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ICGC: Development Studies and Social Change Minor Application


About the Minor

The graduate minor in Development Studies and Social Change (DSSC) offers to graduate students the opportunity to complete a structured program of study in an interdisciplinary and globally oriented field. By focusing on the social basis of change in the global south, the minor program engages a wide range of academic disciplines, including the social sciences, humanities, and biological sciences. The minor program focuses on three areas:
  1. The relationships between macroscopic processes of political, economic, and social change, and the microscopic conditions of lived experience in the developing world;
  2. Specifically interdisciplinary perspectives (encompassing the social sciences, the biological sciences, and the humanities) on this general thematic concern; and
  3. Preparation of doctoral students for field research in the global south.
At the University of Minnesota, this multi-disciplinary field of study is housed at ICGC. Approximately 60 ICGC Scholars, who hold fellowships from ICGC, participate in the DSSC minor outside of their departmental course work. Beginning in 2013, the DSSC minor program is open to a limited number of students beyond the ICGC Scholar cohort. The minor program is designed for students already admitted to the University of Minnesota and enrolled in a graduate program. Students applying to the minor program should be able to demonstrate a clear connection between their academic program and interests and the DSSC program, as well as a commitment to interdisciplinary study related to the global south.
More than 70 faculty members from six colleges and schools comprise the Development Studies and Social Change (DSSC) graduate faculty. Although the students and faculty affiliated with ICGC represent many different departments within the University and come from more than 25 countries, they share a common interest in making connections between aggregate-level social and historical processes of global change on the one hand, and the lived experiences of individuals and communities on the other. In taking this unique approach to the study of the global south, the minor in development studies and social change distinguishes itself from such related fields of inquiry as developmental economics and cultural anthropology. While the minor includes attention to these important, established fields, its overarching concern is the integration of the macroscopic analysis of processes of change with the study of experiences at the local level. The purpose of this minor program is to provide a set of high-quality core courses that emphasize theory, methods, and key issues in Development Studies and Social Change and facilitate and enhance the current level of interdisciplinary research among graduate students and faculty.

Research Grants

Students in the minor program are eligible to apply for summer pre-dissertation research grants offered by ICGC. To be eligible, students must be in good standing in the minor program, have completed at least two semesters of coursework in their doctoral program and the minor program by the time of the award, and have a dissertation project related to the DSSC minor program themes.

Special Eligibility Requirements:

To formally declare this minor, there are two steps:
  1. The graduate minor program must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in Development Studies and Social Change prior to, or concurrent with, submission of the Graduate Degree Plan or the Petition Form.
  2. Completing your Degree Plan or the Petition Form through the Graduate School. Those forms are available on the Graduate School website. The student should follow the rules and guidelines of his or her major department in filling out these forms. The Director of Graduate Studies for the DSSC minor program can be contacted through ICGC.

Contact Information:

For questions about this application, please contact ICGC UMN at

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