It is possible to complete this degree in as little as 16 months, provided students work with their advisor to ensure they complete a summer practicum and capstone in December. To get the most out of the program, students typically choose to lengthen their practicum and complete the program in 20 to 24 months.
- On-Campus Coursework (29 credits)
During students’ nine months on campus, they examine competing theories and alternative approaches to development practice. The program focuses on participatory, rights-based interventions in local, national, and international contexts. Coursework provides a comprehensive education in development praxis, combining theoretical and applied knowledge.
The following 17 credits are required:
- Learning and Professional Development Advising – 1 credit
- Foundations in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management – 4 credits
- Practitioner Inquiry – 3 credits
- Economics – 3 credits
- Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development – 3 credits
- Issues in Sustainable Development – 3 credits
Students take an additional 12 credits of relevant coursework, which includes one or more of the following degree courses:
- Program Planning and Management – 3 credits
- Monitoring and Evaluation – 3 credits
- Leading and Managing Social Sector Organizations – 3 credits
- Policy Advocacy – 3 credits
- Popular and Nonformal Education – 2 credits
Other course options include:
- Training Design for Experiential Learning – 3 credits
- Social Identity: Exclusion and Inclusion – 3 credits
- Dismantling Disability – 2 credits
- Post-War Development and Peacebuilding – 3 credits
- Initiatives in Peacebuilding – 3 credits
- Skills and Practices in Inter-Group Dialogue – 1 credit
- Conflict and Identity – 3 credits
- Education for Social Justice – 3 credits
- Advanced Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning – 3 credits
- Budgeting and Financial Management – 3 credits
- Fundraising and Grant Writing – 2 credits
- Human Resources Management – 3 credits
- Strategic Planning and Implementation – 3 credits
- Social Entrepreneurship – 3 credits
- Leadership and Change – 3 credits
- Nonprofit, NGO, and Social Business Management – 3 credits
- Statistics for Practitioners – 1 credit
- Youth Program Leadership – 3 credits
- Training for Social Action – 3 credits
- Policy Analysis and Advocacy Methods – 3 credits
- International Policy and Citizen Advocacy – 1 credit
- Leadership, Community, and Coalition Building – 3 credits
- Special Topics in Sustainable Development – 1–3 credits
- Optional Concentrations
Interested students are able to focus their studies in sustainable development by choosing a concentration. Two concentrations are currently being offered:
Community Development and Social Action. The focus of this concentration is on knowledge and skills related to community outreach, education, and social mobilization with community-based organizations in both the Global South and North.
Development Management. The focus of this concentration is on knowledge and skills related to the program planning and evaluation cycle (from needs assessment to impact assessment) and on the larger organizational and management context in which programs are created.
- Area Specializations
Students may also choose a six-credit sequence of courses that constitute a specialization in one of the following areas:
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Social Innovation and Management
- Policy Analysis and Advocacy
- Reflective Practice (11 credits)
This portion of the program is a structured approach for students to apply coursework learning to a related professional activity. During this phase, students receive course credit for documenting the integration of their knowledge and skills while working in a professional context, for a minimum of six months, and remaining engaged with faculty and other students on the program. Students can complete the practicum in the US or abroad.
- Capstone Paper and Seminar (1 credit)
Students demonstrate, assess, and synthesize their learning through preparation of a capstone project and participation in a one-week capstone seminar held multiple times each year on SIT’s campus in Vermont. Researching and writing the capstone paper takes students deeply into the experiential learning cycle, where they explore the meaning of the practicum experience, integrate theory and practice in written and oral presentations, and make a contribution to the field of sustainable development. Review past Sustainable Development capstone papers.
Students have five years from the time they enter the program to complete all degree requirements. (For any student who, because of special circumstances, studies part-time during two consecutive on-campus academic years, the program entry date is calculated from the beginning of their second on-campus year.) A student who does not complete all degree requirements (including the language and culture proficiency requirement) within five years of the entry date will be withdrawn from the program. A student with extenuating circumstances must apply to the dean of the program for an extension.
All students must fulfill a Language and Culture Proficiency Requirement before they are eligible to graduate.