Our cross-disciplinary master's program in international development is designed to prepare you for a career in improving economic, social and political conditions on a global level. The program emphasizes the need for broad-based, environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth that generates meaningful employment opportunities. You'll build a holistic understanding of how economic, social, political, environmental and human biological factors influence sustainable development efforts and outcomes.
We equip you with key practical skills in communication, financial analysis, project management, field research, cultural awareness, technological competency and networking. The overwhelming majority of our graduates find work in government, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Alumni consistently report achieving high-level decision-making positions within five years.
Program Training Core
This degree requires specialization in one of the following disciplines, allowing you to acquire the knowledge necessary to succeed in your desired career field. Focus areas include economic development, microfinance and sustainable development, environmental security, education, health, population, and gender.
Skills-based courses provide you with the expertise to effectively interpret data, skillfully communicate and manage challenging issues that you will encounter throughout your career.
Statistics for International Affairs
This is a fast-paced course which serves as an introduction to basic and intermediate concepts in statistics and probability, as well as the primary methods of statistical inference. Topics include data collection, presenting data in tables and charts, summarizing and describing numerical data, basic probability, discrete probability distributions, normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence interval estimation, single-sample and two-sample hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, chi-square goodness-of-fit tests, chi-square contingency analysis, simple regression and multiple regression. Emphasis will be on statistical reasoning, problem solving, computer applications (using Stata), and interpretation of results. This course is offered in the Fall quarter only.
Applied Field Methods
An introductory course for students planning to conduct research in developing countries. Practical information is presented on transforming hypothesis into a fieldwork setting, questionnaire construction and administration, and interviewing techniques.
International Futures, Global Change and Development
Futures forecasting involved decisions about priorities. Decisions require forecasting the trajectory of a society with and without interventions of various kinds. This course involved students in the forecasting and analysis process. In the lab, students learn to use the International Futures (IFs) forecasting system. That system represents multiple issue areas (demographics, economics, energy, agriculture, education, health, socio-political, and environment subsystems) and is supported by a very large database. Students study the structure of each of these modules, learn how they represent the underlying subsystems, how they are linked to other subsystems, and what they tell us about the processes of change globally and in countries and regions around the world. Students use the system for forecasts and analyses of their own.
It can be beneficial for graduate students planning careers in multilateral and bilateral development agencies, non-profit organizations, private-sector companies, and professional services organizations to have an understanding of how to develop a project proposal, implement it, and evaluate its results. These are useful skills for entering or reentering employment with these organizations. The Josef Korbel School of International Studies currently offers a trilogy of courses in international project cycle management—international project design and monitoring, project management, and international project evaluation. The three courses are delivered in sequence during the academic year in conformance with the project cycle, but they can be taken out of sequence without prerequisite or need to take them all.
Financial Management and Fundraising for Non-Profits
This course will introduce students to the legal, governance and financial structures that enable non-profit organizations to function effectively. It will also provide a practical orientation to financial management issues, such as budgeting, financial reporting, and independent audits. Finally, a comprehensive presentation will be given of the fundraising methods needed to sustain the viability of non-profit organizations. These methods include: annual campaigns, direct mail, special events, major gifts, corporate fundraising, foundation grants, and planned giving. The course combines exploration of the general conceptual issues with an emphasis on practical "how-to's" and skill building.
About this Course
Select a region whose challenges and cultural traits inspire you.
About this Course
Explore the public health challenges facing cultures around the world, from developing nations to our own backyard.
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Discover the forces that shape strategies for national security around the globe and explore the tactics used by governments to combat terrorism and chemical or cyber warfare.
Many Korbel students have found internships with the Mercy Corps, an organization that acts globally to mitigate the effects of war and combat hunger, poverty and disease.
African Community Center
The African Community Center works to help refugees and immigrants in the Denver community find housing, counseling, employment and other essential services.
An internship with Pathfinder International gives students the opportunity to participate in the global fight against sexual abuse and reproductive oppression.
Graduates have pursued careers within government, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Examples of where our alumni are working include USAID, Elephant Energy, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Catholic Charities, World Wildlife Fund, and Engineers Without Borders.
We’re committed to offering a holistic approach to understanding international development with courses rooted in theory and practice. You have the flexibility to design your specialization and learn professional skills that are immediately applicable in your chosen field.
Food and Nutrition Security for Sustainable Development
About this Course
This policy-oriented course will examine structures and processes that result in varying food security outcomes across space and time. Food security outcomes reflect interactions among political, economic, socio-cultural, and physical environmental systems. These systems, which are both dynamic and permeable, give rise to particular forms and patterns of food production, distribution, and consumption, and to more or less environmentally-sustainable uses of the natural resources critical to food and nutrition security. Ultimately, food security is realized when all people within a population consume sufficient nutrients to live active and healthy lives. This normative focus on human health and well-being, as the metric by which food security outcomes will be measured, is critical to the framing of this course. Political, economic, and social institutions--positioned at scales encompassing global, national, “local” (micro-regional, community), and household--are simultaneously charged with producing food in particular physical environments and/or making food available and accessible to their populations, and with protecting environmental resources and public health in ways that contribute to nutritional components of human development. The term “political ecology” has been used to describe an analytical framework that explicitly focuses on the interactions among the structures of political economy and those of physical/biological ecologies (including human), together with the socio-cultural contexts that influence structural impacts and help to explain outcomes. This framework incorporates both an explicit navigation among scales (of power and of analysis) and a long-term perspective. Cumulatively, the readings and exercises of this course will build a political ecology of policy domains central to improving food security and nutrition outcomes in both global north and south. We will examine policy issues and constituencies, institutional approaches, theoretical perspectives, and empirical analyses. You will have opportunities to engage with institutional approaches through structured exercises, including a mid-term graded exercise. You will also have an opportunity to produce an independent project that will include your own policy recommendations.
Water and Sanitation in the Global South
About this Course
The current water governance systems are intertwined with politics and power and prioritize some groups and water uses over others. Worldwide, there are 750 million people who lack basic water access and 2.5 billion who lack sanitation access. Water is life. It sustains ecosystems, it fuels energy and industry, it enables livelihoods, it is essential for food security, health and nutrition, and it is central to many social and spiritual practices. Inadequate access to safe drinking water, sanitation facilities and hygiene practices deepens income poverty, weakens health, undermines education and exacerbates gender inequality. This interdisciplinary course will explore water and sanitation issues in the Global South. Political ecology and the hydo-social cycle will be introduced as concepts for moving beyond technical water and sanitation planning to consider how water is related to broader issues of power, politics, culture, and society. We will learn about practical and applied approaches for planning water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs, discuss interactions between society and water, and critically examine constructions of water scarcity. In this process we will move between scales at the community, river basin, regional and global level. Several special topics will be explored including gender and water, multiple use water services, water privatization, water and culture, WASH technologies, sustainability, health and behavior change. This course will focus on the water needs of communities in the Global South from a perspective of social justice.
Global Dynamics and Local Threats in Agricultural Development
About this Course
Many low- and middle-income countries in which agriculture plays a key role for development are characterized by high levels of socio-economic inequality, a mixed human rights record and a dominance of transnational corporate power in domestic agricultural export markets. At the same time, these countries face processes of environmental degradation through anthropogenic and natural drivers of change that affect the availability of ecosystem services and thus shape agricultural development and human wellbeing. This course offers an in-depth study of the political, socio-economic and social-ecological conditions for sustainable agricultural development in low- and middle-income countries. We explore the political economy of agricultural production and trade in countries that depend to a significant extent on the export of agricultural commodities as a source of foreign revenue. We examine the design and implementation of global policy frameworks, international agreements, and national strategies for agricultural production and trade, with a particular focus for the governance of natural resource use. Our goal is to assess the relevance and effectiveness of current governance structures for agriculture to respond to local-, regional-and global-scale environmental changes and socio-economic challenges in ways that address current and future human needs. Through case studies from selected agricultural sub-sectors and diverse countries from across Asia, Africa and Latin America, we investigate local strategies for natural resource use in the context of poverty, inequality, and environmental change. The course provides a comprehensive coverage of the political economy of agricultural development and an introduction to social-ecological systems analysis as a theoretical framework for interdisciplinary research in the field of sustainable development.