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international development class

Take the next steps as a catalyst of change

This is a defining moment for the field of international development

Poverty, gender inequality, forced migration, education and health disparities, and climate change are among the world’s most pressing challenges.

For some, these challenges can be overwhelming. For you, they are a call to action to help build a socially just and sustainable world.

Your time as a master’s degree student in international development at Clark helps you harness your passion for these challenges. Our department faculty and staff provide you with the opportunity and the resources to develop the tools and skills of critical thinking and reflection that you need to thoughtfully and intentionally make a difference in the world.

Collaborate across disciplines and with multiple communities

The world’s most significant challenges are not confined to a single issue or discipline. Neither is our program. Our researchers, educators, and practitioners – experts in a broad range of fields – teach and work collaboratively to improve our world. With their guidance, you’ll better understand the forces shaping today’s development challenges. Experiential learning is integrated throughout our curriculum, providing you with the opportunity to engage with communities and develop hands-on skills.

Master skills for success

Learn to address complex societal issues on every level, from a single community to the global policy arena. Gain knowledge about how to work effectively with communities in ways that are inclusive and attentive to sustainability. Acquire skills related to data collection and management, monitoring and evaluation, stakeholder analysis, and project management and implementation.

Department of Sustainability and Social Justice

Our degrees inspire you to develop equitable solutions to urgent social, political, and ecological challenges. Through our program, students are equipped to build a more just and sustainable world.

  • Deepen your knowledge of international development challenges
  • Develop critical skills to catalyze institutional change
  • Collaborate across disciplines to understand and address complex social-ecological challenges
  • Gain real-world experience to build professional skills and knowledge

Critical Knowledge, Skills, and Experience:
The International Development Curriculum

Required International Development Courses
  • The History and Practice of International Development
  • Ideologies of Race and Development
Sustainability and Institutional Change
(2 units)
  • Sustainability Studies (choose one): Sustainable Development Assessment & Planning or Climate Change Adaptation
  • Social Change and Transformation (choose one): NGOs: Catalysts for Development or Development Economics, its Discontents & Alternatives, or Human Rights Strategies, Tactics & Practice
Skills for Social and Environmental Change
(2 units)
  • Choose from courses in:
    • Project Management
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Geospatial Analysis
    • Organizational Leadership
Methods of Inquiry and Subject Matter Electives
(2-3 units)
  • Choose from a list of Qualitative, Quantitative, or Spatial Analysis and International Development Electives.
  • Sample electives:
    • Cultures of Exile
    • Education and Youth in a Global Context
    • Development Management in Developing Countries
    • The Political Economy of Food and the Ethics of Eating
    • Reflection and Deliberative Practice (0.5)
Intersectional Analysis
(1 unit)
  • Adolescent Girls & International Development
  • Property & Community
  • Forced Migration, Refugees & Belonging
  • Sex and Development
Required Common Seminar
(0.5 unit)
  • Principles and Ethics of Community Engagement (0.5)
Experiential Learning and Inquiry
(1-3 units)
  • International Development Studio
  • Global Learning Collaborative in Bangladesh, Puerto Rico and Mexico
  • Field Research in Ethiopia

Choice of three program tracks

10-unit track completed in three semesters (Fall or Spring start)

12-unit research track completed in four semesters, with students conducting primary research in the summer between their two years of study (Fall start only)

12-unit practice track completed in four semesters, with students engaging in a Global Learning Collaborative, either domestically or internationally (Fall start only)


Join our successful alumni

Our International Development graduates craft policy, design and manage interventions to increase social and economic well-being, and monitor and measure intervention outcomes to promote continuous learning. They serve in a range of professional capacities:

  • Refugee Policy and Data Analyst at Office of Global Michigan
  • Senior Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation Advisor at Palladium
  • Business Development Manager at World Vision USA
  • Senior Project Manager at Chemonics International
  • Communications Director at Green New Deal Network
  • Executive Director at the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations
  • Climate Science Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy
Benjamin Gowdy-Chase

The people in International/Community Development are amazing. SSJ has taught me how to unravel the complexities within Development, and how to measure and manage socially oriented projects.

Benjamin Gowdy-Chase M.A. ’22 – International Development

Foreign Service Officer

U.S. State Department

Meet our engaged faculty

The M.A. in International Development program leverages its faculty’s vast field experience in North America, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean and their dedication to fostering environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic well-being in communities of all sizes around the world.  Faculty are intellectually and professionally active. They are continuously engaged in research projects in the United States and around the world, consulting contracts for federal and local government, and serving on the boards of local, national and global non-profits and foundations.

Explore the Department of Sustainability and Social Justice