2010-2011 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 08, 2023  
2010-2011 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

International Development and Social Change Major

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Undergraduate Program

In the International Development and Social Change program, students learn from people who are actively engaged in vital world issues, for example, globalization, nationalism, displacement of indigenous people in India, food scarcity in Ethiopia, black social movements in Colombia, and social justice and education in South Africa. The program begins by building a foundation to help students to understand and think critically about the social, political, economic and cultural dynamics shaping the world. Courses provide important insights on how the developed and developing worlds are linked historically and at present. Clark University is one of the few universities in the nation to offer a liberal-arts major in international development.

Beyond the classroom—in workshops, panels, and informal gatherings—international development and social change majors learn from faculty, as well as from undergraduate and graduate students, with field experience from around the world. Students have the opportunity to expand this knowledge with hands-on experience through internships and field research.

As a major in this program, you will be part of a diverse student body and discover a program that offers intellectual excitement, insightful perspectives and stimulating ideas. International development students explore strategic political action by developing an awareness of the complexities and contradictions of global power relations. You will learn the history of social change around the world from professors who have been involved in social change in Asia, South America and Africa. Students in this major become thinkers and doers who are prepared to tackle the challenges of development in the 21st century.

Visiting Faculty

Marianne Sarkis, Ph.D.


International Development and Social Change Internships

Internships provide an opportunity to gain insight and experience in development through work in government or nonprofit agencies. Recently, students have had overseas internships with the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the American Jewish World Service in El Salvador, the London Internship Program, and the World Health Organization in Geneva. Other interns have worked in the United States on national and international development issues with the Environmental Defense Fund, Grassroots International, Oxfam America, Habitat for Humanity, MassPIRG, Save the Children, Aid to Artisans, and Lutheran Community Services Refugee Program.

All International Development majors must undertake an internship for academic credit. Internships for credit must be supervised or sponsored by core ID faculty or affiliate IDCE faculty with the approval of your faculty adviser. You should register for ID 299  the semester during the internship to receive credit. If your internship is during the summer, you should register through COPACE.

For more information, visit www.clarku.edu/departments/idce/id/ba.

Study Abroad

Many international development students have learned about development issues first-hand through Study Abroad programs, such as those in Namibia and the Dominican Republic. Students have also studied abroad on related programs at the University of East Anglia in England, with the School for Field Studies in Mexico and Costa Rica, and with the School for International Training in Nepal, Mali and Morocco. Please contact the Study Abroad office at Clark for information on study-abroad options. You should discuss your study-abroad plans in advance with your major adviser to maximize your learning experience. For more information, visit www.clarku.edu/offices/studyabroad/.

Program Requirements

The IDSC major requires 12 credits, including five core courses, four electives around a particular theme or issue in international development and social change, one methods course, two skills courses, one internship or directed research project, and a culminating capstone seminar to be taken in the fall semester of your senior year.

Majors should try to finish their core classes in their first two years of study. By junior year, they should be taking more advanced seminars (200 level) with core faculty in their area of interest.

Core Courses (5 credits)


  • Politics of development (choose from a variety of electives)


  • Environmental sustainability (chosen from a variety of electives)

Area of Specialization (4 credits)

IDSC majors take at least four elective courses in an area of specialization. Students may follow established specializations that relate to international development and social change (e.g., Political Economy, Peace and Conflict, Gender, Global Health, Culture, Participatory and Community-based Approaches, Sustainability, or area studies) or they may design their own area of specialization with the approval of their IDSC advisor.

Two of these courses should be taken with core IDSC faculty, and at least two should be at the 200-level.

Methods (1 credit)

The required methods class, ID 132 - Research Methods for International Development and Social Change , is usually offered during the fall semester. This course will prepare you for independent research during study abroad, your capstone, and your honors thesis. Hence, students are strongly encouraged to take ID 132  before beginning these endeavors.

Note: ID 132  does not fulfill the Formal Analysis (FA) requirement.

Skills Courses (2 credits)

IDSC majors will take two skills courses in computers, statistics, GIS, cartography, conflict negotiation, service learning, a foreign language at the intermediate level and above (105 or higher), or any other skills relevant to careers in international development and social change.

Internship or Field Research (1 credit)

Students may either take:

Capstone Seminar (1 credit)

Honors Thesis (1 additional credit)?

Those wishing to graduate with honors register for ID 299  with a thesis supervisor in the second semester of senior year.

*IDSC majors must earn at least a C- in core and required courses to count toward the major.

The Double Major

Many students double major or major in IDSC and minor in related departments, such as Economics, Geography, Government (especially international relations), Sociology, and Women’s Studies. Up to two courses can be counted toward both majors.

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