MPA Development Practice

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)

The Masters of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) 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 MPA-DP is delivered by staff from all faculties across the university, in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills. 

The goal of this programme 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 with international organisations. The MPA in Development Practice 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 two internships including one in an internatinal organisation.

Candidates develop specialist skills in:

  • Economic Policy and Analysis
  • Statistics; Impact Measurement in Development
  • Research design, methodology, and methods
  • Sector analysis
  • Students also produce a dissertation on a specialist research area of their choice. 

Careers & Employability

A wide variety of careers will be open to graduates from this programme in overseas development assistance for public, private and non-governmental organizations. The programme also appeals to active professionals already working in these fields who wish to strengthen their qualification.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

To qualify for a place on the Master of Public Administration Development Practice, students must hold a primary degree with at least Second Class Honours Grade 1 (2H1) or equivalent in a relevant discipline.

University English language requirements apply for students whose first language is not English.

By the end of the programme a student should be able to:

  1. Explain the contemporary structure and challenges of development practice in areas of development management, development science and technology, development governance, development and global health, and development monitoring and evaluation

  2. Effectively participate in, and provide project management and team leadership for, development interventions

  3. Operate safely and effectively in fragile and post-conflict development situations

  4. Conduct professional program and policy evaluations

  5. Engage in a specialized area of development practice

  6. Work in teams

  7. Prepare and present briefings to high-level development practitioner and government policy makers

View All Modules Here

Y1 Core Modules Include (Students Must Only Take Core Modules in Year 1 EXCEPT CSSL40120  MDP Thesis which is taken in Year 2 ):

AESC40670    Human Impact Environment 
POL42360      Research Methods in Political Science 
POL41860      Governance Politics & Dev 
POL42080      Global Classroom 
LAW40760      NGO: Law, Governance and Social Change
MEDN40080   Global Health 
CSSL40100     Fieldwork I  


Y2 Core Module

CSSL40120     MDP Thesis 


Y2 Optional Modules Include (Students Choose One Stream):

Streams include: 

Policy Impact and Evaluation (PIE)

  1. COMP40610  Information Visualisation
  2. CSSL40010    Public Administration and Policy 
  3. POL40950      Introduction to Statistics 
  4. ECON41820   Econometrics 
  5. ECON42590   Experiments in Economics 
  6. ECON42690  The Market for Lab, Land & SDG
  7. ENVP40040 Tools for Sust Development
  8. ENVP40180 European Environmental Policy
  9. ENVP40200 Environmental Risk & Behaviour
  10. ENVP40210 Climate Politics and Policy
  11. GEOG40770 GIS for Env. Assessment
  12. GEOG40860 Practical Env. Assessment
  13. HACT40060 Advanced Management in HA
  14. LAW40120 Environmental Law&Policy (PG)
  15. PHPS40230 One Health
  16. POL40160 Comparative Public Policy
  17. POL40820 Governing the Global Economy
  18. POL40950 Introduction to Statistics
  19. RDEV40150 Policies&Strat for SustAgri&RD
  20. RDEV40170 Management
  21. RDEV40560 Agricultural Extension & Innov
  22. SPOL40450 Evidence-Based Policy Making

Conflict/Post-Conflict Interventions (CPCI)

  1. POL41720    Gender, Peace and Security
  2. POL41910    Political Violence 
  3. POL41930    Psychology of Conflict in MENA 
  4. GS40050      Gender War and Violence 

Environment and Agriculture (EA)

  1. ENVB40130    Global Change Ecology 
  2. AESC40440    Biodiversity & Ecosys Serv 
  3. RDEV40150    Policies&Strat for SustAgri&RD 
  4. RDEV 40490   Sustainable Agriculture 
  5. RDEV40300    Rural Enterprises 
  6. ENVP40040    Tools for Sust Development 
  7. PLAN40190     Environmental Assessment 
  8. LAW40120       Environmental Law and Policy

Global Public Health (GPH)

  1. NMHS40700  Public Health Nursing: Principles and Theory
  2. PHPS40010  Fundamentals of Epidemiology 
  3. PHPS40040  Public Health Practice & Policy
  4. RDEV40200  Public Health 
  5. PHPS40190  Biostatistics I 
  6. PHPS40460  Biostatistics II 
  7. PHPS40650  International Health in Action
  8. PHPS40690  Public Health Nutrition - FS
  9. PHPS40850  Sociology&Social Epidemiology
  10. PHPS40430  SDGs and Global Health

MPA Development Practice (W412) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 9935
nonEU    fee per year - € 19900

MPA Development Practice (W413) Part Time
nonEU    fee per year - € 9950

***Fees are subject to change

MPA Development Practice (W412) Full Time 

EU                   fee per year         -  € 9,350

nonEU             fee per year         -  € 18,700


***Fees are subject to change

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.


Year 1

Students undertake one within-country placement. This will be GPA Neutral.

Year 2

Students undertake internships in leading international organisations. Professional research placements will be run across governments, in partnership with universities, in developing countries for OECD students but in developed countries for non-OECD students.



The placements can be with the private sector or civil society once they align with the Sustainable Development Goals project and have been accredited by the UN either as members of the UN Major Groups or have signed up to the UN Compact or the UN PRI frameworks.

To qualify for a place on the Master of Public Administration Development Practice, students must hold a primary degree with at least Second Class Honours Grade 1 (2H1) or equivalent in a relevant discipline.

University English language requirements apply for students whose first language is not English.

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes