Earn an MA in 12 months while gaining the expertise and experience you need to make significant and meaningful contributions in the development field.

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

SIT’s master’s in development in Washington, DC, is designed to significantly advance students’ leadership capacity, practical skills, and networking channels, particularly within the areas of sustainability, social justice, and entrepreneurship.

Students earn their degree in just one year while benefiting from the resources available through SIT’s parent organization, World Learning—a global nonprofit— and the broader marketplace of development organizations headquartered in the US capital. The program is designed for professionals from across the globe with some relevant work experience.

The program is distinguished for its emphasis on:

  • Social innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Local leadership and community ownership
  • Global collaboration
  • Respon­sible action and service
  • Integration of theory and practice

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

SIT Graduate Institute Washington, DC CenterStudents on the program can expect to:

  • Learn firsthand from some of the most innovative development organizations in the world
  • Acquire a specialization in a specific professional area: monitoring, evaluation, and learning; policy analysis and advocacy; or social innovation and management
  • Take intensive field courses—abroad or in the US
  • Attend World Bank and IMF training on civil-society engagement
  • Benefit from the program's innovative new Sustainable Solutions seminar series, bringing together leaders from across sectors and policy levels to discuss sustainable interventions and solutions
  • Be connected 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
  • Be placed in a structured, full-time practicum with a development or impact-investing organization.
  • Attend valuable networking events, including receptions with practicum partners.
  • Benefit from small classes and a cohort-based learning format.

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

Degree Sequence

On-Campus Coursework, Two Terms (6 months) (23-29 credits)

  • Summer Term: May–August
  • Fall Term: September–December

Practicum, One Term (3 months) (9 credits)

  • Three months working full-time with an organization

Capstone Paper and Presentation (2 credits)

  • Final paper and presentation on campus

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.


With SIT’s experiential curriculum, you’ll learn how to put theory into practice. In addition to core courses, a broad range of elective choices let you focus on courses that will help you meet your career goals.

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Core Coursework (21 credits)

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

  • Required courses:
    • Foundations: Intercultural Communication and Multicultural Teams – 2 credits
    • Practitioner Inquiry: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods – 3 credits
    • Economics – 3 credits
    • Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development – 3 credits
    • Program Planning and Management – 2 credits
    • Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Concepts – 1 credit
    • Leading and Managing Social Sector Organizations: Concepts and Practices – 1 credit
    • Policy Advocacy: Concepts – 1 credit
    • Issues in Sustainable Development – 3 credits
    • Foundations II: Development Management Skills Workshop –  2 credits
  • Specialization Areas (4 credits)
    Students must take two of the following courses (one prior to the practicum and one following it):
    • Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Practices – 2 credits
    • Leading and Managing Social Sector Organizations: Cases and Frameworks –  2 credits
    • Policy Advocacy: Practices –  2 credits
  • Elective Course (3 credits)
    Students choose one course from the following:
    • Social Entrepreneurship – 3 credits
    • Policy Analysis and Advocacy Methods – 3 credits
    • Advanced Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning – 3 credits
  • Professional Practicum and Research (9 credits)
    During the program’s practicum period, students can expect to learn or advance their knowledge and skills in the following areas:
    • Ability to connect and learn from local contexts, cultures, and communities
    • Ability to analyze experience using definable frameworks, and to use one’s experience to critique and expand those frameworks
    • Ability to define and answer practice-centered questions using rigorous reflection on one’s own experience and other inquiry methods and sources
    • Ability to make a professional contribution to a specific project/organization
    • Ability to make a professional contribution to a community of practice
    • Enhanced critical thinking skills
    • Enhanced self-expression, communication, and networking 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 one-week capstone seminar held at the end of the program. 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.

View the current academic calendar.

Field Courses

Each year, SIT Graduate Institute offers a number of graduate study abroad programs and field courses at sites in the United States and around the world. Learn in depth about an important issue on the ground.

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Study abroad as part of your master’s degree program.

Beginning in the 2014/2015 academic year, students in the Washington, DC, program will have the option of studying abroad as part of their MA program, through an SIT intensive field course. Intensive field courses offer students the chance to interact with practitioners in the field, learn onsite, and expand professional networking.

Field courses will be offered in early January. Students have the option of taking the course in Washington, DC, or abroad.

Professional Practicum

A cornerstone of SIT degree programs is the practicum. This allows you to apply learning from the classroom in real-world settings while getting hands-on, professional experience.

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

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

Professional Practicum
Following the fall term, each student completes a professional practicum with an organization of his/her choosing.* The practicum must be related to the student’s coursework and career goals and be full-time for three months. Practicums may be paid professional positions or unpaid internships.
SIT Graduate Institute Washington, DC CenterDuring this period, students remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of their knowledge and skills while working in a professional context.
Practicum placements provide in-depth, hands-on learning; enhance résumés; and expand professional contacts.
Organizations where recent students in the sustainable development program did their practicum include:

  • Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (Sofia, Bulgaria)
  • Interfaith Works (Rockville, Maryland)
  • Center for Water Resources Conservation and Development (WARECOD) (Hanoi, Vietnam)
  • Global Peace Foundation (Lanham, Maryland)
  • Integra (Washington, DC)
  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies (Washington, DC)
  • Panagora Group (Kensington, Maryland)
  • Peruvian Institute of Responsible Parenthood (INPPARES) (Lima, Peru)
  • PYXERA Global (Washington, DC)
  • Savi/Auroville International Programs (Tamil Nadu, India)
  • Service for Peace (Washington, DC)
  • USAID (Washington, DC)
  • World Resources Institute (WRI) (Washington, DC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (Washington, DC)

* Students find positions on their own with support from SIT's Career and Practicum Services Center.

Alumni Careers

SIT Graduate Institute Washington DC Center commencement ceremony

Students in this program go on to work in the field in a variety of areas including study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies. Find out some of the career paths that may be open to you.

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The program prepares professionals to:

  • 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 that encourage responsible use of natural resources
  • Work in community development, economic development, and many other areas of need across the globe

Acquire skills and training 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.

Jobs obtained by graduates of the Sustainable Development: International Policy and Management program include:

  • Support Specialist – Economic Development, Washington, DC, Mayor's Office on African Affairs
  • Program Development & Talent Associate, Global Communities
  • Program Manager, Planning & Evaluation Specialist, School-to-School International
  • Development Officer, International Crisis Group
  • Business Analytics Associate, Chemonics
  • Food Security Program Assistant, Peace Corps
  • Global Health Coordinator, Family Medicine Education Consortium
  • Program Officer, U.S. State Department
  • Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Co-Founder, Child Survivors of War
  • Executive Director, PaNhari
  • Evaluation Specialist, UNICEF
  • Aspen New Voices Fellow, Aspen Institute
  • Program Manager, Community Forklift
  • Project Coordinator, Mongolian Women Farmer's Association
  • Project Research and Development, Futures Group International
  • Grants Associate, Path
  • Programme Officer, UNICEF
  • Digital Communications Coordinator, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
  • Due Diligence Associate, TRACE International, Inc.
  • CEO & President, RD Innovative Planning
  • Sr. Specialist, Sustainability and CSE, JC Penney
  • Operations Specialist at the Center for Financial Inclusion, Accion International
  • Design, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Search for Common Ground Morocco
  • Co-Director, Coalition Against Landmines
  • Edmond J. Safra Network Fellow, Harvard Law School
  • Government Program Analyst, California Department of Developmental Services
  • Consultant for Middle East and North Africa Department, World Bank

SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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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.

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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Ryland White
Ryland White

Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management


MIA, School for International Training
BA, Converse College

Ryland White, professor, has been a member of SIT Graduate Institute faculty since 1993. She teaches courses in training design for experiential learning, training for social action, dismantling disability, and ethics and intercultural training design.

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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

We strive to create a diverse and experienced student body to enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. To be considered for admission to this program, you must meet the following criteria:

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To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Sustainable Development International Policy and Management program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • US bachelor's degree or an equivalent that demonstrates academic ability
  • Demonstrated English language ability (see details below)
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning

English Language Ability
Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS  practice tests online.)

  • Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of
    • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT)
    • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
    • 100 on the internet-based iBT.
  • Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher.
  • Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.

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.


See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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Direct Costs

Tuition and Fees

Year 1 Tuition: $36,085
Year 1 Fees: $1,980

MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $38,065

Year 1 Estimated Living Expenses: $ 19,500

Indirect Costs

SIT estimates the costs to students for books, personal expenses, and transportation. Individual expenses may vary. Indirect costs are based on student survey data; individual costs vary depending on a variety of factors such as the type of housing and location of practicum.

Year 1 Books: $1,200
Year 1 Personal Expenses: $3,600
Year 1 Transportation Costs: $4,800

Additional Costs

Spring Term Practicum:

Travel, housing, and other costs associated with the practicum vary depending on location and duration of position.

Field Study Courses:

Costs range from $2,200 to $5,450. See details on the locations, schedule, and costs of individual field courses.

Estimated Student Loan Fees:

Year 1: $1,200

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.