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 people to improve lives, reduce inequality, protect the environment, and actually change the world for the better.
Undergraduate Majors and Minors
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.
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.
- Identify and grow your strengths with Cornell's Leadership minor, which is available to all students across the university. The minor empowers students to be more actively engaged, reflective and effective citizens with a deeper understanding of the complexities, dynamics and interdependencies of life.
- Learn more about the Leadership minor
- The Development Sociology major welcomed its final class of first-year students in the Fall of 2021. We accepted sophomore transfers through the Spring of 2022 and will be accepting junior transfers through the Fall of 2022. We encourage students interested in this program to explore the new Global Development major.
- 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 welcomed 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.
- 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.
Meet Eli Newell ‘24, an undergraduate in global development who seeks to boost environmental health by using a key ingredient that is readily available – urine. Under the mentorship of Rebecca Nelson, Eli's work revolves around a growing field of research: circular bionutrient economy. With research partners from New York to Kenya, this work seeks to recycle nutrients from human and agricultural waste into fertilizer, which ultimately reduces pollution, improves sanitation, and promotes food security.
Students in the field
Learn how students in Global Development stepped out of the classroom to engage with communities.
In her time on campus working with the Cornell Farmworker Program, Soil Factory, and more, Maria explored and confronted a multitude of challenges that impact our food system. Recently selected as a Fulbright Scholar in Italy, she will explore how young Italians in Cosenza, Calabria maintain sustainable rural livelihoods.
Driven by the ongoing quest for global food security with sustainable development at its core, Noah worked with a local nonprofit in Malawi to learn how a community-based approach can protect local values amidst a desire to balance agricultural development and environmental conservation.
As an eight-year alumna and current student leader of 4-H, Kate advocates for youth’s voices in national policy. Throughout her time at Cornell, Kate has led high school students to research and present their findings to state and federal government bodies.