Minor in Global Development

What is Global Development?

Global Development is the attempt to reduce poverty in lesser developed countries through the provision of technical expertise, goods and services, markets, and financial assistance. Global Development seeks to improve the physical infrastructure of an impoverished country by assisting in the design and construction of bridges, roads, dams, wells, irrigation systems, electric grids, or communications and computer networks. It also focuses on improving the health and education of people in the developing world so that they do not die or suffer from lack of clean water, medical services, or basic knowledge. Some in Global Development work towards creating a sustainable food supply so that people can feed themselves. Others seek to boost economic development so that people can get decent jobs and support their families. Above all, Global Development promotes human rights and dignity, respect for indigenous cultures, and law and order so that all parties to Global Development projects can thrive and feel secure. The field is therefore very broad. It offers significant room for differences of opinion, disciplinary perspectives, and expertise.

Foreign farmer tilling land with a pair of ox

This minor will prepare students to be catalysts for improving the lives of the world’s vulnerable communities in a sustainable manner. It will combine engineering, technology, and design with the social sciences and humanities to solve practical problems in the developing world. Students will learn and apply analytical skills and practical problem-solving techniques, gain technical competence, become conscious of variations in local cultures and social conditions, and master the ability to collaborate across disciplines to solve problems in Global Development. Students will learn to define problems, facilitate and contribute to their solutions, and, in the process, become more objective, nonlinear thinkers with the capacity to synthesize data and seek and value perspectives other than their own.

What Does the Global Development Minor Teach?

Students driving on a foreign road.The minor will cover topics and foster skills that are essential for all scientists, engineers, businesspersons, and policymakers who get involved with projects in impoverished countries. A civil engineer sent by Bechtel to work on a bridge in Vietnam; an environmental impact analyst sent to study a dam in Brazil; a Goldman Sachs analyst who seeks to grasp the investment opportunities for telecommunications in Zaire – all of these workers need to understand how politics, economics, culture, and engineering interact to affect the outcome of different types of S&T projects in the developing world. The Global Development minor will teach the concepts, theories, applications, and tools necessary for graduates to enter into such projects and work constructively with others in the Global Development community. 

Minor Requirements

  • Completion of the Global Development minor will require 15 credit hours:
    • 1 Cornerstone course (INTA 2050 – Introduction to Global Development), which will survey the current state of global development scholarship and practice (3 credit hours);

    • 3 elective courses (9 credit hours) to be chosen from the list of eligible courses below; and

    • 1 required Capstone course (INTA/ME 4744 – Global Development Capstone) in which students work in interdisciplinary teams on a global development project, guided by faculty with experience in the field (3 credit hours).

Students must earn at least a “C” in each course. Courses which overlap between a student’s major and minor can count towards either the major or the minor, but not both. 

How Can I Enroll?

Students can enroll in the minor by filing an application with the academic program office in the School of International Affairs. These students will be given priority over students who are not pursuing the minor to enroll in undergraduate courses that are requirements and electives for the minor. The Nunn School’s academic office will handle advising and other aspects of program administration such as checking that minor requirements have been fulfilled.

Why Should I Enroll?

The Global Development minor will:

  1. Provide students majoring in the natural sciences, computing, design, and engineering with the means to understand the political, economic, and cultural conditions of developing countries.
  2. Expose students in international affairs, economics, and public policy to technological and engineering approaches to solving problems in developing countries.
  3. Develop in students from all backgrounds the analytical skills and the ability to draw independent conclusions as they confront problems in the developing world. Students will learn techniques for dealing with real-life development policy choices so as to participate in constructive, informed roles in the struggle to alleviate extreme poverty.
  4. Aid future careers by providing training and experience in development projects at the intersection of science, technology, and international affairs.
  5. Provide opportunities for students to travel, learn, and explore unique places through study abroad programs.

Why at Georgia Tech?

The Global Development minor supports the Institute’s mission and strategic goal in several aspects:

  1. It enriches the student experience by providing interdisciplinary education. The capstone course will involve project-based learning in which students develop teamwork, leadership, and communications skills.
  2. It allows an individualized minor program to prepare students for careers that are unimaginable today. By bringing the social sciences together with the physical sciences and engineering, the minor is innovative in course design, while the project-based capstone is innovative in its instruction methods.
  3. It allows Georgia Tech to enhance its leadership in engineering by providing more rounded STEM graduates who can compete globally for jobs, and lead globally in providing innovative solutions to global problems.
  4. It embraces and supports globally-engaged students, directly enhancing Georgia Tech’s commitment to ensure that our students understand science and technology in the context of different social, economic, and cultural domains.

Learning Outcomes

The Global Development minor’s learning outcomes are as follows:

  1. Students will be able to articulate their mastery of development theories and ideas that have guided development practice in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
  2. Students will be able to describe the way that states, firms, key international financial institutions, civil-society organizations, and non-governmental agencies are organized and the way that these organizations frame development issues and affect outcomes.
  3. Students will be able to analyze the myriad problems faced by development agencies and other change agents which seek modernization in impoverished countries and assess the potential impacts (both intended and unintended) of development projects.
  4. Students will be able to work on multidisciplinary teams to design solutions to development issues that are sensitive to local social and political variables and conditions.
  5. Students will be able to assess the experience of the people and institutions that are the targets of their development activities.

Courses Eligible as Electives in the Global Development Minor

Special Topics: Environmental Technology in the Developing World
Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
Introduction to Climate Change Planning
Environmental Planning and Impact Assessment
Urban Transportation
Computing for Good
The Global Economy
International Energy Markets
Global Enterprise
International Economics
International Financial Economics
Global Financial Economics
Economic Development
Conflict and Security in Developing Countries
Globalization Modern Era
Sociology of Development
Global Issues and Leadership
Human Rights
Government and Politics – Africa
Latin American Politics
International Political Economy
Political Economy Development
Computers, Communication, and International Development
Evaluating International Development Projects
Modernization and Development
Engineering and Global Development
Social Entrepreneurship
Economic Development Policy and Planning

Other courses may be added with the permission of the program’s administration.