Your journey to make the world a better place starts here

At Global Development, we don’t sit still. Here our students engage with real-world issues at home and abroad to deliver lasting social benefit to all. We connect science to the needs of real people to improve lives, reduce inequality, protect the environment and actually change the world for the better.

Major in Global Development

The Global Development major responds to the need for innovative and critical thinking on the concept and practice of development. It prepares students to interpret problems, clarify solutions, develop leadership and foster positive social change. Students receive comprehensive training in the key ideas, issues, and debates central to global development. All students take a breadth of interdisciplinary coursework in development scholarship and practice and gain depth in a concentration of their choice, selecting from social and economic development, agriculture and food systems or environment and development.

More Undergraduate Majors and Minors

a close up of a palm leaf

Community Food Systems


  • In Community Food Systems, you'll learn to engage with critical contemporary issues relating to food security, food sovereignty, and food justice. This minor integrates interdisciplinary course work with community-based learning and research opportunities that together help students contribute to more sustainable and equitable food systems.  
  • Learn more about the Community Food Systems minor.



  • Prepare for a career in teaching and lifelong learning by taking courses in education while at Cornell. This minor will not only prepare you for the classroom, but also for engaged learning at any stage in life.
  • Learn more about the minor in Education.

Development Sociology


  • The Development Sociology major will be welcoming its final class of first-year students in the Fall of 2021. We will be accepting sophomore transfers through the Spring of 2022 and junior transfers through the Fall of 2022. We encourage students interested in this program to explore the new Global Development major, which is accepting first-year students for Fall of 2022.
  • Development sociology is about understanding how society works in order to better tackle poverty and improve the health, income, education, and well-being of people. It's purpose-driven and community-focused: we like our work to have real world impact, and we like to work with people and communities directly. Our curriculum will provide you the skills and training to diagnose, understand, and contribute to solutions in issue areas like food security, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation. 
  • Learn more about the Development Sociology major.

International Agriculture and Rural Development (IARD)


  • The International Agriculture and Rural Development major will be welcoming its final class of first-year students in the Fall of 2021. We encourage students interested in this program to explore the new Global Development major, which is accepting first-year students for Fall of 2022.
  • Our IARD major is designed for students who are interested in tackling the unique and interdisciplinary issues associated with food systems and rural development in emerging nations. You’ll have the opportunity to gain meaningful experience, hands-on by participating in projects and research all over the world. Our students prepare to make a real world impact on rural communities across the globe with concentrations in economics and development, agricultural and food systems, or environment and ecosystems.
  • Learn more about the IARD major.

Where are they now?

Learn more about where a Global Development education can take you.

Ben Fields graduation
Ben Fields '20
Hannah Fuller holds produce at the grocery store on campus
Hannah Fuller '19
A headshot of Alexander King
Alexander King '15
A female in a blue shirt and blazer with brown hair and glasses standing in front of a pine tree
Connie Potter '16
Anastashia Alfred at Oracle
A woman in a red jacket smiles as she is photographed in front of water
Keelin Kelly '20

Undergrad Research Spotlight

Environmental Sociology

Beyond the Surface: Climate, Creatures and Contamination

In Professor Zinda's Environmental Sociology course, students produce public-facing articles about environmental controversies that interest them, analyzing reasons that produced the issue and also offering potential solutions.

Environmental Sustainability

Mary Beth Dale '21

An international internship brought Mary Beth to study sustainability, tropical ecology and eco-tourism in Costa Rica. There in the country's lush central region she explored diverse ecosystems and gained perspective on how people balance business and the environment.

International Agriculture & Rural Development

Global Fellows

CALS Global Fellows adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by working virtually for organizations in Italy, Thailand and Kenya. International Agriculture and Rural Development (IARD) seniors Annie Weiss '21, Khusel Avirmed '21 and Matthew Sorge '21 were up for the adventure. 

Gender & Income Equality

Elena Setiadarma ’21

The intersection between agriculture and technology drove Elena to explore innovative ways to take her passion for issues of gender and income inequality and transform her ideas into reality. 

Group gathers walnuts from trees in China
A student on a bridge in a forest
Khusel Avirmed
Elena travels with TCI

Contact Us

Sarah GIroux
Sarah Giroux

Associate Professor of the Practice

Department of Global Development

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Department of Global Development

Sarah Giroux
Decompositional Methods
Demography of Inequality and Poverty
Empirics Of Development and Inequality
Lynn Morris headshot
Lynn Morris

Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Department of Global Development

Lynn Morris
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman

Senior Extension Associate

Department of Global Development

Education Minor Coordinator

Department of Global Development

Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
Community development
Civic engagement
Engaged learning and research