Notice

Effective March 2012, the Payson Center has temporarily suspended admissions to the Ph.D. program.  Please continue to check our Website for updates.

About Us

The Payson Center for International Development is an interdisciplinary center at Tulane University’s Law School offering Master of Science, Joint Juris Doctor and Master of Science, Master of Laws (LLM) in DevelopmentDoctorate degrees, as well as a coordinate undergraduate major in international development. Since its inception in 1997, the Payson Center has generated one of the fastest growing academic programs at Tulane University. The Payson Center delivers to students a solid foundation of interdisciplinary theories and practices to improve the quality of life for populations in the developing world. The program’s focus is deeply rooted in sustainable human development, which leads to societies that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially just.

Sustainable human development, defined by the Brundtland Commission as "development that meets the needs of this generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," is inherently interdisciplinary. The Payson Center was initiated on the belief that sustainable human development involves improving the quality of people’s lives by expanding their ability to shape their own futures. While this generally calls for higher per-capita income via economic growth and development, it requires much more. Achieving sustainable human development often requires more equitable education and job opportunities, greater gender equality, better health and nutrition, a cleaner and more sustainable natural environment, more impartial judicial and legal systems, and broader civil and political freedoms.

Understanding and ensuring sustainable human development requires that our faculty come from a variety of disciplines. Our current faculty working in the Payson Center comes from disciplines such as:

Further, we are an applied program where students and faculty alike learn not only in the classroom but in the world. Many of our students gain additional international development experience by working closely with our faculty on a variety of development projects.

Since its inception, the Center has administered 59 projects in 25 countries, with a combined budget of over $83 million. Our student body is as diverse (if not more so) as our interdisciplinary approach to development and students hail from all parts of the world. In order to meet their needs, several of our classes are offered online. It is not uncommon for our students to be distance-based during a portion of their coursework engaged in the practice of sustainable development while simultaneously working toward their degree.

Our graduates are working for international organizations, managing non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and are professors and practitioners around the world.

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