The accelerated Master of Arts degree in International Development and Social Change (IDSC) emphasizes the connection between critical thinking and effective action. It is designed for scholars of international development, as well as for present and future practitioners of grassroots and community-based development.
The challenge for the 21st-century is to promote just and aquitable development and sustain environmental resources through critical thought and reflection, planning, and action. The IDCE Department and the IDSC Program stress approaches that foster alliances and partnerships between local institutions and broader stakeholders such as external develoopment agencies, universities, and state and non-governmental organizations.
This master’s program helps students conceptualize innovative approaches to development problems by building an understanding of the complex causes, influences and implications of poverty, inequality, social injustice, and conflict. Rooted in the belief that effective approaches merge many disciplines, the IDSC MA employs a cross-disciplinary focus, with faculty from anthropology, development studies, economics, environmental sciences, women and gender studies, education, geography, history, government, and management.
Departmental Eligibility Requirements
This program is open primarily to ID majors who have successfully met departmental and University requirements. A student must declare an intention to register for honors work no later than the end of spring semester of the junior year and achieve a 3.5 GPA in the ID major. They must complete an honors thesis or honors research project and graduate with honors. Students from other majors may apply to the IDSC ADP program, but they must meet the same criteria, mentioned above - within their respective major - in order to be considered eligible for the IDSC ADP.
Students are required to meet with the International Development and Social Change Accelerated Degree Program advisor as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting is intended to assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations. The student applies to the MA program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off-cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.
Program of Study
The IDSC Master’s degree requires 12 graduate course units. Students enter the fifth year (ADP) having completed two graduate IDCE course units (taken in the senior year of the undergraduate major) and that transfer from the undergraduate degree into the graduate year transcript. These are the two upper-level (300-level) IDCE courses required for the major, which count both toward the completion of the ID undergraduate major and toward the ID Accelerated MA degree.
In the senior year, students take two graduate-level (300-level) International Development and Social Change (IDSC) courses - and taught by core IDSC program faculty - related to their interests in international development and which are credited toward the Accelerated M.A. degree. Students must achieve a grade of a B- or better for each of these two graduate courses and earn a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) in the ID major, and complete an honors thesis or an honors research project in their senior year, and graduate with honors.
Graduate (MA) Year
In the graduate year (two semesters), students take ten additional course units, including the three required courses (listed below) and four elective concentration courses, two graduate internships, and a final course unit (see the IDSC MA degree program for the final course unit options):
Requirements and required courses
- IDCE 360 - Development Theory
- IDCE 361 - Development Program and Project Management
- IDCE 30217 - Economic Fundamentals for International Development
- Two course units must be taken as graduate internships - IDCE 398 - after completion of the senior year (usually done in the summer prior to starting the two ADP/MA semesters - and/or in the summer following the completion of the two ADP/MA semesters.
A year-long (two course units) academic internship - may also be taken after completion of the senior year and may be counted as two graduate course units toward the master’s - if that internship is part of a funded academic fellowship through Clark, such as year-long Fulbright or Boren Fellowships. This year-long academic internship must have prior approval from the University’s Graduate School for the returning student to remain eligible for the ADP program.
- Four elective courses - along with the two graduate level IDCE courses taken in the senior year - form the area of specialization or concentration (see the IDSC MA degree program for the IDCE concentration options and courses). IDSC ADP students may, with the approval of their academic advisor, elect to ‘self-design’ their area of specialization or concentration, however, only official concentration designations will appear on academic transcripts and not self-designed concentrations.
- Final MA Project (1 unit) - There are several options:
- Thesis (after approval of a proposal, with two Faculty Readers) - Typically for those considering a doctoral path or professional research path.
- Research Paper (one Reader) - Typically based on secondary data analysis.
- Practitioner Paper (one Reader) - A deliverable based on the student’s professional experience (e.g. consultancy).
- Collaborative Final Project- (led by faculty) - Tackling larger problems and issues, and providing students with team-based experience that reflects the professional setting.
- A 3rd Methods/Skills focus via extra one Unit/Course and related to the student’s concentration or self-designed course of study.
Students in this program may take longer than the fifth-year (two semesters) to complete the requirements for graduation. In such cases, students must register as a non-resident if they do not complete the requirements in time for August degree conferral (following their two ADP semesters). Students have up to two semesters of non-residency status (fall and spring following the completion of the two ADP semesters) to complete all requirements for the IDSC ADP Master’s degree.
Students will pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study. Students also pay a $20 graduate activity fee and a $25 IDCE student activity fee in the fall and spring semesters as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $100. Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.
Students in the Accelerated Degree Program are allowed two semesters of non-residency status after the fifth year presumably to complete research and the practitioners report or master’s paper. Please note there is a $200 fee (per semester) associated with the non-residency status registration.
Students are required to meet with the designated degree adviser and have them sign the Accelerated Degree Program Adviser Form. The signed form confirms the student and program adviser have discussed the requirements of the program. This form is also available on the Graduate Admissions website.
The designated program adviser is:
Professor Nigel Brissett
*Once you have started your fifth year, you may be assigned a different academic adviser.
Any students considering applying to the Accelerated Degree Program should read and understand the Accelerated Degree Program Policies and Procedures .
Advice for prospective students
Students in the MA program benefit from field experience in international development. Students are encouraged to do field work abroad. Students can identify appropriate internships, work abroad, and other opportunities through Career Services or consult with their major advisors and the Accelerated BA/Master’s Degree Program advisor in IDSC. Students may contact IDCE Career Development for more information about internships.