Master's Program in Sustainable Development Announced

Students will be able to connect environmental topics to a range of societal problems through a news master's degree program. (Photo: AN NGUYEN/Shutterstock)

This fall, the first set of students in Columbia University’s master’s in development practice (MDP) program will begin their studies. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded nine universities in seven countries, a total of $7.6 million in grants to create this new master’s track.

“Through our work around the globe, we at MacArthur understand that poverty, population, health, conservation and human rights are all interconnected, requiring sustained and comprehensive interventions,” said Foundation President Jonathan Fanton. “These new programs are a model for training the next generation of these critically needed professionals.” Source: MacArthur

Students in the program will study agriculture, environmental science, economics, management and much more in both classroom and field settings. The program hopes to have 250 students graduate with their MDP in 2012.

In addition to Columbia University, the following institutions have received grant funding:

  • Emory University – Atlanta, Ga.
  • The Energy Resources Institute University – New Delhi, India
  • James Cook University – Cairns and Townsville, Australia
  • Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin – Dublin, Ireland
  • Tsinghua University – Beijing, China
  • University of Cheikh Anta Diop – Dakar, Senegal
  • University of Botswana – Gaborone, Botswana
  • University of Florida – Gainesville, Fla.
  • University of Ibadan – Ibadan, Nigeria

The program’s creation was based on a recommendation from a report by the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice (PDF). Other recommendations in the report include the need to establish core competencies for sustainable development practitioners, provide an opportunity for those in the industry to continue their professional development, and to create an MDP Secretariat and International Advisory Board.

The MDP Secretariat has already been created. Based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the secretariat will coordinate programs at the nine universities and help identify new partner universities. The MacArthur Foundation may provide funding for up to five new institutions in 2010.