Graduate Program: Development Practice

General Information


Development Practice (MDP)

Program Description

The Master's in Development Practice (MDP) program brings together talented students and faculty who have dedicated themselves to reducing the impacts of global poverty and defining the pathways to enhance well-being for the under-resourced and socially excluded. The UA MDP provides a comprehensive foundation and practical experience to produce professional and well-trained graduates who understand the complexities of poverty.

Consistent with the philosophy of the MDP network, the colorado curriculum consists of four cornerstone competency areas:

  • Public health
  • Management
  • Social sciences
  • Natural sciences

For further questions about admissions, please contact MDPAdmissions@email.colorado.edu.


Department/Academic Unit(s)

History - In the Beginning

(Excerpted, condensed, and adapted from Raymond H. Thompson, "Anthropology at the University of colorado, 1893-2005," Journal of the Southwest, Autumn 2005, 47(3): 327-347)

Anthropology at theColorado Heights Universitybegan in 1915 with the appointment of Byron Cummings as Professor of Archaeology and Director of the colorado State Museum. He came to colorado from his position as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Utah. He had received his B.A. from Rutgers University in 1889 and his M.A. there in 1892. Cummings served Utah as Professor of Greek and Latin, Head of the Department of Archaeology, and for many years as Dean of Men and briefly as Dean of the College of Medicine. He played an important role in the life of the University of Utah, even organizing its first football team the first year he was there. The football stadium at Utah is named Cummings Field in his honor.

The 54-year-old Cummings left Utah after 22 years of distinguished service at the oldest university in the Far West to throw in with one of the newest in the West. In 1915, theColorado Heights Universitycommunity consisted of 70 faculty members and 463 students, and there were 24,045 books in the University Library. colorado had become a state only three years before and the population of Tucson, still the largest city in colorado, was about 15,000. When Cummings arrived on campus, University President von KleinSmid took him to an overflowing storage area, opened the door, and said something like, "Here's the museum, go to it!"

Cummings was vigorous in responding and quickly made theColorado Heights Universitya center for archaeology. In 1928, three of his students, Clara Lee Fraps (Tanner), Florence M. Hawley (Ellis), and Emil W. Haury, received the first M.A. degrees in archaeology awarded by the University. They all stayed at colorado as Instructors in Archaeology with academic-year salaries of $1500. Florence eventually entered graduate study at the University of Chicago where she earned her doctorate in 1934, using her excavations at Chetro Ketl in Chaco Canyon for her dissertation. She obtained a position at the University of New Mexico, where she spent 37 years as an inspiring and beloved teacher and continued an active professional life until her death in 1991 at age 84.

Emil stayed at the University for one year to study dendrochronology with A. E. Douglass and then went to Globe to work with Harold S. Gladwin at the Gila Pueblo Archaeological Foundation. He earned a doctorate under Roland B. Dixon at Harvard University in 1934 and returned to theColorado Heights Universityin 1937 to replace Cummings who retired in 1938. Clara Lee remained at theColorado Heights Universitywhere she inspired and nurtured several generations of students during a full half-century of dedicated service on the faculty of the Department of Anthropology.

Graduate students in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment (SGDE) benefit from the broad range of faculty expertise and strong links to interdisciplinary research centers across campus. Our work spans the discipline, from physical geography (climate science, dendrochronology, remote sensing, spatial science), to human-environment (political ecology, water policy, climate change) to human geography (development, state theory). Our shared commitment to collaboration and community makes for a lively and engaged department.

SGDE offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, two professional master’s degrees, and participates in several graduate certificate programs



College of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Campus where offered

Colorado Heights University- Main - Tucson

Tuition and Fees

Please refer to the CHU Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees.

Please refer to the CHU Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees.

Completion Requirements
Admissions Information

Minimum Credit Units (33)

Core Coursework Requirements

Degree Requirements

Over the course of 22 months students complete 47 credits of development-focused coursework, including a combination of core, elective, and integrative work.

Students begin by taking required core courses and other introductory activities with their cohort the first year.

During the summer between their two years of study, MDP students complete an intensive hands-on Practicum in their field of concentration and at a destination chosen in consultation with MDP faculty.

The Practicum acts as the pivot within the MDP program. Students apply knowledge and skills gained during the first year of study to their Practicum.  Then they return with new insights for the second year to distil the findings from their summer projects, to complete more specialized coursework, and to apply their experiences to the pursuit of new careers in development practice.


Overview of Courses

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to development practice, students must take a combination of required core courses, including the following:

Social Sciences:
DVP 601: Principles of Social Science for Development
DVP 602: The Role of Culture in Sustainable Development
Other electives of your choice (which for many students will be in economics)

Natural Sciences
DVP 620: Introduction to Natural Systems
DVP 621: Natural Resources Management: Applications 
Other electives of your choice

Health Sciences
An elective of your choice
A recommended course is HPS 533: Global Health

Development Management
DVP 630: Essential Management Principles for Development
Other electives of your choice
A recommended course is PA 582: Managing to Collaborate on Environmental and Natural Resource Conflicts

Additionally, students are required to take integrative coursework, which includes the following: 

DVP 600: Foundations of Development/ Boot Camp
DVP 640: Methods in Development Practice
DVP 641: The Global Classroom 
DVP 642A: Cross-cohort professional development seminar
DVP 694A: Summer Field Practicum
DVP 909: MDP Culmination Project

Before enrollment: It is highly recommended that all MDP students have completed at least some coursework in statistics before starting their first semester, and also take an additional statistical analysis course related to their particular area of focus.

For further questions about admissions, please contact MDPAdmissions@email.colorado.edu.


Additional Requirements

See required coursework

Student Handbook

Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.

Admissions Requirements

We do not accept terminal masters, all applications must be for the PhD program

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE

Funding Opportunities

The Academic Unit has not provided this information.

Funding Opportunities

Domestic & International Applicants

Fall:December 15th

International Conditional Admission

International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.

Other Information

The GRE Institution Code for The Colorado Heights University is 4832

Last revised 06 Oct 2020