May 22, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2007-08 
Graduate Catalog 2007-08 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Development Administration

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments and Programs

MDA Director:
Paul Clements,
Room 3354, Friedmann Hall

The Master of Development Administration (MDA) program is designed to prepare candidates for careers in international development and to meet the specialized needs of public administrators from the developing countries. The course of instruction has as its focus the political dimensions of development and democratization and includes a strong multidisciplinary component that draws from public administration, economics, computer science, business and management, social work, human resources and health delivery systems, and educational leadership.

The program is designed for two types of students: Public administrators and officials from developing countries who require additional training to meet new or increased responsibilities; and recent graduates from both developing and industrial countries, including the United States, who are interested in development–careers in the public sector, i.e., in government, non-governmental organization, or international organization.

The MDA program includes development administration theory and practice, exposure to development strategies, and the honing of skills. MDA students are guided in their work by established and experienced members of the academic community, all of whom are research scholars, and the majority of whom have lived and worked in the developing countries. Usually faculty have had experience with national and/or international organizations, or have worked with a variety of governments on development projects.

Two options exist—the standard MDA program and the Peace Corps option. The admission and program requirements for each option are listed below.

Standard MDA Program Option

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the requirements for admission to The Graduate College in order to be considered for admission to this program. An applicant must possess an undergraduate degree, preferably in the social sciences with either a concentration in political science or public administration, and should have some exposure to economics and/or statistics. Applicants with actual public administration experience may, under some circumstances, substitute professional attainments for undergraduate preparation.

A grade point average of 3.0 in all undergraduate work is normally a requirement for admission to the MDA program; however, where grading scales are computed differently, equivalencies will be determined. International students must obtain from and submit their applications to the WMU Office of International Student Services. American students should apply through the WMU Graduate Admissions Office. The Department of Political Science also requires three recommendations (using WMU Graduate Reference Forms), a one page statement of the student’s interest in the MDA program, and any other supporting data that can assist the Department’s Admissions Committee, which screens and judges all applications.

All students must demonstrate English proficiency (i.e., the ability to speak, read, and write in the English language) before entering the MDA program. A Career English Program is available for students whose English language capabilities are limited.

Students are encouraged to submit all required application materials by June 15 for the fall semester; by September 15 for the winter semester; and by February 15 for the spring session.

Program Requirements

The Master of Development Administration is a professional degree that requires forty-two semester hours of graduate courses. Up to six hours may be waived for those with extensive administration experience. To earn the MDA degree, students must maintain a minimum “B” average (GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale) in all courses. Students normally complete the program in 20 months. The basic requirements are as follows:

1. Prerequisites (non-credit)

Only for those candidates without the requested academic or practical background: PSCI 3300, Introduction to Public Administration; and ECON 2010 or 2020, Principles of Economics, or other courses as determined by the MDA Director, or other courses as determined by the MDA Director.

4. International and Comparative Studies.

One course (3 hours):

5. Concentrations.

Three courses within one of the five concentrations (9 hours). Most students take the Standard Concentration. Under special circumstances a mix of courses appropriate to the needs of the student may be selected with the approval of the MDA Director.

6. Approved Elective (3 hours):

With the approval of the MDA Director choose one course from the above.

Peace Corps Program Option

The MDA Peace Corps Option is designed for students who wish to earn the MDA degree and to carry out two years of service as Peace Corps Volunteers. This option is only available to U.S. citizens as Peace Corps only accepts U.S. nationals. Prospective students should apply for entrance into Peace Corps and into the MDA Program concurrently. Rather than the forty-two credit hours required for a standard MDA, the Peace Corps Option requires thirty-six credit hours plus completion of Peace Corps service. Of these thirty-six credit hours, thirty are earned at Western Michigan University and six credit hours are earned for a field paper researched and written during Peace Corps service. The thirty credit hours on campus are normally earned in a rigorous ten month course of study from September through June (four three-hour courses in the fall semester, four in the winter semester, and two in the spring session).

Admission requirements

The admission requirements for the Peace Corps Option are the same as those for the Standard Program Option listed above. Applicants, however, should note on the MDA application that they want the “Peace Corps Option.” On the application to Peace Corps, applicants should note that they are also applying to the Master’s International Program (MIP) in Development Administration at Western Michigan University

Program requirements

1. Prerequisites—same as for Standard MDA Program Option.

3. Tools or Skills (3 hrs.):

4. International and Comparative Studies (3 hrs.):

One of the following:

5. Concentrations (9 hrs.):

Three courses (9 hrs.) in an area of personal concentration selected with the approval of the MDA Director. 

6. Approved elective (3 hrs.):

One course (3 hrs.) selected with the approval of the MDA Director.

7. Field Paper (6 hrs.):

8. Peace Corps Service:

Notification by Peace Corps of completed service.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments and Programs