Development Studies

The Development Studies major focuses on social transformation or change. The problems of social transformation are urgent, massive, complex, and often transcend the boundaries of conventional academic disciplines.

DS examines the problems, processes, and prospects for the development of human and material resources in what are generally thought to be the less developed areas of the world. To study comparative development effectively, one must draw upon many disciplines and construct a balanced understanding of historical and contemporary processes. Thus, studying development as a social transformation requires a blending of knowledge and perspectives from political science, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, geography, history, and environmental science.

Further information can be found in the DS Requirements and Policies booklet:

Major Requirements
Lower Division: 

5 Courses

  • DS 10: Introduction to Development Studies. (You must earn a C or better prior to declaring. This course can only be repeated once). All students are required to take DS 10, there are no substitutes.
  • Econ 1 or 2: Introduction to Economics. (You must earn a C or better prior to declaring. This course may be repeated only once).
  • Anthro 3: Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology.
  • IAS 45: Survey of World History.
  • Statistics 2, 20, or 21.
Foreign Language: 

All students must demonstrate a proficiency equivalent to four college-level semesters in any modern language other than English. Equivalency can be achieved through coursework, AP credit, examination, and/or study abroad. For more information on how to complete the language requirement, please consult the DS Requirements & Policies booklet. Languages accepted by the College of Letters and Science are not automatically accepted by the DS major. Please check with the department for eligible languages.

Upper Division: 
  • Development Studies 100: History of Development and Underdevelopment.
  • Disciplinary Courses: two courses in the same discipline selected from Appendix A in the DS Requirements & Policies booklet.
  • Development Courses: two courses selected from Appendix B in the DS Requirements & Policies booklet.
  • Methodology: one course selected from Appendix C in the DS Requirements & Policies booklet.
  • Concentration: three upper-division courses are selected to provide substantive knowledge of the cultural, political, economic, and historical development of one particular region of the developing world. It is best to choose courses from more than one discipline. Concentration courses must be pre-approved by an advisor. Courses are chosen from Appendix D in the DS Requirements & Policies booklet.
How To Declare

Applications are accepted during the fall and spring semesters from the third week of instruction until the last day of instruction (not the last day of finals). Applications are accepted during the summer from the last week in May until the beginning of the fall semester (not the beginning of classes).

To be eligible to declare students must have:

  • completed DS 10 with a grade of C or better (students may repeat DS 10 only once to achieve a grade of C or better);
  • completed Economics 1 or 2 with a grade of C or better; and
  • are not in the final semester of undergraduate work.

Additionally, students are encouraged – but not required – to complete two semesters of college-level foreign language or the equivalent before applying to the major.

To get declared you must both:

  • attend a Major Declaration Workshop (check the Teaching Program Calendar for dates), and
  • meet with an advisor to submit the DS application materials

Bring a completed DS Application – including all materials and transcripts listed below – to the Workshop. Application materials may be submitted after attending the Major Declaration Workshop. However, students will not be officially declared until they have both attended a Workshop and submitted all declaration papers.