By combining online coursework with an eight-month residential experience, our master's program allows students to access our world-class graduate training in a flexible and accessible format.

Students complete five online courses as part of the MITx MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy over a flexible time period before arriving at MIT in January for the residential program. Once on campus, students complete a semester of coursework in the spring, followed by a summer capstone project.

Coursework and Capstone

To earn the DEDP MicroMasters program credential, learners must complete three core courses and two of three electives offered, and pass their corresponding proctored exams on MITx Online. The five courses can be taken in any sequence. If admitted into the residential DEDP master's program, students will receive MIT credit for the MicroMasters program courses.

Core Courses

MITx 14.100: Microeonomics
Instructor: Jonathan Gruber

JPAL 102x: Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations
Instructors: Rachel Glennerster and 12 J-PAL affiliates

MITx 14.310x: Data Science for Social Scientists
Instructors: Esther Duflo and Sara Ellison

Elective Courses

Choose two from the following, with at least one course being an advanced course.

MITx 14.73x: Challenges of Global Poverty
Instructors: Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

MITx 14.740x: Foundations of Development Policy (Advanced)
Instructors: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Benjamin Olken

MITx 14.750x: Political Economy and Economic Development (Advanced)
Instructors: Abhijit Banerjee and Benjamin Olken

MITx 14.009x: Good Economics for Hard Times
Instructors: Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Enrolled students complete four on-campus courses chosen from the following concentration areas in their spring semester:

  • Microeconomics (e.g. microeconomic theory, behavioral economics, game theory)
  • Development Economics (e.g. political economy of development, advanced development economics)
  • Data Analysis (e.g. econometrics, program evaluation)
  • Elective (to be taken in the department or elsewhere at MIT)

In addition to the courses above, students attend a weekly lunch seminar exclusive to students in the DEDP master's program. Students also have the option to attend weekly departmental research seminars in development economics that focus on the discussion of research topics and policy issues.

More information on the subject requirements and credit units for the DEDP program is available on the MIT Course Catalog.

Immediately following the residential semester at MIT, students complete a summer capstone experience. The capstone consists of an approved internship and a project report required for graduation in lieu of a master’s thesis. Through the capstone experience, students have a chance to apply the skills and knowledge they gained during the program while gaining valuable work experience to further their career goals upon graduating. Organizations similarly benefit from working with a group of highly trained and motivated students.

Internships run from June through August and can be based in any location. Students work full time during this period and may work from their host organizations' locations or remotely. International students are eligible for CPT work authorization if they are working with a US-based employer.

The internship can involve working with a previous employer, a particular organization of interest to the student, or a placement with one of J-PAL's many partners. The DEDP team helps match students with organizations for their internship placement if they do not have an employer lined up.

Project Requirements

Students spend the majority of their time working on a substantive project during their internship. Projects could include working on data analysis, policy implementation, intervention design, program evaluation, or other relevant topics. Students complete a capstone report based on their internship project. At the end of the internship, students present their findings to the faculty and program directors and their fellow classmates.

  • EPoD
  • IPA
  • Oxfam
  • OECD
  • Policy Simulation Library
  • Teaching at the Right Level Africa
  • World Bank Group
  • Youth Impact (formerly Young 1ove)
  • CEGA
  • J-PAL
  • New York Times
  • Precision Agriculture for Development
  • Trinity Impact Evaluation Unit
  • World Food Programme

Wei Lu: For my capstone project, I worked with the Data and Evidence for Justice Reform (DE JURE) unit of the World Bank on a Peru legal training project. The project evaluates the impact of social-emotional learning (SEL) and class monitoring on judicial performance of judges and prosecutors. I was responsible for drafting the pre-analysis plan and developing an online platform for the SEL experiment using the oTree application framework. It was an interesting learning experience to participate in the early planning, development and deployment stages of an RCT. Through this project, I managed to apply both my software engineering skills and economics knowledge to make meaningful contributions.

José Pinilla: I spent the summer at the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), a hub for global development research, conducting a policy impact review on a sample of research projects funded or supported by CEGA. The objective was to gain a better understanding of the different channels through which projects can influence policy decisions and programming, and to give recommendations on how to: 1) identify projects with high potential for impact; 2) capture policy impacts that may take time to materialize, and; 3) support researchers and policymakers to improve the policy impact potential of their projects. To understand the pathways for impact, we conducted a document review and interviewed researchers and implementing partners. This was a great opportunity to learn about how research projects are implemented on the ground and the challenges in working with decision-makers to influence policy.

Fredric Kong: For my internship, I worked with two professors in the Economics Department at MIT. My work with Professor Autor focused on understanding where new work comes from and the differential effect of innovations on new occupations. I classified patents as process or product innovation using natural language processing tools and machine learning techniques with the goal of uncovering the origins of new tasks, the skills they demand, and how they contribute to the evolution of the labor market. With Professor Banerjee, I explored a general equilibrium model to understand trade, inequality, and policy in the context of imperfect markets that are typical in development economics. Across the two projects, I used a variety of computational tools to tease out new insights. True to the degree’s name, the internships applied the mathematical and econometric skills taught during our classes.

Max Ghenis: I worked with the Policy Simulation Library to estimate the income elasticity of labor supply using their open source dynamic macroeconomic model of the US economy, OG-USA. The simulations revealed that OG-USA predicts larger labor responses than those found in most microeconometric studies. Over the course of the study, I also identified opportunities to calibrate the model and wrote an open source Python package that improves the imputation of taxpayer age using machine learning. By applying economic theory and evidence I learned in the DEDP program to a rich model of the US economy, I developed a deeper understanding of how different areas of the field interact to inform policy design. Since graduating, I have been using these lessons to study universal basic income policies.