Shaping Your Degree



The MALD curriculum is a highly flexible degree and can be customized in numerous ways to meet specific academic, personal and professional goals. Fletcher courses can be broadly categorized as theoretical, policy-focused, regionally-focused, or skills-oriented, with most courses embodying two to four of those elements. Fletcher’s courses are organized in three divisions: International Law and Organizations; Diplomacy, History, and Politics; and Economics and International Business. Coursework from each division ensures breadth and interdisciplinary study. MALD students build expertise in a particular area by selecting two concentrations from 22 Fields of Study. The Capstone Project allows students to partner with a faculty advisor to explore a particular international issue in depth. In addition, students have the option to incorporate cross-registration, joint and dual degrees, exchange programs, and certificates into their MALD degree.

Fields of Study

Fields of Study are the basic building blocks of the Fletcher curriculum.  Fields of Study are areas of specialization or concentration that are used to meet the School's depth requirement.  Fields enable students to develop a specific set of skills related to a functional topic or geographic area. MALD students are required to graduate with two Fields of Study.

Learn more about the 22 Fields of Study offered, as well as the ability to “Self-Design” a specific Field.

Regional Courses

Fletcher’s curriculum is oriented toward providing students with the functional expertise they need for global careers.  Although most Fletcher Fields of Study are organized around functional themes, the School also supports regional interests through coursework, comparative case studies, faculty and student research, and overseas internships.  Students may choose to focus on a specific geographic region by taking courses with regional relevance, by focusing their capstone project on a region, or by self-designing a regionally-focused Field of Study.  Many Fletcher courses, while organized along functional lines, have substantial content in a particular region, such as mobile banking in Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change in China, and the rule of law in post conflict societies such as Afghanistan. Internship opportunities are an excellent way of developing regional as well as functional expertise. 

Quantitative Focus

Quantitative reasoning skills are an important part of today’s professional toolkit. Fletcher provides a wide array of quantitative offerings while allowing students to determine the depth and type of quantitative knowledge and skills they will pursue. While some students choose quantitative coursework as a primary focus, others hone their quantitative skills in the context of another discipline. Students, by choice, may build quantitative skills in the following areas:

  • Business (accounting, management, marketing, financial analysis, corporate governance, law)
  • Financial Analysis and Accounting (balance sheets, cash flow analysis, reporting)
  • International Development (development economics, program design, microfinance, impact evaluation, results frameworks)
  • International Finance (project finance, governance, financial instruments, monetary and exchange rate policy)
  • Project Management (proposal development, budgeting, financial statement analysis, monitoring and evaluation)
  • Research Methods (field data collection, survey design, analytical frameworks)
  • Statistical and Economic Analysis (regression analysis, statistical reasoning and inference)

Integrated Capstone Project

Under the direction of a professor, the capstone project allows students to sharpen their analytical skills, build deep knowledge in a specific area of expertise, and create a bridge to their job search. Capstone projects have included business plans, policy memos, case studies, group projects, and academic theses. All MALD students complete a Capstone Project. This is a unique opportunity to transform the learning that takes place at Fletcher into a substantial independent product.


The Fletcher School also offers several optional certificates to MALD degree candidates. These certificates require more structured selection of coursework, research, and outside-the-classroom activities. Certificates complement the MALD degree by allowing students to define themselves in a manner that more closely reflects the realities of a competitive job market and the need to master certain core knowledge and skills.

Certificates available to currently enrolled MALD degree candidates at Fletcher include:

  • International Finance and Banking
  • Strategic Management & International Consultancy
  • Human Security
  • Diplomatic Studies
  • International Development

Learn more about Fletcher’s Certificates.

Cross-Registration, Exchange Programs, and Joint and Dual Degrees

Fletcher encourages students to tailor their studies to their meet academic interests and professional goals by offering cross-registration, opportunities, exchange programs, and joint and dual degrees. Fletcher maintains special relationships with many programs and graduate schools at Tufts University and Harvard University. In addition, one-semester exchange opportunities exist with many of Fletcher’s partner institutions around the world. Up to 25 percent of a student’s classes can be taken at other institutions. Students also have the option of pursuing a dual degree with some of the world’s leading professional schools and graduate programs. Additionally, students may pursue an ad hoc dual degree. The most common dual degrees combine a MALD degree with a degree in law, business, public health, education, and area studies.

Experiential and Extracurricular Learning

In addition to formal classroom instruction, Fletcher offers numerous extracurricular opportunities on a weekly basis. Fletcher’s research centers and student clubs and groups regularly host speakers and conferences representing a wide range of perspectives, current events and professional activities. By conducting cutting-edge research and providing experiential opportunities, Fletcher’s research centers and programs serve as a practical complement to classroom learning. Students gain hands-on experience through research, internships, study trips, business plan competitions, consulting projects, simulations, fieldwork, international conferences, and professional skill-building workshops.

MALD Graduation Requirements

While the MALD does not have a strict core curriculum, there is a structure in place to ensure that students acquire a breadth of knowledge, quantitative skills, and competency in a functional or regional area of study. Courses can be used in numerous combinations to meet the breadth and depth requirements. No two students end up taking the same set of courses to meet the MALD requirements, which are: