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International Development

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International Development
Ada Ho, Academic Program Coordinator
1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Suite 728
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5943


Join the next generation of global leaders addressing urgent needs in health, agricultural, economic, and human development. Learn more about how governments, donors, the private sector, and civil society are changing the developing world, and sharpen the tools you plan to use to help make the world a better place.

Become an Expert

Take your learning outside the classroom by conducting field work and research around the world. Study with professors renowned for their scholarship in development theory and policy and program evaluation, as well as faculty who have designed and managed development assistance programs.

Gain real-world experience working with a non-government organization, private company, international agency, or local government through a hands-on practicum project in the form of a publishable report, policy, or program. Create valuable contacts with potential employers and translate your knowledge into practice.


Featured Courses

Develop the expertise to critically analyze international political, economic, and social questions from a variety of perspectives.


Global Health Policy

The field of global health has been radically transformed over the last several decades through increasing international aid for health programs, a diversification of actors, and a general rise in interest about global health issues.

The changes have had tremendous impact on wellbeing, brought new visibility and new legitimacy to the study and practice of global health, but have also highlighted and sometimes exacerbated issues of policy and practice. Through lectures, readings and class discussion students will be exposed to the history, theory and practice of global health policy (GHP) from the perspectives of public health, economics, and international relations. Students will deepen their understanding through case studies and engaging in debates on present-day topics and controversies in GHP. Topics covered in the class include: the governance of global health through national, multilateral and private institutions, legal, and operational frameworks for prevention and control of global health crises such as pandemics or bioterrorism, the international response to HIV/AIDS, the history and practice of global health diplomacy, the politics of reproductive health, trade agreements and health, intellectual property and access to medicines, and eradicating polio and other infectious diseases. Students will hear from expert guest discussants with practical experience in these areas.


Improving Service Delivery in Developing Countries

Basic services such as drinking water, sanitation, solid waste management, and public transport are essential to development, yet in many countries their provision remains extremely problematic.

In this course, we review the main challenges to effective and reliable service delivery, roles of key players, and how these roles have been changing over time. We begin by discussing the role of the state in service provision, why some services are harder to provide, or some populations more difficult to serve. Next, we focus on four sectors: drinking water, sanitation, solid waste, and public transport. We will discuss problems specific to each sector, policies and programs used to address these challenges, to what extent they have been successful and why, and what approaches may work in the future. We will highlight innovations in service delivery: clearer incentives for regular service provision, strengthening municipal financing, and integrating the private sector and communities into service provision. Students will study the costs associated with service delivery; service delivery planning; tools used for benchmarking utilities; and innovations in financing services.


Social Entrepreneurship: Driving Innovation in Development

Social Entrepreneurship: Driving Innovation in Development is focused on understanding social entrepreneurship and the challenges of building sustainable, impactful businesses that address critical underserved needs in emerging global marketplaces.

The course aims to create in each student an appreciation of the qualities, values, and skills of social entrepreneurs and also entrepreneurial opportunities in critical sectors of human need in complex, resource-constrained markets that are plagued by fragmented infrastructure, inadequate institutions, and other governance challenges. Students will learn first-hand how businesses serving the needs of the poor contribute to community development and “do well by doing good.” The capstone project in the course is a group presentation based on a partnership with an existing social enterprise, or a newly conceptualized social enterprise based on student ideas.


International Development Practicum

Gain the tools and opportunity to work closely with an external client on a development problem.

The practicum will provide you with the tools and opportunity to work with an external client on a development problem or opportunity. You will join a team of students to work closely with the client to produce a high quality output in the form of a publishable report, policy, or program that may be implemented by the client. In addition to allowing you to translate your knowledge into practice, the practicum experience also allows you to make valuable contacts with potential employers.

Learn From the Best

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

Tanvi Nagpal

Associate Practitioner in Residence, Director of the International Development Program

Daniel Honig

Assistant Professor of International Development

Deborah Bräutigam

Bernard L. Schwartz Professor in International Political Economy, Director of China-Africa Research Initiative

Jeremy Shiffman

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Health Policy

In the News

How the private sector views Iran’s economy.

Sanam Vakil participated in Chatham House webinar, 6/24

Iran's 'Ancient Sport' not a man's world anymore.

Sanam Vakil quoted on Radio Free Europe, 6/20

China's debt relief fails indebted African countries.

Deborah Bräutigam cited in Taiwan News, 6/20

Finally, a one-stop shop for researching food systems data.

Jessica Fanzo cited in A Green Living blog, 6/19

Africa seen getting more debt relief from China than bondholders.

Deborah Bräutigam cited in Bloomberg, 6/18

What to make of China’s debt relief announcement.

Deborah Bräutigam cited in The Diplomat, 6/11

'Halal' internet means more control in Iran after unrest.

Sanam Vakil quoted in The Daily Dispatcher, 6/11

East Asia decouples from the United States: Trade war, COVID-19, and East Asia's new trade blocs.

Michael G. Plummer wrote for Peterson Institute for International Economics, 6/11

The EU plan for the economic recovery.

Gianfranco Pasquino interviewed on Forbes DACH, 6/10

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Advance Your Career

Recent Internships

  • Athena Infonomics
  • The Asia Foundation
  • Chemonics
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Mann Deshi Foundation
  • Save the Children
  • UN Women

Recent Employers

  • Castalia 
  • DAI 
  • Japan International Cooperation Agency 
  • McKinsey & Company 
  • Mercy Corps 
  • USAID 
  • World Bank Group 
  • World Resources Institute

Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students on a study trip

IDEV students experience hands-on learning through study trips where they gain the expertise on how to solve real-world problems.

Johns Hopkins SAIS group project

An IDEV student practicum team in Taiwan works with their client, New Balance.

Acquiring the Knowledge to Build a Peaceful and Sustainable Future in the Heart of Washington, DC

"The opportunity to study alongside leading practitioners in the heart of international affairs in Washington, DC, has exceeded my expectations of what I would gain from a master’s degree."

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Gaining a Competitive Edge in International Economics and Development

"At Johns Hopkins SAIS, I have met a great deal of people who have contributed to my knowledge and influenced my view of current issues."

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Jul 2 9:30 am - 11:00 am Online SAIS Event

Risky Business: New Data on Chinese Loans and Africa’s Debt Problem

From modest beginnings in 1960, China has recently become a highly visible actor in Africa’s lending landscape. The World Bank recently released data on official debt to China in 37...

Beyond the Classroom

Find sustainable solutions to ending poverty, disease, and exclusion.

SAIS Perspectives

SAIS Perspectives is the flagship publication of the International Development program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. The publication provides a forum for the discussion of critical, cutting-edge topics, proposing innovative ways of thinking about the practice and policy of international development. Students in particular are encouraged to utilize the platform for constructive debate, nuanced thinking and creative proposals.


Development Roundtable

This student-led speaker series is a forum advancing discussion of current issues in the field and ideas for improving outcomes. The series hosts influential speakers from the academic, policy, and government sectors.

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China-Africa Research Institute (CARI)

CARI was set up to promote research, conduct evidence-based analysis, foster collaboration, and train future leaders to better understand the economic and political dimensions of China-Africa relations and their implications for human security and global development. Students become involved with CARI as research assistants and attending their annual conference.


Social Enterprise Accelerator Fund (SAF)

A joint cooperation with JHU's Social Innovation Lab (SIL), the SAF is an experiential learning opportunity open to all JHU full-time students. Its purpose is to supports JHU-connected early-stage social enterprises that operate globally, possess strong business fundamentals and are poised for significant growth. Through SAF, students will leverage their talent to improve the livelihoods of poor communities worldwide by accelerating the impact of proven social ventures at scale.

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Development Society

This extracurricular club offers networking opportunities with alumni and professionals active in the international development field. The club shares tips for job seeking, interviewing, and navigating the development community on and around campus.

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Networking Events

Network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring your area of interest's challenges and opportunities outside the classroom.

Program Updates