International Development and Social Change

Q: What should I expect when I consider majoring in International Development and Social Change?
The field of international development has been one of the driving forces shaping contemporary power and politics in the post WWII era. In the IDSC major, students learn about vital world issues such as: global social movements, corporate power, race and nationalism, health disparities, social justice, education, human rights, refugees and migration, among many others. The IDSC major requires 14 credits, including: five core introductory courses, four electives that address 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 senior capstone seminar. Students wishing to graduate with honors write a thesis during the spring of their senior year as their capstone project.
Q: What is the difference between IDSC and IDCE?
International Development and Social Change (IDSC) is a major offered by the IDCE department (International Development, Community, and Environment). The IDCE department also offers Master’s degrees in Community Development and Planning (CDP), Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P), Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment (GISDE), as well as International Development and Social Change (IDSC). Advanced BA students can take advantage of academic and extra curricular opportunities associated with these graduate programs. Students who earn honors in the undergraduate major are also eligible to apply to Clark University’s Accelerated BA/MA program to earn an MA in IDSC.
Q: What courses should be taken during the first year?
In their first year, prospective majors should take ID 125 “Tales from the Far Side” and/or ID 120 “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, which are usually offered both fall and spring semesters. Both of these required classes also satisfy the Global Comparative Perspective (GP) of the PLS requirements. Students seeking to major in IDSC should also take ECON 010 or ECON 100 as early as possible. Although ECON 010 does not count towards the major, it is a prerequisite for another core class, ECON 128, which is taught only once a year. Click here to see ID course availability and here to see Economics course availability.
Q: What courses in related departments do your majors usually take?
IDSC majors can select among a variety of interdisciplinary 100-level classes that fulfill the “Politics of Development” and the “Environmental Sustainability” requirements during their first two years of study. By junior year, majors should be taking more advanced seminars (200 level) with core faculty in their area of specialization. IDSC majors are also encouraged to learn an additional language. Any intermediate language class (at the 105 level or above) can count towards the major's two required "skills" classes. Most IDSC majors choose to participate in a Study Abroad program, which often require language proficiency.
Q: Can I double major in IDSC?
Many students do decide to double major in IDSC and a related department, usually a social science like geography, sociology, political science, economics or an interdisciplinary program like women’s studies. The university allows students to count two classes towards both majors.
Q: Do study abroad courses toward my major or minor?
Many programs do offer excellent international development courses. In consultation with your advisor, you can count two academic classes and one internship towards the major.
Q: What courses should I plan to take before going on a Study Abroad program?
In addition to the courses listed in the recommended sequence for the ID major, you should take the required methods course, ID 128, and one or two skills classes. Many students will take a regional-oriented class to fulfill their “Politics of Development” requirement. For example, someone interested in going to Africa might want to take ID 136 “Sub-Saharan Africa: Issues and Problems” and someone wanting to go to Latin America could benefit from taking ID 213 “Latin American Politics.”
Q: How do I get into the Fifth-Year B.A./M.A. Program in International Development?
IDSC majors who meet all university requirements, maintain a 3.5 GPA in the major and successfully complete an honors thesis can apply for the fifth year MA program in IDSC.
Q: What jobs and careers do IDSC majors pursue?
Our majors typically find jobs with nonprofit organizations as well as international government agencies engaged in international development and advocacy. Click here for some real examples of jobs held by former IDSC majors.
Q: Where should students or faculty go for more information?
To learn more about the major or minor, please see our departmental web pages. Our full undergraduate handbook and major and minor checklists can be found under the under the “handbooks and forms” heading.
For any questions not answered by these materials, please contact our undergraduate coordinator, Prof. Anita Fabos. IDSC will also have a table at the majors’ fair and host a separate information session during the second half of the fall semester.


Revised: 03/2017