Learn how to integrate policy, scholarship, ethics, and participatory practice to achieve sustainable development goals.

At a Glance

For programs beginning in 2022





Priority Deadline

January 31, rolling thereafter

Final Deadline

August 1


1 Year

Instructional Sites

Ecuador, Malawi, Uganda

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Grounded in SIT’s unique brand of experiential, place-based learning, explore how global health crises, economic inequality, natural resource degradation, and political and ethnic conflict are interconnected, requiring a new generation of highly educated, innovative, multidisciplinary development practitioners. 

Starting in Quito, Ecuador, a city high in the Andes, you will explore the challenges of one of the most biodiverse countries in the world while learning from faculty, guest lecturers, and experts in the field. Study ecological impacts, forest regeneration, sustainable land practices, and conservation on excursion to northern Ecuador’s patchwork of cloud forests. Excursions may also include trips to the coast. 

Spend your second semester in Africa, splitting your time between Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and the smaller river city of Lilongwe, Malawi. For 15 weeks, you will engage in comparative analyses of how economics, resource management, health policy, and trade are affected by local needs, diverse livelihood practices, cultural identities, and varied histories of colonization and resistance. Though based in the city, you will examine sustainable and regenerative development practices in urban, peri-urban, and rural locations during site visits and fieldwork. 

In the final semester of this one-year program, you will spend 10 to 12 weeks in a full-time practicum in a role and location of your choice, drawing from SIT’s worldwide professional networks. You will gain the experience and hands-on skills you need to attain your career goals and will also complete a capstone paper. 

The SIT Master’s in Development Practice offers you a chance to obtain professional skills while conducting research and fieldwork in a highly competitive global environmentAs a graduate, you’ll be prepared to integrate policy, scholarship, ethics, participatory practice, and lifelong learning to achievsustainable, global development goals in the 21st century.

Career Paths

Students who have graduated with this degree have worked in careers such as:

  • Career development specialist

  • Foreign Service officer

  • Monitoring and evaluation officer

  • Program manager in sustainability

  • Program manager in food and nutrition security

  • Public health analyst with a government agency

  • Independent consultant in nonprofit sector

  • Director, government development policy

  • Senior policy associate

Visit the SIT blog to read more about SIT Graduate Institute alumni careers.

Program Sites

Quito, Ecuador

In Quito, Ecuador’s capital, learn development practice in a multicultural, stratified society that has experienced political upheaval affecting multiple systems. Witness a dominant civilization in crisis, providing key opportunities for you to study how global health, economics, and culture impact the quality of life in urban and indigenous communities. 

Excursion highlights may include: 

  • Mashpi Shungo Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve 
  • Valle de Intag, Cotacachi 

Kampala, Uganda

The national and commercial capital of Uganda, Kampala is an urbane city at the edge of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Because of its history, politics, geography, and natural resources, Uganda is a compelling location from which to examine the tensions, contradictions, and consequences of the global development agenda. Learn from case studies delving into the core issues of development practicesuch as community analysis and assessment; local participation in project design and implementation; and the methods and tools for monitoring and evaluation.  

Excursion highlights may include: 

  • Murchison Falls National Park 
  • Nakivale Refugee Settlement 

Lilongwe, Malawi

Malawi will provide you with an ideal case study for analyzing the ongoing – and occasionally contentious – discussions among members of government, civil society, and the local citizenry on development initiatives. Of particular significance to your master’s degree will be the exploration of the ways in which cultural traditions, drought, ecology, migration, and international aid regimes affect agricultural enterprises and natural resource management in an environment of increasing climatic uncertainty. 

Excursion highlights may include: 

  • Permaculture Paradise Institute, Mchinji 
  • One-week rural homestay, Ntcheu District 

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.



In this program, you will: 

  • Develop a critical understanding of the current systems that have led to today’s growing inequality, poverty, environmental destruction, and unsustainable ways of living, and become familiar theoretically and experientially with the field of sustainable, international development practice. 
  • Applying the tools of participatory inquiry and design to solve problems and engage with urgent challenges such as poverty and inequality, conflict over natural resources, environmental degradation, and climate change to bring about transformative action. 
  • Integrate social-ecological systems thinking, practical skills, and leadership capacity with the sense of innovative and imaginative possibilities within the areas of sustainable development and resilience. 
  • Demonstrate skills in project design and implementation, project management, and evaluation based on local needs and in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
  • Master global and comparative perspectives on development, sustainable development, and regeneration across geographical, socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts. 
  • Understand the linkages between policy, social complexities, human health risks, ecological dynamics, technological innovations, and financial models that can advance integrated sustainable development solutions 

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information.

This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all ofour work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

Semester One: Ecuador (12 Credits)

  • Foundations of Sustainable Development 
  • Critical Issues in Global Health 
  • Development Economics 
  • Culture and Development 
  • Professional Development Seminar 
  • Practitioner Inquiry 

Semester Two: Uganda/Malawi (15 Credits)

  • Negotiation, Mediation, and Dialogue 
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning 
  • Design Thinking, Technology, and Development 
  • Sustainable Natural Resource Management 
  • Gender, Agriculture, and Climate Change 
  • Professional Development Seminar 
  • Practitioner Inquiry 

Semester Three: Practicum (9 Credits)

  • Development Practice Practicum 
  • Capstone Project
  • Capstone Seminar

Professional Practicum

A cornerstone of SIT’s Development Practice master’s program is the practicum. This will allow you to apply learning from the classroom directly to real-world settings, while getting hands-on, professional experience you can put to immediate use after you graduate. 

For your final semester, SIT and your advisor will support you in finding an approved practicum in a role and location of your choice, aligning with your career goals. This practicum experience will give you the opportunity to work in the field, as well as expand your professional network. 

During the practicum phase, you will remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of your knowledge and skills while working in a professional context. 

Faculty & Staff

Development Practice (Full-Time)

Joseph Lanning, PhD
Program Chair, Global Master of Arts in Development Practice • Affiliated Faculty, Master of Arts in Sustainable Development


You will be supported by SIT staff on location in arranging housing during your time abroad. Stay in small hotels (shared or private); guest houses or hostels (these are simple, inexpensive and quite clean, and may even include food); or ask to be placed with a homestay family, where you will be able to immerse in the local culture and customs. Please note homestay families are less expensive, but also less independent. 

Discover the Possibilities