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-seven graduate programs in twenty-seven 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 has completed a basic degree 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 on a 9-point scale (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 the 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. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  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, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions 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.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Organizations. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.


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 Boot Camp, 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


Fall Semester, Year One
DEVP 222Economics of Sustainable Resource Development3
DEVP 228Strategic Planning and Project Management3
DEVP 229Quantitative Methods and Impact Evaluation3
DEVP 232Foundations of Public Health2
DEVP 239Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar2
Spring Semester, Year One
DEVP 227Principles of Natural Resource Management2
DEVP 233Law, Politics, and Policymaking3
DEVP 237Leadership, Conflict Resolution, and Community Development3
DEVP 239Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar2
DEVP C253International Economic Development Policy3
Summer Semester
Individual Project-Based Practicum International or Domestic
Fall Semester, Year Two
DEVP 221Climate, Energy and Development3
Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Product Development Course(s)3
DEVP 239Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar2
Spring Semester, Year Two
DEVP 299Independent Study1-4
or DEVP 298 Course Not Available
DEVP 239Interactive/Multidisciplinary Seminar2


Development Practice

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. Reingoldc, 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

Visit Program Website

Executive Director

David Zilberman, PhD

337 Giannini Hall

Phone: 510-542-6570

Program Director

George Scharffenberger

311B Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-0262

Director, Career & Student Services

Lisa Robinson

311A Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-1462

Administrative Assistant

Christopher Young

311C Wellman Hall

Phone: 510-642-1585

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