Institutions, Governance, and International Development: Salvador, Brazil

in Salvador, Brazil at Universidad Federal da Bahia (UFBA)

This course will not be offered in 2016. Check back in September 2016 for updates on a 2017 offering.

2013 dates were: Tuesday, January 1 (arrival day) - Sunday, January 13 (departure day), 2013. First day of class is Thursday, January 3, last day of class is Saturday, January 12. Note: The course begins on the evening of Wednesday, January 2 with a welcome at the hotel.

The Course

PADM-GP 2201 | Syllabus

Map of BrazilInternational development is a hotly contested and highly politicized field. This course carves out a narrow slice of this large pie and introduces students to the theory and practice of institutional reform in developing countries. It gives special emphasis to the case of Brazil. Throughout the 20th century, and similar to many other developing nations, Brazil has experienced deep economic transformations. Moreover, in recent decades it has enacted a range of institutional reforms to promote social inclusion, environmental protection, and business growth. Despite marked success in a number of areas, the country still struggles to promote good governance, empower its citizenry, create jobs, and raise millions out of poverty.

What can we learn from these experiences? It would be nice if we could isolate blueprints, pre-packaged tools, formulas and other ready-to-use frameworks. Unfortunately, these resources rarely work as intended. Rather, this course encourages students to analyze the theories that underpin existing initiatives, identify principles of action, and use their policy imagination to adapt findings to other contexts. A combination of lectures, class discussions, exercises, and field visits will help in this task.

This course is a joint activity of NYU Wagner and the School of Management and the Collective Health Institute (ISC) at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). Brazilian and US-based students and faculty will participate in all activities and all instruction will be conducted in English.

Portuguese language skills will be useful but are not required.

Visit UFBA's website for photos of the campus and facilities.

Course prerequisites: None

Mandatory Pre-departure Sessions:

Friday, November 2 (4:30pm - 6 pm) - Pre-departure orientation for those who obtain registration to the course.

Mid-December (date TBD) (4pm, time and location to be confirmed) - Pre-departure class with Salo Coslovsky and Sandro Cabral and UFBA students

Mandatory Post-Brazil Session:

End of January (time and date TBD) - Course de-brief and final project due date


Half-day field visits (usually in the afternoons) are an integral part of the course and will allow students to interact with researchers, government officials, representatives from non-profits, and policymakers in Brazil to understand the challenges they face and how they operate on the ground.

Field visits (tentative / subject to change):

  • Programa de Saúde da Família (primary health care program)
  • Bolsa Familia (conditional cash transfer administration)
  • Industrial Park in Camaçari
  • Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial – SENAI (labor training program)
  • UPP Calabar (community police)
  • SEDHAM (Secretary for Municipal Planning)


Program Costs

Tuition: $4,500, plus registration and support fees. Click here for more information on tuition and fees.

Program and lodging fee (nonrefundable): $1,300.00. This fee includes lodging (see below), breakfast, activities, transportation to/from the hotel to the UFBA campus, pre-departure orientations, and on-site administrative support. Students will be responsible for any meals not covered in the fee. The fee is due October 19, 2012 and payable by credit card only. The activity fee is separate from the standard tuition, registration and support fees, and does not appear on the NYU Bursar's bill.

Lodging and Logistics

Participants will stay at the Hotel Paraguacu in Salvador, Brazil. All rooms include private bathrooms, free internet, air conditioning, refrigerators, telephones, and safes. The hotel also includes several common areas and courtyards for small group meetings, 24-hour security, a business center, laundry service and free traditional Bahian breakfasts. Rooms are double-occupancy. A private van will transport participants to/from the hotel to the classroom and group activities. Click here for a map of the hotel.

For more information about and photos of Salvador, Brazil, visit Wikitravel, the NY Times Travel Guide, and Frommers. The New York Times also published this helpful guide. All participants will receive a detailed guide prior to travel.

Travel Information

Flight: Participants must book and pay for their own flights, and should do so as early as possible. Participants will be provided with additional resources regarding travel parameters. Participants are responsible for ground travel cost and arrangements to and from the airport in Brazil and in the US.

Passport: All program participants are required to have a valid passport, which must be valid for up to 6 months after course date, not before.

Tourist Visa: See Brazil's Consulate-General of New York's website for directions on how to apply for a "tourist" (not "student" or "business") visa.

Travel Handbook and Pre-departure Sessions: All participants will receive a travel handbook with further information and resources to prepare to travel to Brazil. All participants will be required to attend two pre-departure sessions, one on November 2 at 4:30pm, and one in mid-December before final exams.


Registration and Information


The request for registration application will be available September 4 through September 28 (see request for registration information above on upper right). Students will be notified on October 12 regarding their status in the course. For students who have been approved to enroll in the course, the $1,300.00 activity and lodging fee (deposit) will be due October 19 via a credit card form sent electronically to students. Once the deposit is received, NYU Wagner will register students for the course.

Upper-level undergraduate students seeking to take the course for credit must first gain approval from their advisor and forward the approval to to seek approval.

Non-matriculated and non-NYU participants should contact for directions on how to apply.

For all inquiries about the program, contact, or call 212-998-7411.