Photo taken by Megha Hegde, MA SID'14, during her practicum in India.
Photo taken by Megha Hegde, MA SID'14, during her practicum in India.

In their second year, students, with the assistance of the SID program, undertake professional level internships with development organizations worldwide.  Students receive academic credit for a six-month practicum assignment with a development organization such as a UN agency, an international NGO, or a local organization.  The practicum may be carried out in the U.S., in the student’s home country or region, or elsewhere in the world.  Practicum positions include conducting research, formulating policies, managing projects, and conducting fundraising or advocacy campaigns, among many other assignments. Individual Terms of Reference are designed to ensure that students acquire the necessary competencies to advance their careers in the development sector.

Through the practicum experience, each student focuses on a development issue or problem. 

  • The practicum experience is designed to nurture new ideas, deepen field experience and professional growth, and is suited to a student’s background, level of experience, and career path.
  • Past practicum organizations have included major global institutions such as UN agencies, FAO, and the World Bank; international NGOs such as Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, and the Aga Khan Foundation; human rights and policy advocacy organizations; and national and local governments and NGOs throughout the developing world.
  • The second-year practicum makes the Master of Arts SID degree program more affordable because there are no course tuition fees during the off-campus year. Instead, students pay the minimum enrollment fee for their two semesters, a small Heller program fee, and their health insurance fees.

Students are required to write either a consultant’s report or a research paper based on their work with the practicum organization.  The program culminates with a presentation of the student’s work at a Capstone event in May of the students’ second year. Students who complete all credit requirements, the required master’s paper or consultant’s report, and their Capstone presentation graduate in May of their second year.