Since the establishment of the GHD Program in 2012, students have spent the summer between their two years of study working as interns at overseas field sites for 10-12 weeks with a variety of development organizations, including NGOs, aid agencies, development consulting firms, social enterprises, multinational corporations, and foundations. In 2016, students were placed with host agencies in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Their assignments ranged from design of randomized control trials (RCT) research, to evaluation of humanitarian assistance programs, to advisory roles in government ministries. From these summer field projects, students gain hands-on professional development experience, as well as an opportunity to practice and extend what they have learned in the classroom. Summer field projects both deepen the technical specialization of the students and allow them to reflect on effective and ethical development practice.
Summer field projects are an essential feature of the Global Human Development Program, and are supported by students' regular coursework. For example, the core course "Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects and Programs", which all students will take in the second semester of their first year, is designed to prepare the students for their summer projects. In the fall semester of their second year, posters summarizing summer field projects are the first required assignment in the "Management Analysis & Practice" course, and student experiences provide a basis for discussion on the management and leadership challenges that development practitioners encounter during their professional careers. Students are also able to draw upon their summer field experience in papers and reports submitted for other courses, potentially including the Capstone project that is a core requirement for the GHD Masters degree.
Funding for travel expenses and a modest stipend are provided by the GHD Program, or in certain instances by host agencies where the students are placed for the summer.
Safety and security protocols for travel and arrangements are coordinated with OGS.