Undergraduate Program International Development Studies

portland state university International and Global Studies: International Development student working on her computer

International Development Studies Bachelor's Degree Overview

A major in International Development Studies prepares students to understand the challenges that developing nations face in achieving improved living conditions for their inhabitants. In our courses, we emphasize how development is shaped by the intersections of politics, economy, social and political power, and culture at global, national, and regional levels. Our majors acquire a critical understanding of environmental vulnerabilities and socio-economic inequalities in the developing world, grounded in an appreciation of global history. The International Development Studies majors are well-prepared for further graduate education and to work in NGOs and state agencies alike.

Degree Details

International Development Studies Bachelor's Degree: Why PSU?

Choose PSU’s International Development Studies major if you’re looking for:

  • Exceptional faculty. Our faculty have extensive experience with both teaching and research in international development-related topics in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Exciting, cutting-edge courses. Our course offerings cover topics such as poverty and inequality, social and environmental movements, and sustainable development.
  • An interdisciplinary degree. We offer a flexible interdisciplinary curriculum that can be tailored to your goals and interests.
  • Personalized Advising. Professional and faculty advisors are available to support your learning goals and guide you to new opportunities.
  • Study Abroad Opportunities. You can enhance your learning by enrolling in one of the 200 credit-bearing international opportunities offered through PSU Education Abroad, including programs in many developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Our diverse campus is located in the center of downtown Portland, one of the most vibrant cities on the West Coast.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree in International Development Studies?

A degree in International Development Studies prepares students for a wide range of careers in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors. Graduates of our program have found opportunities all over the world in:

  • Graduate programs in International Affairs, Business, International Development, Political Science, Urban Studies, Public Health, etc.
  • Private-sector employers, including international businesses 
  • Aid organizations such as the International Red Cross
  • Nonprofits focused on issues ranging from health to education, food systems, gender rights, sustainability, and more
  • Business incubators and trade organizations
  • Government agencies and grassroots organizations, with a focus on international affairs
  • Journalism and media organizations

Whether you want to pursue a career overseas, work in the United States, or prepare for a graduate degree, take the first step with Portland State University’s International Development Studies major.

Featured Courses

  • INTL 201 Introduction to International Studies
  • INTL 341U Environment and Development in Latin America
  • INTL 343U Commodity Chains: From Silver to Cocaine
  • INTL 349 Gender and Development
  • INTL 362 Amazon Rainforest
  • INTL 364 Modern Brazil
  • INTL 372 Post-Colonial Studies of Africa
  • INTL 375 Globalization and Forced Migration
  • INTL 390 Foundations of Global Studies
  • INTL 396 The United States and the World
  • INTL 397 US Policy and International Development
  • INTL 445 Cities and Third World Development
  • INTL 452 The European Union
  • INTL 471 Understanding the International Experience
  • INTL 490 Global Sustainable Development

Featured Electives

Majors must take eight credits of elective courses from the International Development Studies course list.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).