The Master in Development Practice (MDP) is a world leading
and uniquely innovative programme that blends science
and social science to further international development.
It is part of a global network with a Secretariat at the Earth
Institute, Columbia University in New York (and was the only
programme to receive seed funding in Europe in the first
round). In the programme, students are exposed to leading
edge scientific and social science techniques and researchers
in order to develop international development solutions. The
MDP is part of the only global educational network of its kind,
involving 24 universities across all continents. In it, students
receive leading edge transdisciplinary training in four “pillars”
– health, natural, social, and management sciences.
The MDP is led by the Trinity School of Natural Science and
University College Dublin School of Politics and International
Relations, and delivered by staff from all faculties across
the universities, in collaboration with leading scientific
researchers, and national and international organisations with
specialist skills. The goal 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 in developing country
contexts, and in international organisations.
The MDP has five innovative elements that distinguish it from any
other M.Sc. in Ireland. It is the first joint Trinity UCD degree (joint
degree and parchment). Synergies between the two institutions
are vital to compete and deliver at world-class level. Secondly, this
innovative course utilises a modular structure to develop student
capabilities to understand theories, practices, and languages
of different specialities. Students develop deep analytical and
practical skills across four core pillars of the programme.
Specialist skills are formed across a range of areas including
research design, methodology, and methods (with training
in cutting edge scientific quantitative, qualitative, and digital
tools and techniques, including GIS and climate modelling);
Tropical agriculture; Development economics; Health; Gender;
Climate change and Climate justice; Science, technology and
sustainable development; Impact measurement; Post-conflict
situations; Governance and politics; Globalisation and African
development; and Language training. Students also produce a
dissertation drawing upon research conducted during fieldwork
modules. These have attracted attention from policy-makers,
such as the Minister of Education in Rwanda.
Thirdly, it combines a range of teaching and learning approaches
both in the seminar room and in the field. Students engage in a
minimum of eighteen class-room based modules and four workbased
placements to gain hands-on practical experience during
the programme. In year one, students undertake two placements.
Firstly, students complete a research project with an Irish Based
International Development Non-Governmental Organisation.
Secondly, they spend up to three months completing crossdisciplinary
fieldwork in a developing location. To date, students
have undertaken fieldwork in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra
Leone, Senegal, and Brazil.
In year two, students undertake two further placements. Firstly,
students attend the UN Training School and take part in the
UN Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) training programme.
The exercise involves experiential learning on Civil-Military
Co-Operation (CIMIC) and UN CMCoord in a complex, unstable,
post-conflict setting. Students participate by role playing in
UN bodies and NGOs coordinated in collaboration with the
Irish Rapid Response Initiative for Irish Aid. Secondly, students
undertake internships in leading international organisations. To
date, students have taken placements with UN Women, WHO,
FAO, OECD, World Bank, UNESCAP, and a multitude of other
Fourthly, students have the opportunity to collaborate in a global
community through their participation in the Global Classroom,
a web-based capability, managed by the Earth Institute, to bring
students and teachers from across world together to engage in
collective classes and educational innovation.
Fifthly, students engage with leading experts, practitioners, and
academics both in the classroom and in the field. The MDP
is delivered jointly by Trinity and UCD in collaboration with a
number of key partners, including the National University of
Rwanda, The Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation, and
a wide number of national and international organisations with
specialist skills in development practice. Students are jointly
registered at Trinity and UCD.
The course is jointly taught by Trinity and University College
Dublin academic staff, and a joint award at the Masters level, with
an exit Postgraduate Diploma, is offered to successful graduands
by both universities. Students have joint institutional registration
on the course. The Admissions Committee strongly recommend
early applications, especially from international students, as we
are reviewing applications on a regular basis. We aim to turn
around all completed applications within 2 weeks from date of
submission (of all documents).
Information for international students