The Pearson Institute International Policy and Development Specialization


The International Policy and Development (IPD) Specialization focuses on two broad kinds of questions:

1. How to achieve economic and political development? These courses focus on why some people and societies are poor, unequal, unstable, or unfree, and what circumstances and policies promote wealth, equality, stability, and freedoms.

2. How to design and implement public policy globally? The courses focus on public policy issues in an international setting across a range of subjects, including: education, health, children, criminal justice, public finance, labor markets, elections, and so forth.

The IPD specialization is designed to prepare students for careers in government, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, or multinational corporations.

Students who complete this specialization will be able to:

  • Assess key arguments advanced historically and currently in the arena of development

  • Understand whether and why an intervention is successful or not, whether an intervention is scalable and how to meaningfully measure outcomes

  • Seek data-driven solutions to development issues across multiple sectors, including economy, education, governance, energy, security, gender, health, and the environment

The specialization’s curated list of electives is designed to allow students to explore multiple academic approaches to understanding development, including from economics, political science, statistics, and psychology. In addition, we encourage students pursuing the specialization to participate in events sponsored by The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts.

Harris specializations function as areas of specialization within the degree. specializations assume knowledge of the 6-course Harris Core and build upon that foundation with coursework in specific policy areas or technical skills.

Application Process

The specialization is open to any University of Chicago graduate student. Harris students please indicate your intent to pursue this specialization using the Harris Specialization Declaration Form. If you are a non-Harris student and intend to complete the requirements for the International Policy and Development specialization please submit the Harris specialization Application for Non-Harris Students to indicate you are pursuing this specialization.

For specialization registration questions, please reach out to

Planning for the Specialization

For information on which quarter(s) each course will be offered see the Harris Courses page and filter by specialization. For courses offered by other divisions the typical quarter(s) offered has been indicated.

Specialization Requirements

The specialization requires completion of three specialization courses. Students must achieve at least a B- grade in each course. No specialization course may be taken on a pass/fail grading basis. The courses do not need to be taken in a particular order. Students should complete the formal signup process to indicate their intention to pursue the specialization.

The specialization will be awarded to students who complete any three of the qualifying courses; however, the following two courses are recommended as a fundamental sequence of the specialization:

The following courses also fulfill the requirement for the International Development and Policy specialization:

Specialization Contacts

Rebecca Wolfe, Faculty Administrative Director

Christopher Blattman, Specialization Director

Faculty Spotlight


Chris Blattman

Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies

Christopher Blattman

A faculty member in The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, Chris Blattman focuses on why some people and societies are poor, unequal and violent, and how to tackle these issues.