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A New Masters in Development Practice

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Building on campus leadership addressing climate change, extreme poverty, and public health, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded UC Berkeley an $800,000 grant to launch a new master’s degree program in development practice. Housed in the College of Natural Resources, and drawing upon faculty from engineering, business, public health, and public policy, the two-year program will provide professional training in sustainable development to 50 students at a time starting in 2011.

The grant was part of $5.6 million awarded to 10 universities worldwide to develop MDP programs. UC Davis was the only other U.S. university to receive grant money for the program this year. Those selected join a global network of 20 schools offering advanced degrees in sustainable development practices.

The campus has a proven track record in developing programs that cut across diverse disciplines, including the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program and the Blum Center for Developing Economies. These successes helped persuade the Foundation to support the program at UC Berkeley.

“The MDP will take advantage of campus resources and will provide an effective avenue to educate the environmental and development leaders of the future,” said David Zilberman, a Berkeley professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics who helped spearhead the program on campus.

The program will arm students with managerial and leadership skills as well as the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to analyze problems such as malnutrition, infectious disease control, and climate change. Students will be able to collaborate with other schools in the network and participate in hands-on field projects worldwide. These include the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Costa Rica), the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study in Agriculture (the Philippines), and St.Petersburg State University (Russia).

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