Program Requirements

About the major

At its most basic level, global development is about improving the quality of life. At its core it is addressing human security, conditions, resources, trends and organizations that influence the degree to which people are able to enjoy a prosperous, healthy, productive, and fulfilling life. Development studies is a multi-disciplinary field of study that examines a wide range of issues: foreign aid, poverty alleviation methods such as social entrepreneurship, and the provision of basic services such as health, education, security, and nutrition.

This major constitutes the very definition of what it means to change the world. Every course and every experience is oriented toward the ultimate goal of raising the standard of living across the globe. Collectively, these requirements are intended to meet the following objectives and competency areas:

  • Intercultural understanding
  • Global citizenship and civic engagement
  • Leading in a global context

The Global Development Studies program combines academic and practical experiences to produce capable and engaged graduates. The common goals of these distinctly interdisciplinary and integrative curricula are:

  • To prepare students to work for the different types of international organizations involved in global issues, such as corporations, nonprofits and government agencies
  • To prepare and encourage students to apply to, and gain admission into, some of the most selective graduate study programs
  • To encourage students to take a more active and engaged approach in understanding the implications of international events and conditions
  • To encourage students to develop original and creative initiatives that are intended to raise the standard of living both at home and abroad
  • To expose students to the growing complexities of global relations and the processes that guide them

The Global Development Studies major requires a minimum of 45 semester credit hours, including experiential learning. Students fulfill experiential learning requirements through an exciting combination of offerings that include internships, study or travel abroad, and field research. Research projects are administered by the faculty and can generate a range of products, from the traditional research thesis that can be presented at professional academic conferences, to practical and creative initiatives intended to deal with a specific set of challenges.

The combination of internships, study abroad, service and engaged learning, critical evaluation, and applied work will equip Global Development Studies students with the knowledge and skills required to become caring and committed leaders in a globally interconnected society.

View the checklist for the Global Development Studies major.

About the minor

A minor in Global Development Studies consists of 18 semester credit hours, with a minimum of nine hours at the 300 level or above.

View the checklist for the Global Development Studies minor.

Departmental honors

The Department of International and Global Studies, of which the Global Development Studies program is a part, encourages its students to deepen their knowledge of the field through its Departmental Honors program. Eligible students will have the opportunity to explore various topics and problems in international studies that are of particular interest to them, to work more closely with departmental faculty, and to develop skills in research and thesis preparation. To be eligible for Departmental Honors, a student must:
  • Be a declared major in Global Development Studies, Global Health Studies, and/or International Affairs
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3
  • Have a cumulative major grade point average of at least 3.50
  • Write a thesis that is approved by a faculty member of the department, with a grade of at least B. This is achieved by enrolling in IGS 402 (Senior Project). The thesis is expected to be an extended, original, coherent work of scholarship on an issue of relevance in the field of international studies.