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About Us

International development studies at Calvin

At Calvin, we strive to understand the world and our place in it as God's agents of renewal. In international development studies, you'll learn about the factors that contribute to global hunger, poverty and oppression and consider how you can partner with others to build a world in which every human being has the opportunity to flourish.

Your IDS courses, off-campus study and mentoring relationships with professors will all equip you for leadership in pursuing justice and promoting transformational development throughout the world.

Program goals

The international development studies program will:

  • Calvin student in Ghanaexpand your awareness of global hunger, poverty and oppression.
  • help you understand cultures in developing countries from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • provide you with a theoretical foundation and Christian perspective for analyzing the problems and solutions of human development.
  • nurture in you a Christ-like spirit of compassion for suffering people around the world.
  • prepare you with knowledge, skills and virtues for positions in development organizations or study in graduate programs.

Program overview

The international development studies program offers an 11-course major and a 6-course minor. Both programs include study off-campus in one of Calvin's semester programs or interim courses.

Majors take eight required courses, three elective courses, and spend one semester in a developing country. Minors take three required courses and three elective courses, spending either a semester or interim in a developing country.

Faculty highlights

Spread across 5 disciplines, there are 8 faculty advisers who teach IDS courses and work directly with IDS students to help them shape an academic program designed to meet their individual interests and needs. All IDS faculty have extensive experience in developing countries and in researching and teaching about development issues.  These interest/research areas include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • refugees
  • economic institutions and policies
  • cultural change
  • community development
  • civil society and north/south NGO partnerships
  • food production and distribution
  • North-South economic relations
  • globalization
  • regional politics and history
  • business promotion
  • foreign aid
  • post-conflict reconciliation
  • religion and development

Other opportunities

Spending a semester in a developing country guided by a trained faculty member is a vital component of the international development studies program at Calvin.

Calvin offers 12 off-campus semester programs, five of which are in developing countries. The fall semester in Honduras is specifically geared toward development studies, and the spring semester in Thailand focuses on development and sustainability studies.

Other, Calvin-endorsed programs are available at the Daystar University in Kenya, and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities programs in Costa Rica, Egypt and Russia.

Calvin-offered Interim courses regularly visit developing countries like Cambodia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Liberia and many others.

Program history

Initially called Third World Development Studies, the IDS program began in 1993 as a minor option for students interested in deepening their understanding of global poverty and how to combat it. The IDS program gradually grew in popularity and prominence as global issues became increasingly important, as student and faculty interest grew and as more opportunities for overseas study became available.  Students could officially major in IDS for the first time in 2005. In 2013, the program had 73 majors and 28 minors.

Quick facts

International development studies at Calvin offers: