Advancing equitable and sustainable solutions to global challenges

Global problems are becoming more interconnected. The Global Development major curriculum is a response to the complexification of the concept and practice of development. The major prepares students to interpret problems, clarify solutions, develop leadership and foster positive social change. Students in the Global Development major receive comprehensive training in the key ideas, issues and debates central to global development.

Global Development Core Requirements

8 courses; 21 credits

These core courses ensure that students can demonstrate a broad introductory knowledge in the major disciplines involved in global development. They enable students to interpret a comprehensive multi-disciplinary set of issues related to socio-economic development, agriculture & food systems, and environmental sustainability in developing countries.

  • Introduction to Global Development (3 credits; Fall first year)
  • Global Development Cornerstone (2 credits; Fall first year)
  • Just Food (4 credits; Fall first year)
  • Social & Economic Dimensions of Development (3 credits; Spring first year)
  • Environmental Conservation (4 credits; Spring first year)
  • Perspectives in Global Development (1 credit, Fall/Spring)
  • Research Methods (3 credits; Spring second year)
  • Senior Seminar (1 Credit, Spring senior year)

Engaged Learning Requirements

3 courses, 1 “experience”: 4 credits

Experiential and engaged learning is a defining feature of the Global Development undergraduate major, reflecting the overall vision of the Department of Global Development as a unit that unites scholarship and practice in pursuit of a better world for all. Thus, all students must complete a minimum 8-week field-based learning experience that develops their skills as a development practitioner. In this field experience, students work with and learn from innovative development practitioners and community leaders, crafting cutting-edge strategies to address some of the world’s most significant challenges and advance the well-being of people and the planet. Students take a set of pre-and post-engagement courses that help them prepare for and reflect upon their engagements.  

  • Pre-engagement course I: Ethical Issues for Engagement (1 credit; Spring first year)
  • Pre-engagement course II: Logistics & Preparation for Fieldwork (1 credit; Spring before engagement experience)
  • 8-week field-based engaged learning experienceStudents may choose from a range of options for their eight-week experience, including independent internships, CALS Global Fellowships, SIT study abroad programs, and more. 
  • Post engagement course: Reflections on the Field (2 credits; Fall or Spring post engagement experience)

Thematic concentration requirements

To gain more depth in a particular aspect of development, all Global Development majors choose to affiliate with one thematic concentration and take an additional 24-26 credits of coursework within that concentration.

​​​​​​The Social and Economic Development Concentration provides students an opportunity to explore global development issues, theories, policies, and practices in greater depth using the theories, approaches, and analytical frameworks of multiple social science disciplines. Students can develop individualized pathways through the concentration in consultation with their academic advisors. In addition, this concentration provides students planning to pursue graduate study in economics or sociology an opportunity to take advanced undergraduate coursework in those disciplines. The pathway for students planning graduate study in economics requires the four foundational courses coded with an (e). An additional four courses in economics are required for the economics pathway. For this pathway, advanced mathematics is highly recommended.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this concentration in the major will be able to:

  1. Effectively communicate, through writing and speech, the underlying beliefs, values and evidence claims that differentiate competing definitions of development.
  2. Analyze development issues from a systems perspective.
  3. Critically analyze the historical and political context of development in multiple contexts and across spatial scales from local to global.
  4. Discuss alternative proposals for addressing major issues (poverty, inequality, food insecurity, environmental degradation, others) and how they reflect competing concepts of development, political ideologies, and notions of evidence.
  5. Collect and integrate quantitative and/or qualitative information to reach defensible and creative conclusions about development.
  6. Apply social science conceptual frameworks and tools to the analysis of one or more major development challenges.
  7. Demonstrate professional and technical skills relevant to development research, practice and policy.
  8. Engage with a development organization, project or program to develop ‘on the ground’ experience.
  9. Demonstrate the capability to work both independently and in cooperation with those who hold views different from their own.

Required Courses

All students must complete the following 2 courses

  • DSOC 3010: Theories of Society and Development
  • ECON 1110: Introduction to Microeconomics (e)

Select 6 from the following list (at least 4 should be at the 3000 level or above):

Development Theory, Policy and Ethics

  • PHIL 1940: Global Thinking
  • DSOC 2050: International Development
  • DSOC 2200: Controversies about Inequality
  • PAM 2300: Introduction to Policy Analysis
  • CRP 3011: Ethics, Development, and Globalization
  • PAM 3190: Non-Profits and Public Policy
  • PHIL 3333: Ethics and Society: Aid and its Consequences
  • GOVT 3566: Critical Theories of Power
  • AMST 3854: Special Topics in Regional Development and Globalization
  • ANTH 4437: Ethnographies of Development
  • AEM 4450: Toward a Sustainable Global Food System: Food Policy for Developing Countries
  • PHIL 4470: Topics in Social and Political Philosophy
  • GOVT 4816: Space, Territory, Politics

Development Practice

  • EDUC 2200: Introduction to Adult Learning: Education Workshop
  • EDUC 2210: Methods and Context of Adult Learning: Leading and Teaching with Purpose
  • DSOC 3050: Education, Inequality and Development
  • DSOC 3140: Spatial Thinking: GIS and Related Methods
  • AEM 3380: Social Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Problem Solvers
  • AEM 4535: Financial Management of Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • NTRES/DSOC 4820: Agents of Change: Community Organizing for the Public Good

Development Economics, Emerging Markets and Trade

  • ECON 1120: Introduction to Macroeconomics [or] AEM 1300 – Introduction to Macroeconomic Theory and Policy (Summer Session course) (e)
  • AEM 2000: Contemporary Controversies in the Global Economy
  • AEM 2300: International Trade and Finance
  • AEM 2350: Introduction to the Economics of Development
  • AEM 2500: Environmental and Resource Economics
  • ECON 3030 [or] PAM 2000: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory (e)
  • AEM 3390: Research Methods in International Development
  • AEM 4110: Introduction to Econometrics (e)
  • AEM 4300: International Trade Policy
  • AEM 4350: Political Economy of the WTO
  • AEM 4420: Emerging Markets
  • AEM 4421: Research and Strategy in Emerging Markets
  • AEM 4640: Economics of Agricultural Development

Population, Migration and Health

  • DSOC 2010: Population Dynamics
  • ILRLR 2810: Migration Histories, Controversies, and Perspectives
  • NS 4570: Health, Poverty, and Inequality: A Global Perspective
  • DSOC 3060: Farmworkers: Contemporary Issues
  • DSOC 4300: Human Migration

Human/Environment Relations

  • BSOC 2420: Nature/Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human/Environment Relations
  • DSOC 3150: Climate Change and Global Development: Living in the Anthropocene
  • DSOC 3240: Environmental Sociology
  • ANTH 4330: How Do We Know Nature? Language, Knowledge and the Environment

​​​​​​This concentration is built on an integrative systems perspective that melds the biophysical, socio-economic, and nutritional sciences towards the sustainable development of inclusive agriculture and food systems. Students will learn about how food is produced, significant trends and drivers of change, and how to assess systems from an interdisciplinary perspective across cultural contexts. Critical contemporary debates about the future of food systems, such as sustainability, social justice, and resilience, will be examined from various perspectives. Students will also gain foundational skills in agriculture and food systems, including analytics for decision-making, monitoring and evaluation, and project management. This major is designed to support a range of career paths, including development practice, food policy, agricultural extension, and academia.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this concentration in the major will be able to:

  1. Describe the intellectual foundations and critically assess the comparative strengths and weaknesses of diverse agricultural and food system approaches to global development.
  2. Identify key challenges and opportunities for agriculture and food systems, including those pertaining to food security, climate resilience, economic development, ecosystem sustainability, social inequality, socio-cultural knowledge and traditions, population mobilities and public health.
  3.  Analyse agriculture and food systems issues from a systems perspective.
  4. Develop professional and technical skills relevant for those working in development research, practice and policy.
  5. Engage with an agricultural and food systems organization, project or program to develop ‘on the ground’ experience.

Required Courses

All students must complete the following 4 courses

  • DSOC 3400: Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice
  • PLHRT 4730: Ecology of Agricultural Systems
  • GDEV XXXX: Planning for Change (3 credits)
  • GDEV XXXX: Data Science and Analytics for Development (1 credit)

Select 3 courses from one track and 1 course from the other track:

Plant & Agricultural Sciences Track

  • ANSC 2120: Animal Nutrition
  • PLSCS 2600: Soil Science
  • PLPPM 3010: Biology and Management of Plant Diseases
  • PLSCS 3210: Soil and Crop Management for Sustainability
  • PLHRT 3500: Principles of Vegetable Production
  • PLSCS 4140: Sustainable Intensification of International Cropping Systems
  • PLSCS/ENTOM 4440 [or] PLSCS 3150: Integrated Pest Management [or] Weed Biology and Management
  • PLSCS 4660 [or] PLSCS 4720: Soil Ecology [or] Nutrient Management in Agroecosystems
  • BIOEE 4690: Food, Agriculture and Society
  • BIOEE 4780: Ecosystem Biology and Global Change

Social, Economic and Health Track

  • DSOC 2050: International Development
  • AEM 2500: Environmental and Resource Economics
  • ASRC 3010: Sweetness: How Sugar Built the Modern World
  • DSOC 3020: Political Ecologies of Health
  • DSOC 3060: Farmworkers: Contemporary Issues and Their Implications
  • NS 3060: Nutrition and Global Health
  • DSOC 3150: Climate Change and Global Development: Living in the Anthropocene
  • NTRES 3330: Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Local Ecological Knowledge
  • DSOC 3400: Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice
  • DSOC 3700: Comparative Social Inequalities
  • AMST 4030: Race and Social Entrepreneurship: Food Justice and Urban Reform
  • AEM 4140: Behavioral Economics and Managerial Decisions
  • PLHRT 4270: The Role of the Garden in Community Food Security
  • DSOC 4312: Migration in the Americas: Engaged Research Methods and Practice
  • DSOC 4400: Community Food Systems Capstone
  • AEM 4420:Emerging Markets
  • AEM 4450: Toward a Sustainable Global Food System: Food Policy for Developing Countries
  • AEM 4480: Economics of Food and Malnutrition
  • NS 4570: Health, Poverty and Inequality: A Global Perspective
  • FDSC 4880: Global Food, Energy and Water Nexus

​​​​​​Students in this concentration will build their capacity to analyze how development affects the environment and how the environment shapes development. Through a range of courses, students will explore how society makes difficult choices concerning the control, use, and long-term management of land, freshwater, and marine resources. In engaging with these ethically complex and politically laden issues, students also examine how these topics are inextricably intertwined with issues of global food security and health, culture and identity, livelihood security, and intergenerational environmental justice.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing this concentration in the major will be able to:

  1. Find, access, critically analyze, evaluate, and ethically use theories and methods of international development.
  2. Understand competing definitions of development.
  3. Critically analyze the historical and political context of environment and development.
  4. Engage local problems with a global awareness.
  5. Analyze structural inequalities that impact social-ecological systems.
  6. Apply concepts of sustainability to the analysis of one of more major challenges facing environment and development.
  7. Integrate quantitative and/or qualitative information to reach defensible and creative conclusions about environment and development.
  8. Analyze contemporary environmental issues and how they intersect with development.
  9. Interrogate knowledge claims that inform understanding and policy. 
  10. Communicate ideas effectively through writing, speech, and visual information.
  11. Develop practical skills in environment and development.
  12. Respectfully articulate the views of people with diverse perspectives.
  13. Demonstrate the capability to work both independently and in cooperation with others.

Required Courses

Select 2 from social science list; 2 from science list; 1 from methods list

Social Science Courses

  • NTRES/DSOC 2201: Society and Natural Resources
  • DSOC 3015: Climate Change and Global Development
  • DSOC 3240: Environmental Sociology
  • NTRES/DSOC 3311: Environmental Governance

Science Courses

  • EAS 1101: Climate and Energy: A 21st Century Earth Science Perspective
  • EAS 2680: Climate and Global Warming
  • NTRES 3220: Global Biodiversity

Methods Courses (or others as approved by the student’s advisor)

  • DSOC 3140: GIS, Spatial Thinking, and Related Methods
  • CRP 3210: Introduction to Quantitative Methods for the Analysis of Public Policy
  • AEM 3390: International Methods in International Development
  • NTRES 4000: Community-Based Research Methods in Southeast Asia
  • ANTHR 4403: Ethnographic Field Methods
  • ANTHR 4409: Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Select 2 additional environmental science or social science courses from those listed above or from the following list

  • BEE 2000: Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge
  • DSOC 2010: Population Dynamics
  • DSOC 2030: Global Garbage
  • NTRES 2500: Climate Change Science, Communication, and Action
  • DSOC 3020: Political Ecologies of Health
  • NTRES 3301: Sustainability Science
  • NTRES 3320: Introduction to Ethics and Environment
  • NTRES 3330: Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge
  • DSOC 3400: Agriculture, Food, Sustainability, and Social Justice
  • SOC 3650: Sociology of Disaster
  • PAM 3670: Economics and Environmental Policy
  • NTRES 4300: Environmental Policy Processes (taught in Washington, DC)
  • AEM 4510: Environmental Economics
  • NTRES/DSOC 4820: Agents of Change: Community Organizing for the Public Good

Questions? We're here to help!

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