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MITx MicroMasters Program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy

Tackle the most pressing problems facing the world’s poor from a rigorous, evidence-driven perspective with content and faculty from MIT’s Department of Economics and J-PAL.

Learn more and enroll in the MicroMasters >>

MIT’s Department of Economics and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) designed the MicroMasters® program credential in Data, Economics, and Development Policy (DEDP) to equip learners with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing developing countries and the world’s poor. Through a series of five online courses and in-person exams, learners will gain a strong foundation in microeconomics, development economics, and probability and statistics, while engaging with cutting-edge research in the field. The program is unique in its focus on designing and running randomized evaluations to assess the effectiveness of social programs and its emphasis on hands-on skills in data analysis.

In this section: 

How the DEDP MicroMasters program works:

To earn the DEDP MicroMasters program credential, learners complete three core courses (Microeconomics, Data Analysis for Social Scientists, and Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations) and two of three electives (The Challenges of Global Poverty, Foundations of Development Policy, and Political Economy and Economic Development) online and pass their corresponding in-person exams. The five courses can be taken in any sequence, and the curriculum gives learners the flexibility to choose which electives they take.

Learners who receive the MicroMasters program credential will then be eligible to apply to MIT’s new Master’s program in Data, Economics, and Development Policy. If accepted, students will earn credit for the MicroMasters program courses and will be able to pursue an accelerated on-campus Master’s degree at MIT.

“Students who earn the MicroMasters credential and master’s degree in DEDP will come out ready to be leaders in their field and to change the world. They’ll acquire the tools to be creative, analytical thinkers who will reinvent antipoverty policy. And they’ll gain the courage and skills to put all their ideas to the test, and fail, and try again until they succeed.”
Esther Duflo, J-PAL Director

Who should enroll?

  • Policymakers and practitioners from governments, NGOs, international aid agencies, foundations, and other entities in the development sector
  • Academics and evaluators looking to re-tool and apply data-driven perspectives to social and development programs
  • Students interested in pursuing admission to graduate programs in development economics, public policy, political science, or related fields
  • Social entrepreneurs, managers, and researchers in the development sector

"I’ve worked in government and international agencies, and know how important a thorough grounding in economics and data analysis is to good policymaking. Our aim with this MicroMasters is to give people—wherever they are in the world—the skills they need to bring the best analytical tools and empirical evidence to bear to help solve the world’s most pressing problems."
Rachel Glennerster, J-PAL Executive Director, currently on leave as Chief Economist at DfID

What you will learn:

  • To identify and analyze the root causes of underdevelopment using principles of economics
  • To interpret the findings of empirical research that evaluates the effectiveness of anti-poverty strategies, policies, and interventions
  • Practical knowledge on how to design and implement rigorous randomized evaluations and other econometric methods for evaluating policies and programs
  • Tools of comparative cost-effectiveness analysis for informed policy-making
  • Fundamentals of microeconomics, development economics, probability, and statistics
  • Hands-on skills in data analysis using the R programming language

"The world of development policy has become increasingly evidence-based. Development practitioners need to understand not just development issues, but how to analyze them in rigorous ways using data."
Benjamin Olken, J-PAL Director

Hear from a current student:

Thousands of students are currently enrolled in the MicroMasters program from over 180 countries around the world. Hear from one of our MicroMasters learners below.

The courses:

Core Courses

MITx 14.100x: Principles of Microeconomics
Use economic models to learn how prices and markets benefit society in the face of scarcity, and then apply those models to analyze policy.
Jonathan Gruber, Ford Professor of Economics, MIT

JPAL102x: Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations
Learn how to both design randomized evaluations and implement them in the field to measure the impact of social programs.
Rachel Glennerster, Executive Director (on leave), J-PAL; Chief Economist at the UK Department for International Development (DfID)
Anja Sautmann, Director of Research, Education, and Training, J-PAL

MITx 14.310x: Data Analysis for Social Scientists
Learn methods for harnessing and analyzing data to answer questions of cultural, social, economic, and policy interest.
Esther Duflo, Director, J-PAL; Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, MIT
Sara Fisher Ellison, Senior Lecturer, Economics, MIT

Elective Courses (Choose two of three)

MITx 14.73x: The Challenges of Global Poverty
A course for those who are interested in the challenge posed by massive and persistent world poverty.
Esther Duflo, Director, J-PAL; Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, MIT
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Director, J-PAL; Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics, MIT

MITx 14.740x: Foundations of Development Policy: Advanced Development Economics
Using economic theory and data analysis, explore the economic lives of the poor, and the ways to design and implement effective development policy.
Esther Duflo, Director, J-PAL; Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, MIT
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Director, J-PAL; Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics, MIT
Benjamin Olken, Director, J-PAL; Professor of Economics, MIT

MITx 14.750x: Political Economy and Economic Development
Explore why and how political institutions affect economic development, and apply key theories and empirical techniques to real-world examples ranging from voting and corruption to the role of the media.
Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Director, J-PAL; Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics, MIT
Benjamin Olken, Director, J-PAL; Professor of Economics, MIT

To learn more about the program and enroll today please visit the MicroMasters portal. You can also reach out to directly to [email protected] with any questions or concerns.