Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    Jun 08, 2023  
American University Catalog 2020-2021 
American University Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Development Management (MS)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

Offered by the School of International Service , the Development Management (MS) combines the fields of development and public administration to provide state-of-the-art education, training, and practice in development management. The program is designed both for practitioners and students with prior field experience who plan to work on development programs and projects either within the United States or in developing countries. It provides an opportunity to focus on innovative approaches to development management that are presently being developed both in the United States and in the Third World, with particular attention to the issues of self-reliance, sustainability, and poverty alleviation.

Admission to the Program

Applicants must have at least two years field experience working on development problems or projects in the United States, Western Europe, or in developing countries.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least a B+ (3.30 or higher on a 4.00 scale) and should have had at least 24 credit hours of social science coursework relevant to international studies. Students who do not meet these minimum requirements, if otherwise admissible, may be assigned additional coursework in excess of degree requirements specified at the time of admission.

The application deadline for fall admission is January 15; for spring admission October 1 (September 15 for international students). Admitted students may defer matriculation for no longer than two semesters provided that a written request for deferment is submitted to and approved by the SIS Graduate Admissions Office.

A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional. Applicants who have completed the exam are welcome to submit their scores as part of their application. Non-native English speakers are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless they hold a degree from a US-accredited institution before enrollment at SIS. The minimum TOEFL score for full admissions consideration is 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT) or 600 on the paper-based test (PBT). The minimum IELTS score is 7.0. Applicants should plan to take the appropriate test no later than December to ensure full consideration of the application by the January deadline.

All applicants must submit two letters of reference evaluating undergraduate academic performance and suitability for graduate study in international affairs, at least one of which should be from an academic source. A resume should be included in the application. Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended. Cultural factors are considered in evaluating transcripts and examination results.

Requests for the transfer of a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours from other accredited institutions to be applied to a master’s degree are considered after successful completion of 9 credit hours in the graduate program at American University. A minimum grade of B in each course is required for transfer. Transfer courses must have been completed within five years of admission and must fulfill stated requirements of the degree program.

Degree Requirements

  • 39-42 credit hours of approved graduate coursework
  • Minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA required to remain in good academic standing and to earn the degree
  • A mid-level professional who has performed successfully in a technical or managerial role before admission to the program may apply through the director of the Development Management (MS) program to the dean of SIS to have the total program requirements reduced by up to 6 credit hours. This application may be made after completion of 9 credit hours and must make reference to a number of areas in which the student has acquired basic competence. Credit earned as part of an internship program does not count in this provision
  • Proficiency in a modern foreign language: Research competence in English and another language relevant to the student’s career objectives must be certified
  • Capstone Experience: Completion of coursework that clearly relates to the field of Development Management.

Course Requirements

Economic Theory (3 credit hours)

Note: Students who pass an economics placement exam may have this course requirement waived.

Economic Development (3 credit hours)

Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Research Methods (6 credit hours)

Methods II

Complete 3 credit hours from the following, or other approved courses appropriate to the student’s research and career interests:

Note: Approved list available on SIS Graduate Advising website.

Concentration (12 credit hours)

  • 12 credit hours of faculty-approved coursework constituting an academically-sound functional area (e.g., Community Development; Program and Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation; Social Entrepreneurship)

Capstone (6 credit hours)

Consulting or Independent Study

  • 3 credit hours from an approved consulting course or an independent study


Complete 3 credit hours from the following with grades of B or better:

Development Management (MS) and Business Administration (MBA)

For approved dual degree program, see Development Management (MS) and Business Administration (MBA) .

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs