Program Description

The Master of Arts in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management hybrid degree program is designed to significantly advance working professionals’ leadership capacity and practical skills—particularly within the areas of sustainability—through an intentional focus on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Students, alumni, and faculty describe SIT's Sustainable Development degree.

Students attend class one weekend per month in our Washington, DC, center and complete online coursework in between monthly meetings. Working professionals can complete their master’s degree in two years while continuing to work. Students benefit from the extensive resources available through SIT’s parent organization, World Learning, as well as international development organizations located in Washington, DC. Students learn through academic coursework, group and individual projects, reflection, and the expertise and experience of their fellow students.

The program is distinguished for its emphasis on:

  • Integration of theory and practice
  • Respon­sible action and service
  • Global collaboration
  • Monitoring and evaluation

There is strong synergy between the program’s coursework delivered in the classroom; the hands-on, real-world learning acquired on your job; and emphasis on each student’s career interests.

Students on the program can expect to:

  • Learn firsthand from some of the most innovative development organizations in the world
  • Acquire a specialization in the professional area of monitoring, evaluation, and learning
  • Receive one-on-one career coaching
  • Connect with leaders, actors, and institutions that are addressing educa­tion, health, gender, environmental, and civil society problems at grassroots and senior-policy levels
  • Gain unique, inside access to World Learning staff working in the fields of international development and exchange
  • Attend valuable networking events, including receptions with SIT alumni and partners
  • Benefit from small classes and a cohort-based learning format

Students receive ongoing career mentorship, including development of an online professional portfolio, through the program’s career coach and other staff.

Degree Sequence

classroomStudents take one course at a time. Each three-credit course is eight weeks. The class sessions are held in our Washington, DC, center one weekend a month for two full days, Saturday and Sunday. 

Core Coursework (27 credits)

  • Fall Term: September–December
  • Spring Term: January–April
  • Summer Term: May–August
  • Fall Term: September–December
  • Half Spring Term: January–February

Practicum & Research (6 credits)

  • Practicum is conducted in the student’s current job.

Capstone Paper and Presentation (3 credits)

  • Final paper and presentation on campus

This part-time hybrid program combines face-to-face class sessions with online learning. The face-to-face sessions are held once a month on the weekend (two full days, Saturday and Sunday). It is critical that students attend all weekend classes. The dates for the 2017–2019 program are as follows. These dates will not change; attendance is a requirement of the program:

Fall Term 2017: September–December

Foundations I: Intercultural Communication and Multicultural Teams (2 credits)
Learning and Professional Development Advising (1 credit)

September 16–17
October 14–15

Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development (3 credits)

November 18–19
December 9–10

Spring Term 2018: January–April

Practitioner Inquiry; Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)

January 20–21
February 10–11

Economics (3 credits)

March 10–11
April 14–15

Summer Term 2018: May–August

Issues in Sustainable Development (3 credits)

May 5–6 
June 9–10

Foundations II: Development Management Skills Workshop (2 credits)
Statistics for Practitioners (1 credit)

July 14–15
August 4–5

Fall Term 2018: September–December

Program Design and Management (3 credits)

September 15–16
October 13–14

Program Monitoring and Evaluation (3 credits)

November 17–18
December 15–16

Spring Term 2019: January–April

Advanced Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: Topics and Methods (3 credits)

January 12–13
February 9–10

Professional Practicum and Research (3 credits)

March 16–17
April 6–7

Summer Term 2019: May–August

Capstone Preparation (3 credits)

May 18–19
June 8–9

Capstone Paper (2 credits)
Capstone Presentation and Seminar (1 credit)

July 13–14
August 3–4

Join a global network of development projects and professionals.

SIT Graduate Institute has been preparing international development professionals for 45 years. As the higher education institution of World Learning, SIT provides students with unique opportunities and resources to build their careers worldwide.


Courses typically incorporate required readings, individual and group assignments, workshops, guest speakers from development organizations, and occasional panels with development experts. In addition to theoretical knowledge, students grapple with individual case studies and real-world examples. 

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  • Core Coursework (27 credits)
    Required courses:
    • Foundations I: Intercultural Communication and Multicultural Teams – 2 credits
    • Learning and Professional Development Advising – 1 credit
    • Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development – 3 credits
    • Practitioner Inquiry: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods – 3 credits
    • Economics – 3 credits
    • Issues in Sustainable Development – 3 credits
    • Foundations II: Development Management Skills Workshop – 2 credits
    • Statistics for Practitioners – 1 credit
    • Program Design and Management – 3 credits
    • Program Monitoring and Evaluation – 3 credits
    • Advanced Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: Topics and Methods – 3 credits
  • Professional Practicum and Research (6 credits)
    During the program’s practicum period, students can expect to learn or advance their knowledge and skills in the following areas:
    • Ability to analyze experience using definable frameworks and to use one’s experience to critique and expand those frameworks
    • Ability to define and answer a practice-centered question using rigorous reflection on one’s own experience and other inquiry methods and sources
    • Ability to link current work to one of the sustainable development goals
    • Ability to make a professional contribution to a community of practice
    • Enhanced critical thinking skills
    • Enhanced research skills
  • Capstone Paper, Seminar, and Presentation (3 credits) 
    Students demonstrate, assess, and synthesize their learning through preparation of a capstone project and participation in a capstone seminar at the end of the program. This phase of the program increases students’ ability to:
    • integrate coursework, experiential learning, and additional research;
    • demonstrate the competent use of research methods (review of literature and, if relevant, the collection of data);
    • evaluate and critique academic and other data sources;
    • enhance presentation skills;
    • evaluate and critique peer presentations;
    • contribute to the development of knowledge in one area of sustainable development.

Review past sustainable development capstone papers.

Professional Practicum

Apply the knowledge and skills you acquire in the classroom while engaging in the field of sustainable development in real-world settings.

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Read about the practicum Stephanie Pena and Lindsey Miller-Voss did at the Shreyas Foundation in Ahmedabad, India.

Alumni Careers

The program prepares professionals to:

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  • Design and lead sustainable development programs
  • Coordinate funding for development initiatives, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses
  • Develop and manage projects that address economic inequities and/or encourage responsible use of natural resources
  • Work in community development, economic development, and many other areas of need across the globe

Acquire skills to work in a wide range of development-related fields.
Students develop skills to work in community development, economic development, and many other areas of need across the globe, through coursework and field study. Students gain professional experience through an extended practicum with an organization of their choice that is relevant to their professional goals.

Graduates are equipped to work in a wide range of fields, including community capacity building, economic development, human rights, education, policy, food security, health, gender equity, nonprofit and NGO management, international relations, international aid, and social entrepreneurship. Graduates may work for an NGO, nonprofit, or government agency, among other venues.


Faculty for the Master of Arts in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management program are experienced development professionals. They include leaders in the fields of international policy and management based in Washington, DC, and on SIT’s campus in Vermont. The MA in Sustainable Development program in DC draws upon the resources of the professional development staff in World Learning’s International Development and Education Division and other Washington, DC–based organizations; these individuals serve as speakers, guest lecturers, mentors, project supervisors, and other learning resources for SIT students.

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Core Faculty

Davina P. Durgana
Davina P. Durgana

Assistant Professor
Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management


PhD, American University, Washington, DC
MA, Sorbonne
MA, American University of Paris
BA, George Washington University

Dr. Davina P. Durgana is an assistant professor at SIT Graduate Institute in Washington, D.C. where she served as the faculty lead for the Inclusive Security Certificate Program. She was named the 2016 Statistical Advocate of the Year by the American Statistical Association and as a Forbes Top 30 Under 30 in Science for 2017 for her work on statistical modeling, human security theory, and modern slavery.

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Amy Jersild
Amy Jersild

Assistant Professor and Chair
Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management


MA, SIT Graduate Institute

Amy Jersild has over 15 years of professional experience in the field of international development as a manager, technical advisor, and evaluator specializing in migration issues, capacity building, and institutional capacity development, advocacy, and M&E

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Deborah Robinson
Deborah Robinson

Academic Director, Washington, DC Center
Interim Chief Diversity Officer


PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
MBA, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
BA, Williams College, Williamstown, MA

Dr. Robinson is a senior program manager with more than 20 years’ experience working with organizations in numerous countries. She has lived, worked, and traveled in 70 countries to date and has been involved in a variety of issues, including human rights, environmental justice, racism, sustainable development, emergency management, and violence against women. The thread that ties this work together is that it was all conducted from a social justice perspective and focused on issues of inclusion and marginalization.

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Adjunct Faculty and Guests

Jennifer Collins-Foley
Jennifer Collins-Foley

Adjunct Faculty
Sustainable Development


JD, Albany Law School of Union University
BA, St. Michael’s College

Jennifer Collins-Foley, JD, is a democracy, governance, and gender specialist with 25 years of experience in the US and around the world. She serves as senior advisor for inclusive development with World Learning’s International Development and Exchange Programs to effectively promote the full inclusion of traditionally marginalized people into the political, social, and economic life of their countries.

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Chris Foley
Chris Foley

Adjunct Faculty
Sustainable Development


MA, California State University, Fullerton
BA, St. Michael’s College

Christopher T. Foley has worked for the National Democratic Institute (NDI)’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) team as the deputy regional director since 2004 and has managed field operations and program implementation throughout the region. He has developed expertise in local governance and administrative processes as well as election-day related policies and processes.

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Venkatesh Raghavendra
Venkatesh Raghavendra

Adjunct Faculty
Sustainable Development, International Policy and Management


MA in Social Jusitice, SIT Graduate Institute

Venkatesh (Venky) Raghavendra is a social entrepreneur with nearly three decades of philanthropy and development experience. He has successfully built global partnerships and mobilized significant resources for a number of international and national organizations.

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Sarah Roma
Sarah Roma

Adjunct Faculty
Sustainable Development


MPA, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
BA, Carleton College

Sarah Roma is an independent consultant with 20 years of experience working globally and domestically on programs and policy change for women and girls. Sarah has expertise in policy advocacy, leadership development, gender analysis and integration, capacity building, curriculum development, training and facilitation, program and policy design and implementation, strategic planning, and organizational change.

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Syed Aqeel Tirmizi
Syed Aqeel Tirmizi

Adjunct Faculty
Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management


PhD, State University of New York, Binghamton
MIA, School for International Training
BComm, University of Punjab, Pakistan

Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi’s professional portfolio includes more than 20 years of international experience in teaching, research, management, and capacity building. The major focus of his work deals extensively with managing and leading in global and multicultural environments as well as working with themes of social justice and social innovation. 

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Admissions Criteria

To be considered for admission to the hybrid MA in Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management program, an applicant* must have:

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  • US bachelor's degree or an equivalent that demonstrates academic ability
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning
  • Experience and familiarity with instructional technology, distance learning, and/or independent learning
  • Demonstrated capacity for self-directed learning
  • Gainful employment in a role related to the broad field of sustainable development
  • Employment area should relate to sustainable development in order to complete practicum and capstone requirement

*The format of this program only allows admittance to US based individuals. There is no visa sponsorship available.

SIT Graduate Institute’s Selection Process
Our admissions staff work one-on-one with every applicant to facilitate a highly informed and multidimensional admissions experience: applicants are encouraged to attend an open house, talk with SIT faculty and staff, and hear from current students and alumni. As applicants become familiar with the attributes of an SIT education—grounded in the experiential learning model and focused on social justice and leadership skills in intercultural environments—they determine for themselves in what ways SIT can help them meet their educational and career objectives.


Direct Costs

Tuition and Fees

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Year 1 Tuition: $15,000
Year 1 Fees: $1,980

Year 2 Tuition: $15,000
Year 2 Fees: $1,980

MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $33,960

Indirect Costs

SIT estimates the costs to students for books, personal expenses, and transportation. Individual expenses may vary.

Year 1 Books: $600
Year 1 Personal Expenses: $150
Year 1 Transportation Costs: $450

Year 2 Books: $600
Year 2 Personal Expenses: $150
Year 2 Transportation Costs: $450

Additional Costs

Estimated Student Loan Fees:

Year 1: $195

Year 2: $195

Estimated fees are based on the average amount borrowed by SIT Graduate Institute students. See details on student loan options.


Direct costs and on-campus room and board are billed by SIT Graduate Institute. Indirect, off-campus housing costs, transportation expenses, and additional costs are not billed by SIT but represent educational expenses associated with being an enrolled student.