UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Winter: Italy: Improving Programs through Evaluation-Based Performance Monitoring and Management (PLCY)

Rome, Italy
Terms Offered: 
Program Type: 
Credit Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
EA Advisor:
Language of Instruction: 

Rome - Colosseum at night, credit David Kohler via Unsplash

Even the best designed program can falter from poor implementation or management. Consequently, governments, multinational organizations, NGOs, and funders seek to improve program operations—using the tools of program evaluation to monitor program activities, outcomes, and costs. The most important tools they use include counterfactual identification, performance targets, and comparative effectiveness evaluations.

This, in turn, creates a demand for staff able to apply and interpret these tools of evaluation-based program monitoring. The course seeks to advance the skills and careers of participants by helping them understand and use these tools in real-world settings.

Students will learn how to:

  • Formally assess the need to establish, modify, or expand a program (whether public or private);
  • Use logic models to identify and operationalize key elements of performance indicators;
  • Collect and analyze data performance data for program monitoring;
  • Use counterfactuals, performance targets, and comparative effectiveness evaluations to gauge performance;
  • Estimate program costs (including total costs, cost-efficiency, cost effectiveness, and cost-benefit analysis); and
  • Apply the resulting data to improve program performance though management techniques and program adjustments and restructuring.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

The course is open to all graduate students from any degree program (including non-UMD students) and to undergraduates who are in their junior or senior years. 

If you are interested in this program but do not meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to the program director (listed in the Contacts tab) to discuss your interest in the program.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following three (3) credit UMD courses:

  • PLCY 689T: Improving Programs through Evaluation-Based Performance Monitoring and Management

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit.

The course is required for the Program Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation certificate and also counts as an elective course for any degree program at the School of Public Policy.

Students will stay in a Monastery in Rome. Accommodation is single rooms with attached bathrooms and breakfast provided. 

Costs listed are basic estimates. The updated budget for winterterm 2024 will be published when available.


Application Fee $25
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Tuition $
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Activities $
Housing Fee $
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Education Abroad Fee $700
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance (estimate) $50
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $100
Visa $0
Passport $165
Expedited Passport Processing (recommended) $60
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $1,500
Course Materials $50
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $200
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $200

NOTE: If you are a non-UMD graduate student, you will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD graduate school to participate in this program.

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancelation due to low enrollment.

Douglas J. Besharov is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, where he teaches courses on poverty, welfare, children and families, policy analysis, program evaluation, and performance management. He is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, where he leads a program on comparative social policy. In 2008, he was President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) and, subsequently, APPAM's International Conference Coordinator. He is now director of the University's Welfare Reform Academy and its Center for International Policy Exchanges. Between 1985 and 2009, he was a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Between 1975 and 1979, he was the first director of the U.S. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. Together with Neil Gilbert of the University of California (Berkeley), Professor Besharov is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford University Press Library on International Social Policy. Among his eighteen books is Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned, a book designed to help professionals and laypersons identify and report suspected child abuse. He has written over 250 articles, and has contributed to The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Douglas M. Call, M.P.P., is a Senior Research Analyst at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy's Program for International Policy Exchanges and its Welfare Reform Academy. He graduated with his Master's in Public Policy from the School of Public Policy in May 2007. He has coauthored (with Professor Besharov) articles for the Policy Studies Journal and The Wilson Quarterly. With Professor Besharov, he was the coeditor of Poverty, Welfare, and Public Policy, the third volume in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management's Classics series. He is also a lecturer at the UMD School of Public Policy, teaching courses on poverty measurement and alleviation, program evaluation, and the capstone course for students in the social policy concentration. With Professor Besharov, he is coediting the OUP volume Labor Activation in a Time of High Unemployment: Encouraging Work while Preserving the Social Safety-Net and has been involved with organizing and shaping the agenda for past policy exchanges in Paris, Rome, Shanghai, and Segovia.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs.

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following activities:

  • Course taught by leading international experts in policy analysis
  • Visits to senior officials of relevant Italian government offices, international organizations, and NGOs in Rome, including officials from the Bank of Italy, the Italian National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education and Training System (INVALSI); and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance
  • Lectures from representatives from the European Court of Auditors and the European Commission Directorate for Competition
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Winterterm 2024 10/22/2023 10/23/2023 01/07/2024 01/20/2024