Laying the Foundation for a World Without Poverty
The Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development (SID) is a multidisciplinary development graduate training program that prepares students to become development professionals meeting the needs of poor communities throughout the world. Founded in 1994, SID seeks to provide its students with a sound theoretical foundation for understanding different approaches to development, as well as a broad vision of how these approaches function in diverse societies. Students also acquire practical skills that will enable them to work directly with governments, non-profits and other organizations to alleviate poverty, provide health, education, sanitation and services, mitigate the effects of climate change and create more effective paths towards sustainable development.
A Holistic and Innovative Curriculum
SID offers an innovative two-year professional program that draws upon concepts of justice and social change and is based on a firm understanding of political and economic institutions, ecology, gender, human rights and ethics. In the first year students take multidisciplinary core courses in each of these thematic areas, as well as skills-based courses in planning and implementation and monitoring and evaluation. They also enroll in a wide range of elective courses offered at SID, throughout Brandeis and at other Boston-area universities.
In the second year, students apply their academic knowledge and newly acquired practical skills to real world problems, through field practicums with various development organizations around the world. During the practicum, students work on a Master’s Paper in the form of a case study. This paper is presented at a Capstone event in the Spring of the student’s second year. To cater to the varied backgrounds and interests of our students, in the second year, students also have the option of pursuing a full year Advanced Study or a one semester practice focused specialization in gender, development management or conservation.
Overall, the SID Curriculum aims to train future development leaders who can combine theoretical, conceptual and historical knowledge about deep rooted poverty, inequality and injustice with practical skills to address current and future economic, social, health, educational and environmental challenges in the world’s poorest communities.
A Distinct and Diverse Community of Practice
SID is among the worlds largest and most diverse development graduate training programs, reflecting a diverse global community of students from more than 60 different countries, speaking over 100 languages. This diversity provides an intellectually challenging and collaborative forum that facilitates learning across cultures, the exchange of ideas and the mutual recognition and respect of perspectives, experience and expertise from different countries and cultures.
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Campus Visits and Webinars
The Heller School admissions team is here to guide you through the admissions process. We offer on-campus, off-campus, and online events for you to learn about everything our program offers, explore our campus, and get a feel for the Heller student experience. Learn more about setting up an individual visit on a weekday of your convenience, get details and/or register for one of our upcoming visit days, or see our webinar schedule.
Philosophy and Ethics of Development
SID is the first development graduate training program in the world to present its curriculum in a global liberal arts and human development framework. Ideas have histories and cultures and are considered at SID for their potential to help solve development problems. Our goal is to broaden and deepen critical thinking skills and to assist students to consider the ethical dimensions of development theory and practice and how ethics influence their own work.
Professor of International Development
Professor Laurence Simon's career in world development spans 40 years and has taken him from hands-on antipoverty work in Sri Lanka to the halls of power and influence. Friends and colleagues recently lauded Simon’s dedication over the decades, including many who thanked Simon for his selfless mentoring.more
Professor of International Development
"I fell in love with the Tsimane because they are sweet and peaceful. When you live in a small-scale society that practices cross-cousin marriage, the society ends up being a huge extended family and you have to learn how to manage your anger and get along."more
"The riots in Bolivia were so vocal and widely publicized that I started asking questions: How did I feel about what was going on? What was my responsibility to help?"more
"Development can be a complicated field. It's important for students to understand the bigger picture, and how to fit their goals into that picture."more