Make a difference while you learn
Here at global development, we work to build a more sustainable, equitable world - at home and abroad. Our students are at the forefront of those efforts through their involvement on campus, in the local community and across the globe. Students in Global Development are encouraged to make the world their classroom and engage with the community.
Global Development: An engaged major
Engaged teaching and learning is a central pillar of the Global Development undergraduate program. Learn about the required core courses and internship experience.
What is engaged learning?
In and with communities
Anchored in reflection
Finding our purpose
Breadth & depth of engaged learning in Global Development
Throughout the Global Development major, students have opportunities to engage with a variety of communities in structured, faculty-led settings as well as to carve out their own path for engaging with and positively impacting communities in more independent, self-directed ways.
Engaged courses in Global Development
The most structured of the engaged learning opportunities offered by the department, many GDEV courses incorporate community engagement, ranging from case studies that draw on community-level data or issues defined by community members, to collaboration with community stakeholders within the context of the course itself, to site visits to community spaces that provide context to real-world problems. All first-year students are enrolled in an engaged course during their first year (GDEV 1300: Just Food), to best understand what engaged-learning-in-action looks like, and how to best incorporate breadth and depth of engagement across a four-year plan.
Engaged courses across Cornell
Additionally, great engaged learning courses are offered across the university. We encourage you to check them out during your time at Cornell. Please see this list of engaged courses from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement.
Some fall and spring semester courses that are based on-campus at Cornell have short-term field study opportunities attached to them in the off-term (Winter or Summer). In these instances, students typically travel with a faculty member to a community field site, where they can contextualize their classroom-based learning through dialogue and collaboration with community members.
Faculty in the department are dedicated to providing each GDEV majors with a mentored research experience. These can range from working in a lab to data collection at a field site. Each experience offers students the opportunity to address a specific problem of public concern, and integrate the research experience with educational content through the guidance of a faculty member.
While not all study abroad programs are ‘engaged,’ there are many opportunities for study at a partner university or study abroad center that incorporate meaningful collaboration with host communities and opportunities for reflection on that work. Students are encouraged to consider semester-long study abroad options that incorporate an internship in order to meet the department’s 8+ week internship requirement. Studying abroad directly preceding the required 8+ week internship can facilitate immersion in the language and culture of the internship site for an extended period of time. This is a preferred option if available.
All students are required to complete a development-focused internship, of at least 8 weeks in duration, after the Spring of their second year and before the Fall of their fourth year in the program. The internship requirement is intended to provide students with an opportunity to apply their global development training in an off-campus, project-based context. In some cases, students choose to incorporate their internship as part of a semester-long study abroad experience. While many students complete their internships with local, national, and international development organizations, agencies, and businesses, others work with faculty to conduct field-based research.
Students currently enrolled in the Global Development undergraduate program can refer to the Global Development Engaged Student Center for more information about internship opportunities. Prospective students can reach out to engagedgdev [at] cornell.edu (our engaged learning team) for more information.
From Ithaca to India: Students unite to learn from experts in agricultural development
Engage with real world challenges
Students in Global Development step out of the classroom and into local communities. Hear the stories of students who have travelled the world to apply their education.