Admissions Blog

All you need to know about Economic and Political Development Concentration

By Davira Chairunnisa '24
Posted Nov 20 2023
SIPA Students

What is Economic and Political Development?

Economic and Political Development (EPD) Concentration focuses on global development issues, such as inequality and poverty alleviation, using evidence-based policy-making to advance sustainable development. When I first decided to enroll in SIPA, I chose EPD as my concentration due to the curriculum that could fulfill my competency gaps in politics and experience development in practice. In EPD, Seeples (SIPA + People = Seeple!) develops a variety of skills in policy analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and impact measurement.

Concentration Requirement

18 credits are required to complete the EPD concentration. First, Seeples needs to complete two core courses on the political and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Second, two courses on sustainable development practice, such as Methods of Sustainable Development Practice and Capstone Workshop. For this matter, EPD has separate applications for the Workshop Application. Last but not least, Seeples needs to take two courses from professional focus areas in which you can choose between economic, political, social, and environmental!

EPD Capstone Project

I personally think what makes EPD differ from other concentrations is the Capstone Workshop in Sustainable Development Practice. Prior to the Workshop, we are required to take Methods for Sustainable Development Practice in the fall semester with Professor Eugenia McGill or Professor Debra Jones. I am currently taking the class this semester, and I truly enjoyed it. We learned a lot about development frameworks such as monitoring and evaluation tools, interviews and surveys, and client engagement. Every Friday, there will be guest speakers coming to the Method for Sustainable Development Practice Labs to share their experiences working in the development field. For instance, on October 5, a SIPA Alumni working in Sesame Street came to share her work in developing Ahlam Simsim, a part of a larger humanitarian initiative that provides early learning and caring care to children and caregivers impacted by the Syrian refugee crisis to alleviate the catastrophic effects of crisis and relocation.

Through the workshop, Seeples can gain practical experience working on a variety of international development initiatives with a wide range of customers, including government, NGOs, international organizations, and the private sector. Most interestingly, most of the EPD capstone projects entail fieldwork in developing countries during the winter or spring break of SIPA. As someone who loves traveling, I could not wait to travel and experience development in practice next Spring!