Master's Program in Data, Economics and Development Policy



Today, the international fight against poverty is more data driven than ever before. Increasingly, understanding and producing rigorous evidence is critical for those seeking to affect change globally, but opportunities to acquire these skills remain limited. To meet this rising demand and equip development professionals worldwide with the necessary tools to make effective decisions on some of the world’s most difficult questions, MIT’s Department of Economics is now offering a master’s program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP), which combines online coursework with a short residential campus stay.

The master’s in Data, Economics, and Development Policy is the first master’s program to be offered by MIT’s Department of Economics. It is also the first program at MIT to exist exclusively in a blended (online/residential) form. All students must first successfully complete the online MITx MicroMasters® credential at their own pace before applying to MIT for the DEDP master’s program. The MicroMasters credential requires learners to pass five rigorous online courses, along with accompanying proctored exams for each course. The semester-long MicroMasters courses are open to learners around the world.

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Learners admitted to the master’s program will be credited 48 academic units for the coursework they completed remotely as part of the MicroMasters credential (90 units are necessary for graduation, with the remaining 42 units completed during the residential semester and an approved capstone project) and will be able to earn a Master of Applied Science in Data, Economics, and Development Policy degree within approximately half a year. The first cohort of 22 students graduated from the program in 2020. Visit the DEDP master’s program website to learn more about the current cohort.

Application and Admissions

To be eligible to apply to the DEDP master’s program, learners must first earn the full MITx DEDP MicroMasters credential by passing five online courses and their proctored exams.

For details on the next application cycle, timeline for admissions, and admissions criteria, please visit the admissions page of the DEDP master’s program website.

For details on the required application components and guidance on TOEFL/IELTS requirements for international students, please visit the application page of the DEDP master’s program website.

Program Costs and Funding Opportunities

To earn the Master of Applied Science in Data, Economics and Development Policy, students must first earn the MITx MicroMasters credential. The cost of the online courses in the program varies depending on students’ ability to pay. You can find more information on the DEDP MicroMasters course pricing here and on the MicroMasters FAQ page.

To learn more about estimated tuition costs, fees, and living expenses for the residential component of the program, please see the program costs page of the DEDP master’s website.

Learners who are admitted to the program will be eligible to apply for financial support through scholarships. Please see the funding opportunities page on the master's program website for more information.


The following courses are part of the curriculum of the Master of Applied Science in Data, Economics, and Development Policy:

1) Five online courses completed as part of the MITx MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (completed over a flexible time period)

2) Four on-campus courses chosen from the the following concentration areas (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 will attend a weekly lunch seminar exclusive to students in the DEDP master's program. Students will also have the option to attend weekly departmental research seminars in development economics. The seminars will focus on the discussion of research topics and policy issues.

Immediately following the residential semester at MIT, learners will complete a summer capstone experience to apply the knowledge gained during the program. The capstone experience consists of an approved internship and a project report, which will be required for graduation in lieu of a master’s thesis. The internship may involve the student’s current employer, if the student is returning to their job, or a placement with one of J-PAL’s many partners.

Frequently Asked Questions

For questions on the DEDP master’s program, including details on the application process, logistics for the on-campus portion of the program, program curriculum, finances, and information for international students, please review the DEDP master’s program FAQ page.

For more information on the DEDP master’s program, please visit the program page on the MIT Economics site or email with questions about the program.

Future Courses Dates

Fall 2021: starts Oct. 5, 2021
Spring 2022: starts Feb. 1, 2022

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