International Development and Social Change (IDSC)

Welcome Class of 2015!

June 1, 2013

Welcome to the International Development and Social Change (IDSC) Program!

Dear incoming IDSC student,

Welcome to Clark University’s International Development and Social Change (IDSC) program in the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE). We are delighted that you will be joining us at the end of August. We are looking forward to getting to know more about you and your experiences and interests. In light of your transition to Worcester, to Clark University and to your graduate program in IDCE, we’ve enclosed several items that we trust will be of assistance.  Below we cover a few academic and logistical issues to assist you in preparing for your first semester at IDCE.

Academic Preparation

We strongly encourage you to spend time this summer familiarizing yourself with some of the key themes and concepts in the field of international development studies. At the end of this letter you will find a list of suggested texts that may help you prepare for graduate study.   In addition, we have posted a few readings in electronic format on the Admitted Students webpage; these are also listed below.  Take some time to review these resources.   We hope that they will prompt many questions and ideas that will be a point of departure for your engagement and learning this fall.   

We also suggest that you take an introductory economics course (microeconomics or macroeconomics) this summer, or re-familiarize yourself with basic economic concepts by perusing an introductory economics textbook.

If you have a particular research interest, you might want to begin reading some relevant academic literature on your topic before you arrive at Clark. We also encourage you to begin to explore possible opportunities and sources of support for fieldwork, internships, and research. IDCE alumni and current students have a strong track record of receiving prestigious research and travel awards such as the Fulbright and Compton Fellowships. Over the summer, you may want to research relevant grants and awards and find out the deadlines ahead of time, as you may need to begin your applications in early fall.  We will help you with this when you arrive, but it’s always a good idea to begin this process early.

The IDSC program makes frequent use of web-based technology and requires students to be familiar with basic computer applications, including word processing programs (e.g. Word), spreadsheets (e.g. Excel) and presentation software (e.g. PowerPoint). Familiarity with this software will serve you well in your graduate coursework and research.

Living in Worcester

You might be interested to know a little about Worcester, MA hometown to Clark. Worcester was one of the centers of the U.S. Industrial Revolution and has a fascinating history of social and environmental development. Additionally, Worcester is ethnically and religiously heterogeneous, with robust populations of Hispanics, Poles, and Vietnamese and a growing number of refugee groups from Iraq, Burma, Somalia, Bhutan, and Liberia as well as other newcomers. IDCE is fortunate to have Worcester as a local context for study and practice. 

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about housing arrangements for the fall. You should plan on arriving early to secure housing. Some students have already visited campus and toured the surrounding area looking for apartments or made arrangements to stay in University-owned graduate housing. Graduate students usually share an apartment with two or three other students to reduce residential costs. More resources about housing can be found on the Admitted Students webpage.



If you need an I-20 form to obtain a U.S. visa, please return the appropriate international student information form to Paula Hall, c/o the IDCE Office. If you are an international student, this form was previously sent to you in the packet with your appointment letter.
IDCE staff will be in the office during most of the summer. Do not hesitate to call or write to them for additional information.

We look forward to seeing you in August to welcome you to a lively and productive year at IDCE.

Ellen Foley (
Associate Professor and Coordinator, Master of Arts Program in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)

Recommended Texts:

Below are a number of recommended texts and posted readings that will help you prepare for the Fall semester.

  • Black, Maggie. 2002. No Nonsense Guide to International Development (London: Verso).
  • Harvey, David. 2006. Spaces of Global Capitalism: A Theory of Uneven Geographical Development (London: Verso).
  • Lemert, Charles, ed. 1993/2004/2013. Social Theory:  The Multicultural and Classic Readings (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).
  • Martinussen, John.  1999. Society, State, and Market: A Guide to Competing Theories of Development (London: Zed).
  • Rist, Gilbert. 2003. The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith (London: Zed).
  • Thomas-Slayter, Barbara P. 2003. Southern Exposure:  International Development and the Global South in the Twenty-First Century (Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press).
  • Wolf, Eric.  1982.  Europe and the People without History (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press)

[ Spotlight Profile ]

Lawrence Were
(IDSC '10)

Lawrence Were characterizes IDCE as a place that encourages students to think critically. He says: "In our Development Theory class, we criticized mainstream development, which was fun, but also somewhat frustrating. The most frustrating thing was that I was interested in solutions to the world's problems—solutions that drive social change."

However, after a while it became clear to Lawrence that the world is too multi-dimensional to expect easy answers to the problems we face. So, driven by his desire to explore different perspectives and skill sets that could bring new light to social issues, he pursued a directed study on social entrepreneurship within Clark's Graduate School of Management.

Read more | Other profiles

Admissions Calendar

Application Deadline: January 15, 2013
Feb 1, 2013 (Dual Degrees)

Late Applications:
Contact the Admissions Office at 508-793-7205