Discover how the world works and where you can make a difference.

At Global Development, we are all about education with impact. We harness the energies and talents of students and experts from a range of disciplines to prepare next-generation leaders through engaged learning inside the classroom and around the world.

Complex problems require complex solutions, and for that reason you'll find a blend of multidisciplinary courses, specialties and expertise in Global Development. If you want to acquire cutting edge skills, credentials and understanding that will help you to make the world a better place, look no further than the Department of Global Development.

Our degrees & programs

Whether you're embarking on your first educational journey or you're a young or mid-career professional looking for training opportunities, you've come to the right place. Join us in our mission to make a direct social impact.

Our majors

Interpret problems, clarify solutions, develop leadership and foster positive social change in social and economic development, agriculture and food systems or environment and development

Gain understanding on societal development to better tackle poverty and improve the health, income, education and well-being of people in local and global environments.

Address poverty and food security in developing countries through innovations in agriculture, science and policy.

Our minors

Engage with critical contemporary issues relating to food security, food sovereignty and food justice.

Prepare for a career in teaching and lifelong learning.

The Leadership Minor features new courses and integrates existing courses with community activities and co-curricular experiences in a guided pathway that will help you develop the skills necessary to become a true leader and engage with diverse communities.

Graduate degrees

Enhance your practical and technical skills and prepare you for a career in field-based development and policy in low-income and rural communities around the globe.

Integrate diverse frameworks and methodologies with classical sociological theory to fuel investigation, analysis and evaluation of social phenomenon.

Professional training

Professional enrichment in leadership and management for experienced mid-career professionals from developing countries in the fields of agriculture, environmental and natural resource management, biotechnology and city and regional planning.

Leadership training for professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors in New York state and the Northeast through seminars, workshops and field travel.

Engaged learning

Our students take their experiences to every corner of the globe.

New York State

Christina Ochoa '23 earns national award for addressing social change

“The work of an advocate is not to speak on behalf of a marginalized community, but rather to engage in direct, cooperative action to help secure improved conditions.”

USA, Malaysia, Malawi & Costa Rica

Alice Sullivan '21

"My favorite class by far was DSOC 4940: Show Me the Money, led by Gretchen Rymarchyk and John Sipple. In this course, we worked in small teams to write grants for school districts in rural New York State. It was definitely one of the most challenging courses in that the work we did had definitive, real world consequences. I learned so much not only about the intricate process of grant writing, but the complexities that go along with trying to create positive change. It was a tremendous learning opportunity for me, particularly in leadership." 


Veronika Vogel '21

"I continue to be amazed by the reach of the network I was able to build while I was here and the support I have received from faculty throughout my time at Cornell. Global Development has certainly enabled me to 'dream bigger' and open doors I did not think would open for me this early in my career." 


Artak Khachatryan, Cornell Humphrey Fellow ‘20

“Before coming to Cornell, my understanding of climate change was very limited, especially as it relates to farming. Everything changed when I became part of the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.”

Flint, Michigan & Austin, Texas

Anastashia Alfred ‘20

“Inspired by my own journey of food insecurity, I am constantly looking for ways to create a more food-secure world and build resilient, inclusive communities.”


Elena Setiadarma ‘21

"What I learned in the field reinforced my understanding of how my skills, experiences and interests fit in the world of agricultural development.”

Headshot of Christina Ochoa
Woman holds basket on coffee farm
Student stands in front of the Centro Internacional de la Papa
A headshot of Artak Khachatryan
Anastashia Alfred_track
Elena Setiadarma

Explore more in Global Development

Our faculty engage with students to work together on a common set of practical research problems, connecting academics to the needs of real people.

Are you a current student? Here is all the information you need.

Learn about our latest efforts to tackle the world’s greatest challenges at home and abroad.