A career in international development or other global fields requires a broad understanding of international institutions, economics and politics, but some people with specific interests or career aspirations may wish to gain a deeper understanding of particular sub-fields.  Accordingly, there are a number of relevant areas that Wagner offers greater depth in through regular course offerings, including economic growth and inequality, organizations and management in international contexts, international public and social finance, environment and sustainability, human rights and humanitarian aid, global health and food security, and global governance.  A few of these areas cover broad territory and are further organized into more refined clusters of courses.


Below is an overview of the required coursework. For detailed information, view the program checksheet

DEGREE CORE requirements

CORE-GP.1011, Statistical Methods
CORE-GP.1018, Microeconomics
CORE-GP.1020, Management and Leadership
CORE-GP.1021, Financial Management
CORE-GP.1022, Introduction to Public Policy

Specialization Requirements

Students complete the following courses:

PADM-GP.2201, Institutions, Governance, and International Development
PADM-GP.2202, Politics of International Development
PADM-GP.2203, Economics of International Development


Focus Areas

Focus Areas are optional groupings of courses to help you choose electives. You can go deeper in your specialization and develop more advanced skills by choosing electives within the specialization-related focus areas below. To pursue depth in a focus area we suggest completing 9 credits. To pursue breadth, you may also choose electives across focus areas. 

Growth, Sustainability, and Inequality

Global relationships are being reshaped by economic growth together with widening inequalities. Building from PADM-GP 2203 Economics of International Development, these courses explore growth and inequality among countries and regions.

PADM-GP.2138, Macroeconomics, Global Markets, and Policy
PADM-GP.2150, Financial Markets and Crises
PADM-GP.2214, Constructing National Development Strategies
PADM-GP.2472, Climate Economics
URPL-GP.2625, Environmental Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities

Organizations and Management in International Contexts

Courses in this focal area draw on theory and practice from organization and management studies to explore the  human, behavioral, functional and operational dynamics of organizations operating in a global context or focusing on development goals within an international political economy. Clusters below allow students to concentrate on particular entry points or to mix and match in ways that help address career preferences.

PADM-GP.2139, Behavioral Economics and Public Policy Design
PADM-GP.2173, Operations Management
PADM-GP.2186, Leadership and Social Transformation
PADM-GP.2211, Program Development and Management for International Organizations
PADM-GP.2430, Multi-Sector Partnerships: A Comparative Perspective
URPL-GP.2665, Decentralized Development Planning and Policy Reform in Developing Countries
PADM-GP.4186, Leadership and Social Transformation
PADM-GP.4212, Managing Humanitarian Challenges
PADM-GP.4217, Accountability in Humanitarian Assistance
PADM-GP.4322, Data and AI Strategies for Social Impact Organizations
URPL-GP.4665, Decentralized Development Planning and Policy Reform in Developing Countries

International Finance 

Courses in this focal area draw on theory and practice from public and social finance and social impact investment.  Many of the courses have some international focus and all have international relevance.  There are two clusters, one which focuses more on public sector finance and one which covers social enterprises and social impact investment.

PADM-GP.2138, Macroeconomics, Global Markets, and Policy
PADM-GP.2142, Financial Management II
PADM-GP.2150, Financial Markets and Crises
PADM-GP.2245, Financing Local Government in Developing Countries
URPL-GP.2652, Urban Infrastructure Project Planning

Health, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Aid

Courses in this focal area focus on operational challenges to operating in fragile, conflict, and disaster settings, supporting advocacy to advance health, human rights and humanitarian concerns, and understanding the contextual factors that shape operational and policy success.

PADM-GP.2173, Operations Management
PADM-GP.2204, Development Assistance, Accountability and Aid Effectiveness
PADM-GP.2213, Immigration Politics and Policy -- Past and Present
HPAM-GP.2244, Global Health Governance and Management
URPL-GP.2645, Planning for Emergencies and Disasters
HPAM-GP.2852, Comparative Analysis of Health Systems
PADM-GP.4212, Managing Humanitarian Challenges
PADM-GP.4217, Accountability in Humanitarian Assistance

School-wide Focus Areas

In addition to the courses in the specialization-related elective focus areas above, to gain a breadth of knowledge and skills you may also wish to choose electives from across course offerings, including from the school-wide focus areas or a different specialization. Relevant school-wide focus areas for you to consider as an International Development student include, Environment and Climate ChangeNonprofit and Government Organizations; Philanthropy and FundraisingSocial Justice and Democracy; and more


The Capstone Program, a year-long consulting or research project, puts you out in the world resolving a problem or conducting an analysis for a client organization.

Students must complete the following courses:

CAP-GP.3226 & 3227 Capstone: Advanced Projects in International Development Policy and Management I & II


CAP-GP 3148 & 3149 Capstone: Advanced Research Projects in Quantitative Analysis I & II