Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu

International Development

Our concentration draws on multiple disciplines to understand development challenges and inform solutions.

What changes when a country shifts from a traditional society to a modern society? Or from a focus on agriculture to a focus on industry? Development studies examines long-run transitions in social, economic, political, and cultural institutions that have accompanied industrialization in modern states, particularly focusing on states in the Global South such as Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and other more newly industrialized locations.

Using a multidisciplinary approach encompassing political science, geography, environmental studies, education, economics, sociology, and anthropology, students will engage in research and applied scholarship around themes of international development; learn to critically evaluate international development theories, discourses, paradigms, and practices; and prepare for careers in the field of international development.

Why study international development at Macalester?

Does foreign aid work? What are the environmental and social impacts of commodity production like coffee and rubber? What do power, politics, and development look like in contemporary Africa?

Debates over perspectives and practices in development cross disciplinary boundaries and are hotly contested. Macalester’s committed faculty members have the depth and breadth to bring these contemporary debates and perspectives to students from a wide range of disciplines.

Our multidimensional perspective will enhance the quality of your education and help you be an effective and responsible participant in the field of international development. We’re also multi-methodological so your research may include multiple means of gathering data including statistical studies, comparative analysis, and ethnographic and participant observation fieldwork. Many Macalester students take advantage of study abroad opportunities during their education to observe development first-hand and conduct research for honors projects and capstones.

Life after Macalester

  • Recent Employers

    • Advancing New Standards in Reproductiv Health (ANSIRH)
    • Center for Transforming Lives
    • Chemonics International
    • Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc.
    • Cookie Dough Confections
    • Flywheel Digital
    • FreshBox
    • Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
    • Inter-American Development Bank
    • International Rescue Committee
    • Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications
    • Keen Independent Research LLC
    • Lewin Group
    • Macalester College
    • MBC Global Media
    • Mission Asset Fund
    • National Community Reinvestment Coalition
    • Organic Redneck Growers
    • Oscar Health
    • Peace Corps – Benin
    • United Nations World Food Programme
    • UnitedHealth Group
    • Universal Strategy Group, Inc. (USGI)
    • University of Washington
    • Validus Holdings, Ltd.
    • Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

  • Recent Graduate Schools

    • Columbia University
    • Georgetown University
    • University of London
    • Yeshiva University

International development in the cities


Number of internships sites within 8 miles of campus—including Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee), and the International Institute of Minnesota.

Enjoy a wealth of resources amid the diverse populations of St. Paul and Minneapolis, home to Minnesotans from Mexico, Somalia, India, Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, Laos, and Thailand, adding to our state’s longstanding Scandinavian, Native American, and other communities.

Become involved at places like The Advocates for Human Rights and Center for Victims of Torture.

Join our community

  • Macalester Development Group: This student-led group funds students who want to conduct a development project.