International Development Major

The international development major will prepare you for serving around the world and the U.S. in a variety of fields.

Are you interested in preparing to serve in today’s diverse field of international development? Is God leading you to to make a difference? Houghton’s international development major prepares you for a career in the social development of communities, nations and regions in the U.S. and around the world.

Career options include community and international development; relief work, policy careers, micro business opportunities, careers with NGOs, refugee services, global health and other service-oriented vocations in diverse cultural contexts from developing countries to multi-cultural contexts in the U.S..

The program provides an intellectual, spiritual and practical foundation by which graduates may engage the many forms of development in strategic and sustainable ways. The major draws on the methodologies and perspectives of development practice, and related social sciences such as anthropology, through integrating the theory of intercultural development work with experiential learning in intercultural settings.

All international development majors are required to choose a second major or two minors to bring the skillset of a specific discipline to bear on development problems and potentials. Areas of study for majors and minors include art, biology, business administration, communication, political science, sociology and religion. Other areas of study for minors add economics, education, environmental stewardship, linguistics, management, missions and public health.

Why Major in International Development?

  • Prepare for today’s multicultural world through both rigorous theoretical study and hands-on, experiential learning opportunities
  • Gain practical experience in the field through an intercultural experience or an off-campus practicum specifically in development
  • Travel the world through Houghton’s many off-campus study opportunities or internships
  • Integrate global engagement into every aspect of your education
  • Study with faculty who have extensive experience living, working and serving in cross-cultural settings around the world, and integrate these experiences into the classroom

124 Credits


Required Courses


Elective Courses and General Education

Degree Requirements

Developing Community, Changing Lives

Researching Rural Life in Sierra Leone

Houghton students, faculty and alumni conducted a preliminary study that was used to seek funding and design development initiatives in a rural village in Sierra Leone.

Focus and Field Experience Tailored to Your Interests

International development majors pair their studies with another academic discipline and choose their field experience based on their individual career aspirations. You will work under the supervision of members of the Houghton faculty who have had extensive experience and training in intercultural studies, missions, linguistics and development work. They will work with you to provide the best location and right type of training for the work and service you desire most. You can do a formal overseas study program, an internship or a variety of other types of specially arranged programs.

With so many off-campus study opportunities, you might find it hard to choose just one. Many students study abroad several times during their four years at Houghton.

Global Engagement

As an international development major, global engagement will be a part of your total education. Each student is required to have a field experience in development. Students are involved in various activities and learning opportunities including:

  • Annual Faith and Justice Symposium sponsored by Houghton’s Center for Faith, Justice and Global Engagement
  • Journey’s End Tutoring (JET), a Saturday ministry to immigrants and refugees in Buffalo, primarily helping with teaching English
  • Faith and International Development Conference, Calvin College
  • Cornell Institute for African Development Conference, Cornell University

Application Requirements


Start Your Application

Complete the application here
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Documents and Supporting Materials

You’ll be asked to provide your official high school transcript and your test scores (can be waived)
Testing Policy

Personal Statement

The personal statement portion of our application for admission is perhaps the best place to truly tell your story, to tell who you are and what is important to you.
Personal Statement

Have Questions?

Discover if earning your degree in International Development from Houghton College is right for you.