Laney Graduate School—Master’s in Development Practice at Emory

Why you should consider this program

The Master’s in Development Practice at Emory University is a two-year program that prepares students for careers in global development and humanitarian organizations. Its curriculum combines rigorous academic coursework across disciplines with hands-on training in professional competencies. Students may develop certificates in chosen topics or skills by selecting elective courses. The program’s limited cohort size (12-16 students per cohort) enables collaborative learning and personalized mentoring by Emory faculty, development professionals and MDP alumni.

Students enjoy the opportunities and resources offered by a world class, highly ranked research university and benefit from Emory’s institutional linkages with prominent development organizations such as CARE, Carter Center and CDC. These partnerships enable students to practice the skills learned in the classroom in a real-life setting. Most Emory MDP students spend two summers contributing to design, implementation, and evaluation of projects in the Global South. They operate in a wide range of sectors, including global health and wellbeing, disaster response and recovery, environmental sustainability, food and agricultural systems, water and sanitation, human rights and governance, gender and youth empowerment, corporate social responsibility, and conflict transformation.

These experiences make Emory MDP students innovative development professionals who are highly competitive on the job market.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 95,444 $ 50,000 $ 45,444
Out of state $ 95,444 $ 50,000 $ 45,444
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

Students will receive annually: A $25,000 Emory MDP Coverdell Fellowship and a one-time $75 Application Fee Waiver.

* Cost estimates based upon Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 tuition and fees.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)

At least one fellowship is awarded each year, though more can be granted. Since inception, we have had about 2-4 fellows in each cohort. RPCV’s who are admitted to the program but not selected for the Fellowship are still eligible for additional merit scholarship.

Other benefits or opportunities

Highly qualified Emory MDP Coverdell Fellowship recipients may be eligible for additional merit-based tuition scholarship funding. The $25,000 Emory MDP Coverdell Fellowship is awarded for each of the two years of the Emory MDP program, provided that that the students makes satisfactory academic progress and meets service obligations each semester.

In addition to the Scholarships and Waivers listed above, Emory MDP will provide funding to cover summer field practicum expenses, including summer tuition and fees and basic living expenses and international travel (if needed). Students enrolled in Emory Health Care Plan will also benefit from Emory MDP subsidizing the cost of immunizations required for field practicum travel.

Additional paid internships or graduate assistantships are available to Fellows (and to other enrolled students) depending on their background and competencies. The Emory MDP program assists its students in locating and accessing these opportunities.

Fellows (and other enrolled students) receive funding to support two 8-10 week summer field practicum in the Global South or the United States. If they so wish, Fellows are eligible to receive up to nine transferable academic credit hours for Peace Corps service (to be credited toward students’ second summer field practicum requirement).

Fellows (and other enrolled students) receive professional development support during the two years of the program.

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 31,477

Application fee waived?



International field practicums are a cornerstone of the Emory MDP curriculum. Students are placed as “embedded practitioners” within humanitarian organizations in their projects in the Global South during each of the two summer terms that they are enrolled at Emory. They are expected to perform as professionals-in-training and produce high quality work, while building their own competencies and experiences.

In addition to the summer field practicum abroad, Coverdell Fellows will enroll in an internship to complete a minimum of 170 hours of service with organizations that serve impoverished and/or socially disadvantaged communities in the United States. The MDP program will assist Fellows in identifying organizations whose work meets the Coverdell Fellows Program criteria.

The greater Atlanta area is home to a large and diverse refugee community, which is assisted by a vast network of refugee service agencies. It is also home to entrenched pockets of urban poverty, where community-based organizations are engaged in efforts to improve livelihood security and environmental stewardship. Atlanta’s major international airport also makes the city a global hub for human-trafficking, a problem that partner organizations endeavor to address.

Jobs for program alumni

As a practice-oriented program, Emory MDP intentionally emphasizes job-readiness. It provides professional development support during the two years of the program and after graduation. Emory MDP graduates have an 96% rate of employment in relevant fields after graduation (a few move on to PhD programs). MDP alums have a track record of advancing very rapidly in their careers after their first job, demonstrating the relevance and value of the training and experiences provided by Emory MDP. Among organizations that have hired Emory MDP graduates are:

  • Carter Center
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
  • Chemonics
  • Deloitte
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  • Habitat for Humanity International
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  • Mercy Corps
  • Save the Children
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

Emory MDP graduates are typically hired as

  • Program Coordinators
  • Project Managers/Officers
  • Technical Advisors
  • Policy Analysts
  • Research Associates
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Officers
  • Communication Specialists

Other details

Program length

Two years

Application requirements

The application season begins in mid-September, the deadline for scholarship consideration is in January. Check our admission page for more information ( The following are required components of the application:

  • Transcripts from accredited four-year colleges and/or universities, with attainment of bachelor degree
  • Statement of Purpose addressing specific questions, as detailed in the application form
  • An updated Curriculum Vitae, outlining prior education and training, professional and volunteer work, leadership and service experiences, travel abroad, and foreign language skills
  • Three Letters of Recommendation from supervisors, faculty members and/or volunteer coordinators
  • A copy of your Description of Service

Submission of GRE scores is optional and no minimum GPA for admission. Admissions decisions are based on an overall assessment of the adequacy of an applicant’s preparation and commitment to the successful completion of the program.

Admissions process

To take advantage of the application fee waiver, check the Coverdell Fellows box in the application. We will inform students after the review process whether they were accepted into the Emory MDP program AND admitted as a Coverdell Fellow.

Program begins

Mid August

Non-traditional options

Students must be enrolled full time.

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Chan Williams, Assistant Director for Academics and Operations

1599 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322