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Frequently Asked Questions

Academics / Departments & Programs / Global Development Studies / Academics / Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is global development?

    Global development studies (GDS) is a multidisciplinary program that addresses the question of how to build a world in which everyone can eat, work, live well, be respected, and, in general, thrive. GDS works to understand the world’s brokenness, manifested by global poverty and inequality, injustices of all sorts, corruption, violence and war, environmental degradation, sickness and disease, and gender and racial divisions. It follows up on this by studying pathways to shared prosperity, good governance, reconciliation and peacebuilding, health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability, or, in a word, shalom.

  • How is GDS different from international relations (IR)?

    GDS focuses on the parts of the world where people are poor, suffering, marginalized, and vulnerable. It is especially concerned with nations of the Global South and how they grow and change over time. IR, on the other hand, focuses primarily on the interactions and relationships of governments and non-state actors among all countries of the world, including those among such developed countries as, for example, Japan, France, and the USA. Another key difference is that GDS is a multidisciplinary program while IR is a political science subfield.

  • What are some of the unique features of Calvin's GDS program?

    Calvin’s GDS program has a wonderful community of students and alumni. Under the leadership of the Student Planning Council (SPC), students gather periodically during the year for meet and greet events, potluck suppers, picnics, and vocational events. All GDS majors participate on an off-campus semester in the Global South, most often in Ghana and Honduras. A semester-long, Global South internship with World Renew is another option. The GDS community is especially proud of our annual Faith and International Development Conference (FIDC), a student-directed and managed conference featuring speakers with practical experience in the field, 25-30 sponsoring organizations, and 20-30 breakout sessions.

  • What can I do with an GDS degree?

    The short answer is almost anything, but a better answer might be simply to mention that our graduates have gone on to work for the following organizations:

    • World Bank
    • USAID
    • World Vision
    • Samaritan's Purse
    • Mennonite Central Committee
    • International Justice Mission
    • Plant With Purpose
    • World Renew

    Learn more about what our alumni have done.

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