate Change and Energy: Read More [+]

DEVP C221 Climate, Energy and Development 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Graduate seminar examining the role of energy science, technology, and policy in
international development. The course will look at how changes in the theory and practice
of energy systems and of international development have co-evolved over the past half-
century, and what opportunities exist going forward.

A focus will be on rural and decentralized energy use, and the issues of technology, culture,
politics that are raised by both current trajectories, and potential alternative energy
choices. We will explore the frequently divergent ideas about energy and development that
have emerged from civil society, academia, multinational development agencies, and the
private and industrial sector.

Climate, Energy and Development: Read More [+]

DEVP 222 Economics of Sustainable Resource Development 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
This course will introduce the basic concepts including economic welfare, externality, public good, global commons, policy approaches for dealing with externality, and techniques for quality analysis. It will include case studies where groups will design economic incentives and policy solutions to major problems. It will have sections on particular problems including climate change, water and air quality, animal waste, toxic contamination, forestry
and fishery policy.
Economics of Sustainable Resource Development: Read More [+]

DEVP 225 Innovation, Product Development, and Marketing 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This course will introduce the basic concepts of innovation, product development, and marketing in developing countries. Students will analyze alternative knowledge and innovation systems, and the role of public and private sector interactions. The course will also introduce models of technology transfers, adoption, and diffusion of technology, as well as introduce students to basic principles of marketing, assessment of consumer choices
, and the challenge of bringing to market efficient solutions to meet customer needs.
Innovation, Product Development, and Marketing: Read More [+]

DEVP 227 Principles of Natural Resource Management 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This course will introduce concepts in natural resource management. Segment 1 will cover basic modeling, techniques, and methodology in natural resource mamangement and sustainability. Segment 2 will address genetic resources and agriculture. Segment 3 will cover principles of natural resource management, namely water and air, in the development context. Segment 4 profides an overview of major concepts in the conservation of biodiversity.
Students are expected to present research reports based on case studies.
Principles of Natural Resource Management: Read More [+]

DEVP 228 Strategic Planning and Project Management 3 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
A pragmatic, interdisciplinary introduction to strategic planning and project management, introducing students to a portfolio of models, tools, and techniques drawn from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. It will offer an opportunity through case studies, simulations and class projects to apply those approaches in settings relevant to the development field.

Strategic Planning and Project Management: Read More [+]

DEVP 229 Quantitative Methods and Impact Evaluation 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2013, Fall 2012
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of estimation, prediction, and hypothesis testing. The course will focus on impact evaluation theory and methods and will explore the variety of tools available for rigorously measuring the impact of development programs on poverty.

Quantitative Methods and Impact Evaluation: Read More [+]

DEVP C232 Foundations of Public Health 2 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
The seminar will introduce core disciplines and concepts in public health, using a case-based, integrated approach. Examples of cases discussed include: respiratory disease and air pollution; tobacco control and prevention of smoking-related conditions; disease elimination or eradication via childhood immunization; environmental control and prevention of schistosomiasis; behavior change and prevention of HIV/AIDS; and novel economic approaches
to improving healthcare delivery to impoverished groups.
Foundations of Public Health: Read More [+]

DEVP 233 Law, Politics, and Policymaking 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
Law, Politics, and Policymaking will introduce students to principles of law, the mechanisms of politics, political economy, and policymaking delving into fundamentals of business, as well as environmental, international, and human rights law in the context of development. This course will provide students with insights into real-world contexts in which sustainable development practice takes place. It will consist of case studies of political
economic and legal analysis.
Law, Politics, and Policymaking: Read More [+]

DEVP 235 Economic Development and Policy 3 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
Learn to apply the tools of economic analysis to problems of growth, poverty, and environmental sustainability in developing countries and to understand what can be done to promote development through policies and investment projects, and learn to analyze the economic, social, and environmental impacts of specific initiatives. This course will teach students to use data to conduct development analyses and learn to prepare the corresponding reports for international
development agencies and policymakers.
Economic Development and Policy: Read More [+]

DEVP 237 Leadership, Conflict Resolution, and Community Development 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
This three-segment course starts with critical evaluation of literature and methods for communal natural resource management, followed by a segment that emphasizes leadership skills and conflict resolution approaches for development. The third segment will address issues of conflict and policymaking in a global context and provide the institutional perspective of development organizations and strategies.

Leadership, Conflict Resolution, and Community Development: Read More [+]

DEVP 239 Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar 2 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017
This course provides an opportunity for Master of Development Practice students to interact with a diverse group of invited guest speakers, including academics and practitioners. It will also provide opportunities for group discussion of basic questions, and it will provide opportunities to present ideas and discuss research and internship plans and experiences.

Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar: Read More [+]

DEVP 246 Transboundary Water Conflict Resolution: The Israeli/Arab Case 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015
This course will cover technological, legal, and institutional mechanisms to resolve the water conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, emphasizing the agricultural, industrial, environmental and urban sectors that compete over this resource. Students will examine the distribution of available water resources in Israel among different users and sectors as well as between Israel and its neighbors.

Transboundary Water Conflict Resolution: The Israeli/Arab Case: Read More [+]

DEVP 295 Implementation and Assessment of Internationally-Funded Development Projects 1 Unit

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
This course will bridge the gap between development theory and its application by sharing the challenges that arise from: i) the implementation of projects and programs supported by international financing institutions like IFAD; and ii) the assessment of their impact. Since the mandate of IFAD is to focus on fighting rural poverty, the seminar will cover a range of topics regarding: i) sectoral/sub-sectoral domains such as rural development, natural
resource management, and micro-finance; ii) vulnerable social groups such as indigenous people, marginal farmers, women and youth; and iii) key development processes such as targeting, empowerment, participatory planning, and monitoring and evaluation.
Implementation and Assessment of Internationally-Funded Development Projects: Read More [+]

DEVP 296 Innovative Finance for Development 1 Unit

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Spring 2017
This course will focus on the means and methods of finance applied to social, economic, and environmental challenges facing developing economies. It will survey the application of innovative financing emerging through new products and services, new processes and operations and organizational forms in addressing problems as diverse as entrepreneurial finance, renewable energy, environmental finance, global health, accelerating medical solutions, regional
development, affordable housing, urban revitalization and infrastructure.

Innovative Finance for Development: Read More [+]

DEVP 299 Independent Study 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2018, Fall 2017, Spring 2017
Supervised Independent Study and Research

Independent Study: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

*Indicates this person is a member of the MDP Executive Committee.

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Jennifer L. Bussell, Associate Professor. Comparative politics and political economy of development and governance in South Asia and Africa.
Research Profile

*Alain De Janvry, Professor. Agricultural & Resource Economics, Agriculture, poverty and inequality, quantitative analysis of development policies, impact analysis of social programs, technological innovations in agriculture, management of common property resources.
Research Profile

*Daniel Farber, Professor. Constitutional law, public choice and public law.
Research Profile

Louise Fortmann, Professor. Natural resource sociology, agriculture and community natural resource management in east and southern Africa; conservation and environment, political ecology, property, and democratizing science.
Research Profile

*Paul Gertler, Professor. Impact assessment, poverty alleviation and economic growth.
Research Profile

Wayne Marcus Getz, Professor. Population modeling epidemiology and resource wildlife management.
Research Profile

*Michael O'Hare, Professor. Arts Policy, Quantitative Methods, Environment, Public Management.
Research Profile

Isha Ray, Associate Professor. Water and development; Gender, water and sanitation; technology and development.
Research Profile

Thomas Reardon, Professor. Supply/value chains in sustainable development.
Research Profile

*Arthur L. Reingold, Professor. Epidemiology, emerging and re-emerging infections and vaccine preventable diseases in developing countries and the US.
Research Profile

David Roland Holst, Adjunct Professor. Economics related to environment, development, agriculture, and international trade.
Research Profile

George T. Scharffenberger, Lecturer, MDP Program Director. MDP Interactive Seminars.

Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, Associate Professor. Marketing & innovation.
Research Profile

Glenn Yago, Senior Fellow & Founder, Milken Institute. Financial innovations for sustainable development -- capital markets, emerging and frontier markets, and environmental finance.
Research Profile

*David Zilberman, Associate Professor, MDP Faculty Director. Agricultural and environmental policy, the economics of innovation, risk, marketing, water, and pest control; biotechnology and climate change, political economy.
Research Profile


Omar Romero-Hernandez, Lecturer. Project management.
Research Profile

Susan Carpenter, Lecturer. Dispute resolution practitioner and conflict resolution.
Research Profile

Mark Coopersmith, Senior Fellow Lecturer. Entrepreneurship.
Research Profile

John Danner, Senior Fellow Lecturer. Entrepreneurship.
Research Profile

Neil Popovic, Lecturer. International and environmental law.
Research Profile

Frank Schultz, Lecturer. Business and social sector strategy.

Contact Information

Development Practice Program

311 Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-1585

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Executive Director

David Zilberman, PhD

337 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-542-6570

Program Director

George Scharffenberger

311B Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-0262

Student Services Advisor

Lauren M. Krupa

311A Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-1462

Administrative Assistant

Terry Robinson-Kochi

311C Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-1585

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