Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Cattolica International

Course details

The Master in International Cooperation and Development is structured as four complementary levels, fostering multidimensional training and integrating scientific methodologies and operative competences.

First level - Scientific training

  • Economic and Human Development
  • Geopolitics, Conflict and Post-conflict    
  • Trade and Finance for Development    
  • Development Law and Institutions    
  • Project Cycle Management and Theory of Change

Second level – Professional training 

Scientific and professional training are intertwined, to facilitate the indispensable dialogue between theory and practice. Students of different academic backgrounds cover the essentials of development (definition, actors, indicators), and the development/globalization nexus (trade, migrations, foreign investment, debt and finance). 
Institution building is a cornerstone of development: during the course, students discuss institutions and policies, historical legacies and current geopolitics, and geography as well, since energy and resources endowments, environmental and extreme climate events challenge local and international human security.

On this background, professional expertise can overcome the technocratic risk of applying one-size-fits-all projects. Students learn to design and evaluate development projects, to effectively communicate with all stakeholders. Development is not a mechanism: it is the experience of creativity that comes from truly partnering with the local community. 
In this perspective, the course also provides deep insights on selected development practices: poverty eradication, food security, community health, women’s education and entrepreneurship, resilience; last but not least, financing for development (impact investing, contrasting illicit cross-country financial flows).

Third level – Project work 

Students are required to develop a personal research project on a topic related to development cooperation, in close contact with a Master professor and/or a professional from a partner institution. 
The project work will often be connected to the internship experience, thus combining analytical skills and practical experience.

Fourth level – Internship 

The Master’s programme is completed with an internship in Italy or abroad within an institution whose mission and activities are consistent with the Master’s programme. This gives the student the invaluable opportunity to test and strengthen the competencies acquired during the Master’s programme and it usually lasts at least three months
Students will receive support and tutoring for their internship research, specifically concerning CV and cover letter preparation, vacancies research and internship announcements indication.

MICaD courses benefit from the contribution of leading practitioners and scholars, from organizations and institutions that also provide internship possibilities:
ACRA – Italy
AVSI – Italy
Caritas in Veritate Foundation – Switzerland
CESVI – Italy
COOPI – Italy
European Training Foundation – Italy
FOCSIV – Italy
Fondazione Cariplo – Italy
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - Peru
ISMU – Italy
Observatoire de la Finance – Switzerland
The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See – Geneva
Transcrime – Italy
UNCTAD – Switzerland
UNDP – Switzerland
UNICEF – Thailand
University of Notre Dame - U.S.A.
UNRIC – Belgium
WHO – Switzerland
World Food Programme – Italy
World Friends – Kenya
The MICaD programme conjugates theoretical knowledge and practical experience, so to give students a specific set of professional skills to successfully face the global job market, and to foster development cooperation with personal creativity competence:
  • Identifying local needs, valorizing partnering, bottom-up approaches.
  • Managing technical, financial and administrative aspects of cooperation initiatives.
  • Accompanying development actors and civil society in identifying resources and deciding upon their use.
  • Collaborating with national and international institutions within the policy framework of the country where projects are implemented.

Professional roles

Building on their previous academic studies and professional experience, students who complete the Master are well equipped to take on professional roles in international cooperation within NGOs, IOs, private or public agencies. In particular:

  • Project Cycle Experts
  • Project  Assistant or Manager
  • Analyst/Researcher/Evaluator
  • Communications Officer
  • Fund Raiser
  • Partnership Coordinator
  • Humanitarian Officer
  • Administrative Officer
  • Human Resources Officer

Prof. Simona Beretta, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore


  • Dr. Giacomo Agosti - CESVI
  • Dr. Lylen Albani - CESVI
  • Dr. Mariacristina Armellin - World Vision UK
  • Dr. Sara Balestri - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Dr. Elena Casolari - Fondazione Opes onlus
  • Dr. Frank Cinque - E4Impact
  • Prof. Emilio Colombo - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Prof. Paul H. Dembinski - University of Fribourg
  • Dr. Giuliano Gargioni - Global Tuberculosis Programme, WHO, Geneva
  • Dr. Deborah Grbac - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Dr. Soraya Johaar - Career Development Specialist, Brussels
  • Dr. Paolo Lembo - World Green Economy Organization
  • Dr. Mariangela La Manna - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Prof. Marco Lombardi - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Prof. Mario A. Maggioni - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Dr. Elisabetta Minelli - WHO Health Emergencies Programme
  • Prof. Mathias Nebel - Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Pueblo, Mexico
  • Dr. Francesca Oliva - AVSI
  • Prof. Aldo Pigoli - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Dr. Giovanna Prennushi - Independent Consultant
  • Prof. Riccardo Redaelli - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Prof. Michele Riccardi - Transcrime, Università Cattolica
  • Dr. Margherita Romanelli - WeWorld GVC
  • Dr. Andrea Rossi - UNICEF
  • Dr. Domenico Rossignoli - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
  • Dr. Javier Schunk - PCM Trainer
  • Dr. Nicola Strazzari - Vision Plus Media Enterprises, Turin
  • Dr. Simone Tagliapietra - Bruegel
  • Dr. Manuela Tortora - UNCTAD, Geneva
  • Prof. Teodora Erika Uberti - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

In addition each year a number of professionals from international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and applied researchers give open lectures and seminars.

“Working with likeminded individuals from all over the world and learning from industry experts and veterans cemented my desire to work in the development sector. The MICaD program’s unique approach in teaching both theory and practice helped me navigate an increasingly complex development sector. One of the things I loved about the program was the freedom and guidance that was given for the final project work. The skills I honed at ASERI were first tested when I chose to live and work with an indigenous farming tribe in the mountains of the Philippines for my research. Several years on, I continue to draw on these valuable lessons as a young project manager at a think tank in the Philippines. I am grateful for all the lessons I have learned while at ASERI but I am most thankful for all the friends and meaningful connections I have made there. As I start a new chapter in my professional career I will continue to strive to make the world a better place one day at a time, or in my case in the future, one city at a time.”
Jack Flaminiano (Project Manager at Development Academy of the Philippines – MICaD 2013/14).


“Thank you for the numerous opportunities to work with esteemed professors, who treated us as colleagues rather than students, sharing their professional and personal experiences, constantly asking us to question why we were at ASERI - Graduate School of Economics and International Relations, why we were interested in International Development, and to confirm our goals and motivations.
Thank you for challenging us to affront academic subjects that we wouldn't have otherwise dared: law for the economists, economics and finance for the sociologists, humanities for the scientists.
Thank you for providing a space where we were comfortable to share our ideas with absolute confidence that our colleagues would not pull us down but use our input to collaborate and build towards a well-founded, intelligent argument or idea.
One of my strongest memories from the programme is our first meeting as a class, where we sat in the grandiose classroom on the ground floor of ASERI and introduced ourselves one-by-one. Slowly we discovered the wealth of backgrounds and diversity sat in the classroom, about to set off on a six-month adventure that would teach us so much about the world, and ourselves.
I am so thrilled to be an ASERI Alumnus and look forward to seeing the path that each member of the 2019 Graduating Class will take.”
Melanie Weiss (intern at UNODC, Country Office Myanmar – MICaD 2018-19)


"Thanks to MICaD from postgraduate student, I became a young professional in the field of cooperation and development and later shaped a career in the rural development and fair trade. Today, I am the Projects Coordinator at Fair Trade Lebanon, supporting small farmers and producers to have a decent life. Our non-profit organization works to provide sustainable income by generating opportunities to agricultural and food processing cooperatives through providing access to local and international markets. In addition to that, I dedicate myself to fight for a fair society and decent country through advocacy strategies and approaches. I am very grateful to ASERI for opening up the horizons and pushing me forward to make the world a better place. Be realistic; demand the impossible."
Alexandre Salha (Projects Coordinator at Fair Trade Lebanon - Lebanon - MICaD 2013/14)


“As a MICaD Alumnus, I must thank this Master course for allowing me to begin my journey in the field of international cooperation with the right set of tools. The Faculty is made up by professionals coming from very different backgrounds and experiences, giving you a 360 degree perspective of cooperation and development. During the Master I began collaborating with the Italian NGO CESVI, where I still am working as a fundraiser. I chose to follow the path of fundraising because I strongly believe it is a unique way to participate in changing the world by being a bridge between donors and beneficiaries. By joining MICaD you will join a family of brilliant professionals who are working day by day to improve the world we live in.”
Mattia Borelli (Location Officer in the Fundraising Department of CESVI - Italy – MICaD 2016-17)


“Besides providing the practical and academic training needed to understand today’s complex nature of this field, ASERI’s programme required students to think creatively while exploring a wide range of topics that are at the heart of international development. These included gender, innovation, partnerships, migration, climate change, participation and social change. One of the very interesting aspects of this program was its internationality. Thanks to students from different parts of the world, discussions were enriched and the whole learning experience was amplified. Professors and professionals involved in the teaching and training were always available to provide with the support the students who are encouraged to explore a topic they have a particular interest in.”
Ola Wazwaz (Technical Officer at World Health Organization -  Switzerland – MICaD 2016-17)


“The MICaD served as turning point in my career path. Even though I had already some years of local experience with an international organization when I decided to join the MICaD little I knew on the inspiration the master classes would be; pushing my mental and physical borders further. Both scientific and professional training of the master classes combined with the multicultural environment introduced me to new professional fields and possibilities all to be explored. I built afterwards working experience on the field of migration and Human Rights Protection coordinating and managing different projects for organizations such as World Vision, UNHCR and OSCE. I am currently working on the Human Rights portfolio for the OSCE Presence in Albania knowing that this is not my final stop on the run for the Protection of Human Rights. It has been such a journey so far with a grateful heart to ASERI for the unquestionable contribution to it.”
Albana Gërxhi (Legal Assistant at OSCE Presence in Albania – MICaD 2011-12)


"If I think about MICaD, I connect it with the following keywords: motivation, inspiration and curiosity. The courses at ASERI gave me the chance to understand what I really wanted to do in life and getting to know professors and students sharing very similar interests and passions motivated me day by day. The Master allowed me to apply to various jobs that I found very attractive in small NGOs, such as CESVI or IBO Italia, but also in international organizations such as UNV in the Kingdom of eSwatini and at UNICEF in Nepal and Switzerland. I suggest to the new students of MICaD to remain focused and measure always the impact we have with our work in our team, in our unit, in our office, in our community and somehow in our society. I think this way we can contribute to the missions of the institutions we work for."
Filippo Oggioni Global Digital Fundraising Specialist at UNICEF – MICaD 2007-2008


"Thanks to MICaD from postgraduate student, I became a young professional in the field of cooperation in health and later I shaped a career in the public health and cooperation field. Today, I have not only one, but two dream jobs. I work part time in the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in the National Tuberculosis Programme as focal point for international cooperation. For the other half of my time, I also dedicate myself to the fight against tuberculosis, but in more an advocacy-related field. Our non-profit organization works to highlight the tuberculosis agenda and bring visibility and political will to change the reality of many people in need. I will be forever grateful to ASERI for opening up the horizons and helping me see the world as it is: a work in progress in the need of as many workers as it can get."
Cintia Dantas (International Consultant at the Ministry of Health in Brazil and Americas Regional Director at Global TB Caucus, Brazil, MICaD)


“More than 9 years have passed after my graduation: I have lived in three continents, overcome many adventures, collected much professional satisfaction and amazing human experience. I am currently managing a project about the reintegration of Al Shabhab former fighters in Somalia through a community reconciliation process. I arrived to Kenya 8 months ago after an internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda during the Master, some experiences with few Italian NGOs, a long mission in Afghanistan with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, human rights officer at the United Nations and finally working at the International Development Law Organization. It has been an intense professional journey: thank you ASERI for making this possible.”
Francesco PonzoniProgramme Manager and Legal Adviser at International Development Law Organization, Kenya, MICaD 2006/07


“The most remarkable aspect of MICaD at a professional level is the unique opportunity you have to be trained by high level professors, who are professionals coming from a wide variety of organizations, such as noteworthy Universities, international NGOs, and International Organizations. The master course provides you with a range of tools for economic and social macro and micro analysis, combined with good managing tools. Other important aspect is the multicultural environment you live in the classes, studying with colleagues coming from all over the world. Until now I keep in contact with my master’s mates. It gives you the opportunity to live a social experience while you are learning and preparing for your professional career.”
Inmaculada del Pino AlvarezFood Security Project Coordinator, FAO, São Tomé e Príncipe, MICaD 2009/2010


“The MICaD programme introduced me to a wide range of opinions and perspectives, and by keeping in touch with my professors and my classmates as they launch their careers all over the world, I continue to lean on this network to broaden my own
world view and gain a deeper understanding of events as they unfold. Through the coursework at ASERI, I gained a greater appreciation for monitoring and evaluation, and have leveraged those skills to pivot my career towards programme evaluation, and found a new calling in making sure that services deliver on the promises that are made to beneficiaries.”
Katie Sullivan, Research & Evaluation Manager at Urban Initiatives, USA, MICaD 2010/11


“Truly, the Master in International Co-operation and Development is a course that has been so beneficial to me and I continuously recommend it to individuals who have a calling to change the world through development because it provides the necessary foundation for you to cope with the realities that exist in the world. This course will teach you to manage projects, to understand the public space, to analyse the information around you but more importantly to know what your role is as a citizen of the world. This is a course that will prepare you to challenge the status quo and be a change maker. As an alumnae and a youth development specialist, I would recommend this course to you: the change maker, the status quo challenger and the altruistic citizen of the world.”
Carolyne Nyokabi NjugunaFounder and Executive Director of Impacting Youth Trust, Kenya, MICaD 2011/12
Classes take place at ASERI – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano, Italy – from January 11, 2024 to December 2024

Attendance is mandatory in order to obtain the diploma.

Detailed calendar: 
January – June 2024 >>> Classes and Exams 
June – September 2024 >>> Project work and internship 
November 2024 >>> Thesis discussion
December 2024 >>> Graduation 

If you are looking for a flexible and autonomous solution to learn Italian while studying at Università Cattolica, you can access the self-learning linguistic lab (CAP) of the SeLdA (Servizio Linguistico d’Ateneo) and benefit from a personalized language advisory service. 

In addition, SELDA organizes fee-paying Italian language courses, for more information contact SELDA from the dedicate iCatt function (in the homepage, box “request for information”).