Jun 19, 2024  
2012-2013 Academic Catalog 
2012-2013 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Global Development Studies Concentration

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Global Development Studies


J. Montgomery Roper (Anthropology)

Development is an effort to create positive change to enhance people’s lives. It is a concept whose meanings and goals are hotly debated. Nonetheless, two ideas promoted by the United Nations Development Program guide the GDS concentration: sustainable development and human development. Sustainable development explicitly recognizes the constraints imposed by the natural environment by calling for development that meets the needs of the present without decreasing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Human development links development and human rights by regarding development as the expansion of human freedoms. Under this approach, income, education, and health are all viewed as keys to expand human capabilities.

The GDS concentration focuses on these processes in the world’s developing countries. Furthermore, it is founded on the principle that understanding development requires work in more than one discipline and meaningful dialogue between the disciplines.

The mission of the GDS concentration is to provide students with the following:

  • Critical understanding of the concept of development, as well as the core theories, actors, and issues in development. In particular, all students should have an understanding of the interactions between the natural environment and development.
  • Recognition that there are different sides to debates on the nature of development and underdevelopment.
  • Recognition that there are different disciplinary methods, concepts, and theories concerning development that commonly underlie debates.
  • Recognition that different arguments are affected by development experience and standing (e.g., national, ethnic, gender).
  • Ability to ask key questions for solving problems in development issues.
  • Hands-on experience working in or with a developing country or with an organization that does such work.
  • Knowledge of a developing region of the world and alternative worldviews.

Concentration requirements:

 Required, 22 or 24 credits as follows:

1. Global Development Studies

2. Regional Focus

One four–credit course required, chosen from the following:

4. Environment and Development

One four–credit course required, chosen from the following:


Courses not taken as senior seminar may be taken to meet the distribution requirements of Nos. 3 or 4, depending on appropriateness.


*Not offered every year.

§Varying content requires the approval of the concentration committee.

6. Additional course requirements (two or four credits):

  • Two credits in an approved 300-level internship in development, strongly recommended
  • Four credits in an approved 397 independent project or 499 Mentored Advanced Project (MAP)

Other Requirements

  1. Students must complete GDS 111  before taking the senior seminar or undertaking the internship or independent study.
  2. No course can be counted toward more than one concentration requirement.
  3. Student selections must include one course in economics and one in either anthropology, political science, or sociology.
  4. Concentrators planning to participate in internships and study-abroad programs are expected to undertake foreign language study if the target language is offered at Grinnell through either formal departments or the Alternative Language Study Option program. Concentrators are required to review their plans for foreign language study with their GDS adviser.
  5. Students may count toward the concentration only up to eight credits from any single department and up to 12 credits from GDS-denominated courses.
  6. A statistics course is also recommended.

Global Development Studies Course Descriptions


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