Skip navigation

Certificate in International Development

  • Campus: Washington DC
  • Program Duration: Accelerated; One Semester | Part-Time is available

Contact Us

Office of Non-Degree Programs 
555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
[email protected]


The Certificate in International Development incorporates an interdisciplinary approach to the study of developing countries. Gain the skills and knowledge to conceptualize issues through social, political, economic and environmental aspects of development.

Program Duration

You will have the option to complete the four-course certificate either full-time or part-time. Accelerated certificate students enroll full-time in the fall or spring and complete all four courses in one semester. Part-time certificate students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer term and can complete the four courses in any time frame.


  • Comparative Politics
  • 3 Electives offered by or cross-listed with the International Development or Development, Climate, and Sustainability departments

Featured Courses

Develop expertise in human and economic development, social change, or health care and education reform.


Global Health Policy

The world’s countries—low, middle and high-income alike—face numerous health challenges, many shaped by processes connected to globalization. These include combating the HIV/AIDS pandemic, addressing non-communicable diseases, expanding health coverage and ensuring effective global governance for health. This course will examine these and other issues with an emphasis on facilitating your understanding and critical analysis of central issues in global health policy, and examining the role you can play to address health conditions—particularly those that affect disadvantaged populations.

The course is highly participatory and includes simulations, case analyses, small and large group discussions and lectures. Requirements include writing a global health policy analysis on an issue of your choice, presentation of that analysis in a class symposium and a take home examination. The course is divided into four sections. In the introductory part of the course we will explore several critical issues concerning global health: the contours of the field, the aims of global health, the complex determinants of health outcomes and the ethical bases for promoting health. We will then move on to consider a set of health problems that have particularly severe impact on disadvantaged populations, including HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and non-communicable diseases. In the third part of the course we will consider some of the fundamental challenges in global health governance, including expanding health coverage and addressing global health security. In the final part of the course you will engage a topic selected by the class, present and participate in a class symposium on global health, and examine the future of global health.


International Migration, Diasporas and Development

While there are fierce debates on the impact of immigration on advanced industrial countries, the effects of emigration and diasporas on the source country are poorly understood. This seminar will seek to understand the economic, political and social consequences of international migration and diasporas on countries of origin.

Is the phenomenon of greater import in the current (and future) context than it has historically been and if so, why? How do selection characteristics of international migrants and reasons for leaving – whether as students, workers or refugees – affect the country of origin? What are the human capital effects ranging from the “brain-drain” of limited human capital to “brain-gain” effects arising and social norms and thereby influence social and political change? When do diasporas engage in “long- distance” nationalism that support more polar political parties and groups from diasporic networks? What are the different forms of economic engagement of diasporas with their countries of origin, ranging from remittances to trade to FDI, and why do these vary? Do diasporas transmit "social" remittances which reshape individual preferences engaged in conflict and civil wars? And what are the effects of destination country policies on immigrant selection, assimilation and deportation on the above questions?


Food Policy, Systems and Security

This course reviews the political landscape of food in high-, middle- and low-income countries and their interconnected food systems. Ensuring food security for the global population is a grand challenge and one that has many contentious issues. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

In order for the global population to be food secure, we need functional, sustainable food systems. However, food systems and the political framing of how they function, are complex networks of individuals and institutions. Depending on policies, food systems determine the availability, affordability and nutritional quality of the food supply, and influence the amount and combination of foods that people are willing and able to consume. Agriculture-led economic growth of countries, the health and nutrition of populations, and environmental sustainability of landscapes are all significant factors of how public policies are made and directed. Conflicts regarding land, technology, natural resources, subsidies, inequity and trade are all being played out in the food policy arena. Students who take this course will become familiar with both domestic and international food policy processes and typologies along with the key players in the international landscape, and will be able to critically analyze and debate how policy and science interact with regard to food security.


International and Comparative Political Economy of Developing Countries

The main aim of the course is the study of the main international and domestic factors behind the economic and political development and under-development of the countries in the world that are not identified or categorized as ‘advanced’ or ‘mature’ capitalist economies.

While the focus of the course is on countries that are not considered rich or developed (most countries in the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East), we will refer to and use material throughout the course that also covers the rich countries and emerging market ones inasmuch as: 1) they were once underdeveloped or have developed recently, and this experience sheds light on those that have not managed to develop or ‘catch up’; and 2) their own growth and development has been in many cases a cause why others have remained undeveloped (i.e. colonialism, imperialism, dependency). The main analytical tools for the study of the international component come from concepts, theories, case studies, and data from the sub-field of International Political Economy (IPE). In turn, the main tools for the study of the domestic component of developing countries come from the sub-field of Comparative Political Economy (CPE). Hence, the course identifies key overlapping international and domestic factors that have led some countries to be poorer, less developed and more vulnerable than the advanced or mature capitalist ones.

Learn from the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Jeremy Shiffman

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Health Policy

Advance Your Career

As a certificate student, you will have access to Global Career services including career fairs, professional skills courses and the Handshake platform to view and apply to job postings from employers recruiting at John Hopkins SAIS. Accelerated certificate students also gain access to career coaching.

Recent Employers

  • Amazon
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Embassy of Greece
  • Embassy of Indonesia
  • Embassy of Norway
  • Ernst and Young
  • Gartner
  • The Federal Reserve
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • McKinsey and Company
  • National Geographic
  • Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • S&P Global
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • State Department
  • United States Marine Corps
  • United States Navy
  • World Bank Group

Build Your Network

Strengthen and build the skills and network needed to work effectively in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors of international development.

Attendees of SAIS CARI Conference

Students gain first-hand insights on a wide-range of topics from global experts during events hosted at the school every week.

Students walking in DC

The school's strategic location provides students with invaluable networking opportunities.

photo of tebogo

On the Fast-Track to Advancing My Career

"While studying at Johns Hopkins SAIS, I was very impressed with the faculty and coursework, which gave me an unprecedented learning experience."

View Story

photo of zoe

Developing Expertise in International Development

Zoe Rimba reflects on her experience pursuing a Certificate in International Development and what it is like to be a part of the Johns Hopkins SAIS community.

View Story

Program Information

Learn more about the requirements to complete the Certificate in International Development and visa sponsorship for international students.


You will be required to complete two courses: Comparative Politics and one course in economic development. The two remaining courses should be offered by or cross-listed with the International Development Program.

Learn More

Visas for Non-US Applicants

The school is able to sponsor F-1 visas for international applicants enrolling in the accelerated certificate program in the fall or spring term or enrolling full-time in the summer term, which is the equivalent of two classes.