Global Development Studies

What is the meaning of development? What are the tradeoffs associated with industrialization, economic growth, and globalization? What are the political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental challenges faced by low-income countries?

The Global Development Studies (GDS) Program offers an interdisciplinary minor that focuses on the transformations associated with development. Since development entails transformations at the individual, local, national, and global levels, the program consists of courses that address multiple thematic and regional dimensions of development processes.

Courses in the program allow students to explore the empirical, philosophical, and policy dimensions of development. Faculty members at Puget Sound with development expertise teach in several departments and thus can provide students with a comprehensive set of skills and experiences for future development studies or work.


GDS students participate in several study abroad programs, and faculty-led study-travel trips, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Through homestays and independent research projects, many study abroad programs encourage deep social and cultural immersion and engagement with local populations. These experiences allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world contexts.


Students graduate prepared to work abroad and to contribute positively to ongoing debates regarding development. Many GDS students go on to serve as Peace Corps volunteers. Puget Sound offers a Peace Corps Prep Program, and among national colleges with fewer than 5,000 undergraduate students, Puget Sound consistently ranks among the top five in the number of alumni serving in the Peace Corps.