The Development specialization provides students with the tools to analyze the effectiveness of development policies and a strong understanding of evidence-based policy-making. It focuses on development, broadly defined, beyond the traditional confines of economic development. Courses within this track raise a series of fundamental questions: Why is there such a wide disparity of access to basic goods and services for ordinary citizens? Are there different tools for helping us understand poverty and inequality? What are the current debates regarding policy solutions? This specialization provides a nuanced understanding of persistent and emerging issues in the economics, politics, and practice of development in answering these questions.
To effectively address the complex and multidimensional nature of policy-making, the
specialization uses quantitative and qualitative tools to examine and address the root causes of poverty and inequality at several levels of analysis: nation states, institutions, households, and individuals. The approach is interdisciplinary, but allows for advanced coursework in political economy, development microeconomics, and macroeconomics. The courses within this specialization cover a wide array of themes as a response to current complex challenges, including state formation, political economy, humanitarian intervention, South-South networks, and policy evaluation. Pedagogically, we aim to develop students’ ability to engage in independent, critical analysis of, and engagement with, development as a sphere of professional practice.
The Governance specialization focuses on governance within and beyond the nation state, and related changes to the underlying structure of the global political economy. It analyses how problems are solved (or not solved) in contexts in which authority, whether concentrated or dispersed, requires cooperation among multiple independent actors. Students learn how different groups of governmental and non-governmental actors influence policy-making and how regional and global governance penetrates core domains of public policy in national and local settings. This specialization helps students to identify alternative institutional options for cooperative problem-solving and, from a more critical perspective, examines why intergovernmental solutions advocated over recent decades no longer appear to be working.
Higher Education Policy
The Higher Education Policy specialization focuses on the public policy functions of higher education. It analyzes how these functions are defined and realized (at the national, regional, international, and global levels); who makes higher education policies; what are the motivations for specific policy approaches and initiatives in higher education; what tools are used; and what their impact is. Students learn to analyze situations and problems in higher education policy and to develop solutions and implementation practices, also taking into consideration the connections between higher education policy and policies in other areas of economic and social life.
Social Justice and Human Rights
The specialization welcomes students who intend to develop an overview or more thorough knowledge on equality and social justice issues. It intends to train future professionals of governmental bodies, international organizations, research institutes and civil society organizations to analyze inequality regimes and debates, and to design and evaluate policy interventions in both enabling and more difficult political contexts.
The specialization offers an introduction to a multidisciplinary literature that addresses policy debates, paradigms, and interventions around outstanding issues of inequality, social justice, and human rights in different political, legal and policy environments.
The specialization will help students explore how a variety of policy arenas encounter the problem of inequality and unfairness (e.g. in fiscal and tax policy, labor market regulations, welfare provisions, education, human rights protection, etc.), and also to get insights in explicit equality and human rights driven policies conceived either as sector or problem based (e.g. inclusive education, equitable regional development, work-life balance, rights based international development, etc.) or category based interventions (Roma inclusion, migration and gender equality, etc.). The specialization will also offer specialized knowledge in distinctive equality issues in which faculty members of the specialization conduct research including for example the role of courts in human rights regimes, gender based violence, politics of Roma inclusion in Europe, labor market and migration nexus, anti-poverty development, and regional inequalities and demographic challenges.
Media and Communication (only for MPA 2nd Y)
The Media and Communication specialization focuses on the relationship between media (particularly digital media) and the state, geopolitics, market, and society. It engages with cultural and sociological understandings of Internet media through the lens of the Global South and the geopolitics of Internet media and digital rights. Courses will emphasize deep engagement with media and social theory and the implications of new digital media geographies for global communications and the development of public policy. Fundamental questions of media rights and freedoms are considered within this track, and the diversity of international policy responses and their impacts are explored. Strategies for advocacy of media freedoms, application of new digital technologies, and approaches for data/information gathering for media and communications policy are emphasized in the practice elements of courses.
Security (only for MPA 2nd Y)
The Security specialization is framed around the fundamental question ‘whose security? This expands analysis of security policy from a traditional focus on nation states to society and individuals, in turn fostering a critical understanding of how security threats and challenges are problematized. The multiple forms of insecurity in the contemporary world, including violent conflict, gender-based violence, and terrorism are analyzed in this specialization, and the policies designed to address such threats are assessed. Courses explore national, regional and international policy priorities and responses, and introduce students to the tools to evaluate their effectiveness and impacts.
This specialization combines methodological, theoretical, and practice components. It promotes a focus on the design, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs, methods for analyzing security debates and interventions, and knowledge of toolkits that have been developed to enhance conflict sensitive and rights-based approaches in security policy design and implementation.