Development Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Note: The Development Studies Major has been retired and folded into Global Studies.  We are no longer accepting Development Studies declarations.  Please visit the Global Studies website or the Global Studies page on the Berkeley Academic Guide for more information. 

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Development Studies (DS) major focuses on social transformation or change. The problems of social transformation are urgent, massive, complex, and often transcend the boundaries of conventional academic disciplines.

DS examines the problems, processes, and prospects for the development of human and material resources in what are generally thought to be the less developed areas of the world. To study comparative development effectively, one must draw upon many disciplines and construct a balanced understanding of historical and contemporary processes. Thus, studying development as a social transformation requires a blending of knowledge and perspectives from political science, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, geography, history, and environmental science.

Declaring the Major

Applications are accepted during the fall and spring semesters from the third week of instruction until the last day of instruction (not the last day of finals). Applications are accepted during the summer from the last week in May until the beginning of the fall semester (not the beginning of classes).

To be eligible to declare, students must not be in the final semester of their undergraduate work. For further information on prerequisites required before declaring the major, please see the Major Requirements tab on this page.

Additionally, students are encouraged, but not required, to complete two semesters of college-level foreign language or the equivalent before applying to the major.

To get declared you must both:

  • Attend a Major Declaration Workshop (check the schedule in the IAS office for dates)
  • Meet with an IAS adviser to submit the DS application materials

Bring a completed DS application to the workshop. Application materials may be submitted after attending the Major Declaration Workshop. However, students will not be officially declared until they have both attended a workshop and submitted all declaration papers.

Honors Program

To be eligible for honors, students must have senior standing and a GPA of 3.6 in the major and 3.5 in all work completed at UC Berkeley. Doing honors includes a year-long course sequence (IAS H102 in the fall and DEV STD H195 in the spring) in which students learn how to formulate a hypothesis, conduct supporting research, and complete a thesis paper of approximately 75 pages or longer.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Development Studies.

Visit Program Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

Repeat Rule

Students who earn a grade of F, D-, D, D+ or NP may repeat the course only once. Regardless of the grade the student receives for their second attempt (including F, D-, D or D+), the student may not repeat the course a third time.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Summary of Major Requirements

Lower division requirements: five courses
Foreign language requirement: proficiency equivalent to four college-level semesters
Upper division requirements: nine courses
Course Not Available [4]
Disciplinary courses: two courses
Development courses: two courses
Methodology: one course
Concentration: three courses

Lower Division Requirements 

DEV STD C10Course Not Available 14
ECON 1Introduction to Economics 24
or ECON 2 Introduction to Economics--Lecture Format
ANTHRO 3Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology4
IAS 45Survey of World History4
STAT 2Introduction to Statistics4
or STAT C8 Foundations of Data Science
or STAT 20 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
or STAT 21 Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business

Foreign Language Requirement

DS majors must demonstrate proficiency in a modern language other than English by the last semester of their senior year. Proficiency is equivalent to the ability achieved in four college-level semesters (or two years). Language courses taken in high school do not satisfy this requirement. See below for details on how to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

Languages accepted by the College of Letters & Science are not automatically accepted by the DS major. Please check with a DS adviser for eligible languages.

There are a variety of ways to fulfill the four-semester language requirement for DS, depending on the individual and his or her background and ability.

  1. Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test: An AP score of 5 or an International Baccalaureate (IB) score of 7 will complete this requirement. An AP score of 4 will place a student into the fourth-semester college level course. A score of 3 will place a student into the third-semester college level course. Documentation of AP scores must be provided.
  2. Coursework: Any combination of college courses, summer programs, or college-level study abroad programs can satisfy the language requirement. At a minimum, students must complete the fourth semester (i.e., the second semester of intermediate level) of a language with a grade of C- or better in order to fulfill the requirement. The first, second, and third-level courses may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis. Language courses need not be taken at UC Berkeley. Courses taken at a community college or any accredited school or university may be acceptable. Transcripts must be submitted and evaluated by a DS adviser. A one-semester upper division course taken abroad in the target language may satisfy the foreign language requirement, depending on the school and program followed. For more information, see a DS adviser concerning language study abroad.
  3. Proficiency exam: Some, but not all, language departments on campus offer proficiency testing for students with advanced skills in that language. Please note that if a particular language is not taught on the UC Berkeley campus, then students are not able to test in that language. A student would then need to choose one of the other methods for fulfilling the foreign language requirement. Please speak with a DS adviser about proficiency testing.
  4. High school completion in a non-English language: Students who were educated in a non-English language through the completion of high school or the equivalent may wish to satisfy this requirement with that experience. This requires a language proficiency exam. 

Upper Division Requirements

DEV STD C100Course Not Available4
Disciplinary courses
Select two courses from the same discipline (see below for approved options)
Development courses
Select two courses from the development course list (see below)
Select one course from either the statistical methods category or the research design category.
Statistical Methods:
Introduction to Population Analysis [3]
Economic Statistics and Econometrics [4]
Econometric Analysis [4]
Applied Econometrics and Public Policy [4]
Introductory Applied Econometrics [4]
Linear Programming and Network Flows [3]
Research and Data Analysis in Psychology [4]
Introduction to Probability and Statistics in Biology and Public Health [4]
Quantitative Sociological Methods [4]
Statistical Methods for Data Science [4]
Research Design:
Research Methods for African American Studies [4]
Research Theory and Methods in Socio-Cultural Anthropology [5]
The City: Theories and Methods in Urban Studies [4]
Social Science Methods in Ethnic Studies [4]
Humanities Methods in Ethnic Studies [4]
Selected Issues in Comparative Ethnic Studies Research [4] 1
The Ethics, Methods, and Pragmatics of Global Practice [4] (Available to Global Poverty and Practice students only.)
Scope and Methods of Research in International and Area Studies [4]
Scope and Methods of Research in International and Area Studies [4]
Interpreting the Queer Past: Methods and Problems in the History of Sexuality [4]
Scope and Methods of Research in Middle Eastern Studies [4]
Theories and Methods in Native American Studies [4]
Research Design and Sociological Methods [5]
Advanced Methods: In-depth Interviewing [4]
Select three courses from the approved concentration list (see below).

Disciplinary Course List

History of Anthropological Thought [4]
Comparative Society [4]
Anthropology of Gender [4]
Sexuality, Culture, and Colonialism [4]
Anthropology of the Environment [4]
Research Theory and Methods in Socio-Cultural Anthropology [5]
Select one course from each list. Students may choose from 2 different series.
Intermediate Microeconomic Theory [4]
Economic Analysis--Micro [4]
Economic Theory--Micro [4]
Microeconomic Analysis for Business Decisions [3]
Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory [4]
Economic Analysis--Macro [4]
Economic Theory--Macro [4]
Macroeconomic Analysis for Business Decisions [3]
Environmental Economics and Policy
Environmental Economics [4]
Development Economics [4]
Development Economics [4]
Postcolonial Geographies [4]
Economic Geography of the Industrial World [4]
Food and the Environment [4]
Special Topics in Geography [3] 1
Seminar in Historical Research and Writing for History Majors [4] 1
Political Economy
Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Latin America [4]
Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Asia [4]
Proseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Africa [4]
Classical Theories of Political Economy [4]
Contemporary Theories of Political Economy [4]
International Political Economy [4]
Political Science
Ethics and Justice in International Affairs [4]
International Political Economy [4]
Applied Econometrics and Public Policy [4]
Revolutionary Change [4]
Sociological Theory I [5]
Sociological Theory II [5]
Development and Globalization [4]
Politics and Social Change [4]

Development Course List

AFRICAM 112APolitical and Economic Development in the Third World4
AFRICAM 112BPolitical and Economic Development in the Third World4
DEV STD 150Advanced Studies in Development Studies 14
ECON 115The World Economy in the Twentieth Century4
ECON C171/ENVECON C151Development Economics4
ECON 172Case Studies in Economic Development 14
ECON 173Economic Development Seminar4
ECON/DEMOG C175Economic Demography4
ESPM 165International Rural Development Policy4
ENVECON 131Globalization and the Natural Environment3
ENVECON 152Advanced Topics in Development and International Trade3
ENVECON 153Population, Environment, and Development3
ESPM 166Course Not Available
ESPM C167Environmental Health and Development4
ESPM 168Political Ecology4
ESPM 169International Environmental Politics4
ETH STD 190Advanced Seminar in Comparative Ethnic Studies 14
GEOG 123Postcolonial Geographies4
GEOG 138Global Environmental Politics4
GEOG 170Special Topics in Geography3
GPP/CY PLAN 115Global Poverty: Challenges and Hopes4
GWS 141Interrogating Global Economic "Development"4
GWS 143Women, Proverty, and Globalization4
HISTORY 100Course Not Available
IAS C148Course Not Available4
IAS 120Selected Topics - International and Area Studies3
IAS 150Advanced Studies in International and Area Studies4
IAS 180Course Not Available
LEGALST 158Law and Development4
POLECON C196WSpecial Field Research10.5
POL SCI 124CEthics and Justice in International Affairs4
POL SCI 139BDevelopment Politics4
POL SCI 139DUrban and Sub-national Politics in Developing Countries4
PB HLTH 112Global Health: A Multidisciplinary Examination4
PB HLTH 181Poverty and Population3
SOCIOL 127Development and Globalization4

Concentration Course List

Concentration courses are selected to provide substantive knowledge of the cultural, political, economic, and historical development of one particular region of the developing world. It is best to choose courses from more than one discipline. Concentration courses must be preapproved by an adviser.

Africa (North and Sub-Saharan)
AFRICAM 115Language and Social Issues in Africa3
AFRICAM 241Special Topics in Development Studies of the Diaspora 11-4
ANTHRO 183Topics in the Anthropological Study of Africa 14
HISTORY 103HProseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Africa 14
HISTORY 112BAfrica: Modern South Africa, 1652-Present4
POL SCI 146AAfrican Politics4
POL SCI 149BSpecial Topics in Area Studies4
East Asia (China, Japan, North and South Korea)
ANTHRO 170China4
ANTHRO 171Japan4
CHINESE 158Reading Chinese Cities4
ECON 162The Chinese Economy3
GEOG 164Global China3
HISTORY 103FProseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Asia4
HISTORY 113BModern Korean History4
HISTORY 116CChina: Modern China4
HISTORY 116DChina: Twentieth-Century China4
HISTORY 117ATopics in Chinese History: Chinese Popular Culture4
HISTORY 118CJapan: Empire and Alienation: The 20th Century in Japan4
POL SCI 128Chinese Foreign Policy4
POL SCI 143ANortheast Asian Politics4
POL SCI 143BJapanese Politics4
POL SCI 143CChinese Politics4
POL SCI 144BPolitics of Divided Korea4
LATAMST 160The Politics of Development in Chile6
Eastern Europe, Russia, Former USSR
S,SEASN 120Course Not Available4
ANTHRO 180European Society4
ECON 161Economics of Transition: Eastern Europe4
GEOG C152Course Not Available
GERMAN 160CPolitics and Culture in 20th-Century Germany: A Divided Nation. Politics and Culture in Germany 1945-19904
GERMAN 160DPolitics and Culture in 20th-Century Germany: Multicultural Germany4
HISTORY 103BProseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Europe4
HISTORY 171BAutocracy and Society in Romanov Russia4
HISTORY 171CRussia: History of the Soviet Union4
HISTORY 173CHistory of Eastern Europe: History of Eastern Europe: From 1900 to the Present4
HISTORY 174ATopics in the History of Eastern Europe: A History of Poland-Lithuania4
HISTORY C175B/UGIS C155/RELIGST C135Jewish Civilization: Modern Period4
POL SCI 129BCourse Not Available
POL SCI 141CPolitics and Government in Eastern Europe4
SLAVIC 158Topics in East European/Eurasian Cultural History 14
Latin America (Mexico, Central America, Chile, Brazil, the Carribean)
AFRICAM 131Caribbean Societies and Cultures3
ETH STD 159AC/EDUC 186AC/GEOG 159ACThe Southern Border4
GEOG C157/CHICANO C161Central American Peoples and Cultures4
HISTORY 103EProseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Latin America 14
HISTORY 140BMexico: Modern Mexico4
HISTORY 141BSocial History of Latin America: Social History of Modern Latin America4
HISTORY 143Brazil4
LATAMST 150Advanced Studies in Latin American Studies 14
POL SCI 148ALatin American Politics4
PB HLTH 212CMigration and Health: A U.S.-Mexico Binational Perspective2-3
SOCIOL 145LSocial Change in Latin America4
The Middle East (The Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, etc)
ANTHRO 181Themes in the Anthropology of the Middle East and Islam4
GWS 142Women in the Muslim and Arab Worlds4
HISTORY 109CThe Middle East From the 18th Century to the Present4
HISTORY C175B/UGIS C155/RELIGST C135Jewish Civilization: Modern Period4
HISTORY 177BArmenia: From Pre-modern Empires to the Present4
M E STU 130Cross-Listed Topics1-4
M E STU 150Advanced Study in the Middle East4
NE STUD 175History and Culture of Afghanistan3
POL SCI 142AMiddle East Politics4
South Asia
ANTHRO 184South Asia4
ASAMST 190Seminar on Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies 14
ASIANST 150Course Not Available 1
HISTORY 103FProseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Asia 14
HISTORY 114BIndia: Modern South Asia4
POL SCI 145ASouth Asian Politics4
POL SCI 145BSouth Asian Politics4
S ASIAN 148Religious Nationalism in South Asia4
Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines)
ASAMST 125Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asian Refugees in the U.S4
ASAMST 126Southeast Asian Migration and Community Formation4
ASAMST 190Seminar on Advanced Topics in Asian American Studies 14
ASIANST 150Course Not Available 1
HISTORY 103FProseminar: Problems in Interpretation in the Several Fields of History: Asia 14
HISTORY 111ATopics in the History of Southeast Asia: Southeast Asia to the 18th Century4
HISTORY C111BCourse Not Available4
or SEASIAN C141B Course Not Available
HISTORY 111CTopics in the History of Southeast Asia: Political and Cultural History of Vietnam4
POL SCI 149ESpecial Topics in Area Studies4
SEASIAN 130Articulations of the Female in Indonesia4

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Develop strong interdisciplinary training with control over key concepts in the social sciences:
    • Develop a critical understanding of conventional and non-conventional measures and indices of development.
    • Comprehend core concepts pertaining to development studies which are part of larger social scientific traditions and analysis (state, market, civil society).
    • Understand the genealogy of particular theoretical traditions of development that are both rooted in and cross cut the disciplines.
    • Grasp the complex relations between development as a series of planned interventions (at various levels) and the dynamics, conflicts and rhythms of historical change and social transformation.
  2. Apply an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of international development theory and practice:
    • Recognize how differing concepts and ideas are translated into development practice.
    • Identify the multiple forms of state and non-state interventions – and the map of multilateral, bilateral and local development institutions – associated with contemporary international development.
    • Integrate understandings of market, state and civil society, and grasp how they are deployed in development theory and practice.


  1. Acquire historical & geographical knowledge and language skills:
    • Examine the historical processes by which the Global South emerged from within the modern world system (post 1450).
    • Develop a comparative understanding of major world regions and their interrelations.
    • Gain a substantive knowledge of cultural, political, economic, and historical development of one particular region of the developing world; if possible, participate in Education Abroad Program in a country in the region.
    • Acquire language skills relevant to regional expertise.
  2. Demonstrate research, critical reading, and writing skills:
    • Formulate well-organized arguments supported by evidence.
    • Write clearly and effectively.
    • Apply basic quantitative skills.
    • Critically evaluate arguments in professional, public and advocacy literatures.
    • Gain some practical experience through internships.


Development Studies

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Elisabeth Sadoulet, Professor. Economics, agriculture, labor management and policy.
Research Profile


Clare Talwalker, Lecturer. Global Studies, Global Poverty and Practice, Political Economy, South Asia.

Emeritus Faculty

Gillian P. Hart, Professor Emeritus.

+ Michael J. Watts, Professor Emeritus. Islam, development, Africa, social movements, political economy, political ecology, geography, South Asia, peasant societies, social and and cultural theory, US agriculture, Marxian political economy.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Development Studies Program

International and Area Studies, 101 Stephens Hall

Phone: 510-642-4466

Visit Program Website

Associate Dean, Interdisciplinary Social Sciences & Chair, Development Studies

Max Auffhammer

101 Stephens Hall

Lead Academic Adviser

Ethan Savage

101 Stephens Hall

Phone: 510-643-4156

Undergraduate Academic Adviser

Nithya Raghunathan

101 Stephens Hall

Phone: 510-643-7282

Undergraduate Academic Adviser, Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Dreux Montgomery

101 Stephens Hall

Phone: 510-643-4157

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