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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.


Development Strategies

Study of development reveals a range of proposals for economics, political, and social reform and an equally wide range of constraints.

But the challenge confronting development practitioners is to find a tractable and promising way forward, given country-specific realities. Drawing on a variety of emerging approaches to development policymaking, this course examines how to identify priorities for reform that are feasible in particular country circumstances and that have the potential to build and sustain momentum for development.

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

Two-thirds of young Arabs consider Iran a foe.

Sanam Vakil cited in Gulf News, 10/3

Iran under pressure as Europe‘s patience 'wearing thin'

Sanam Vakil cited in The Arab Weekly, 9/24

Hard-liners in Iran see no drawback to bellicose strategy.

Sanam Vakil quoted in The New York Times, 9/17

Big promises, few results: Chinese farms falter in Uganda.

Deborah Bräutigam cited in The Christian Science Monitor, 9/10

Why has Iran lifted more limits on its nuclear program?

Sanam Vakil interviewed on Monocle 24 The Briefing podcast, 9/5

Iran demands sanctions relief before joining G7 talks with U.S.

Sanam Vakil interviewed on Radio National Breakfast, 8/27

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.

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

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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Oct 28 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Kenney Herter Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC

SAIS Perspectives Launch & Photo Exhibition-"Running Out of Time: Climate Change's Impact on International Development"

It is no secret that climate change is among the most urgent challenges that every living being faces today. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the ramifications of environmental pressures...

Oct 30 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Room 200, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Is the Future of Government a Digital State? Lessons from Digital Krishna, India with Alan Gelb, Senior Fellow, CGD

Digital identification and mobile technology are on the cusp of revolutionizing service delivery in developing countries. They hold great promise for achieving Sustainable Development Goal #16, a legal identity for...

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.