Renewing God's World

To change the world for the better, you need a deep passion for justice. At Calvin you will learn how to be an effective agent of renewal, prepared to make a difference.


The international development studies program offers an 12-course major and a 6-course minor. Both programs include study off-campus in one of Calvin's semester programs or interim courses.

Majors take ten required courses, two elective courses, and spend one semester in a developing country. Minors take three required courses and three elective courses, spending either a semester or interim in a developing country.


Initially called Third World Development Studies, the IDS program began in 1993 as a minor option for students interested in deepening their understanding of global poverty and how to combat it. The IDS program gradually grew in popularity and prominence as global issues became increasingly important, as student and faculty interest grew and as more opportunities for overseas study became available. Students could officially major in IDS for the first time in 2005. In 2018, the program had 42 majors and 44 minors.

Program goals

Active Faculty

Spread across different disciplines, there are 7 faculty advisers who teach IDS courses and work directly with IDS students to help them shape an academic program designed to meet their individual interests and needs. All IDS faculty have extensive experience in developing countries and in researching and teaching about development issues. These interest/research areas include:

  • Religion and politics in southern Africa
  • Short-term missions
  • Justice and development in Honduras
  • Eco-tourism in Jamaica
  • International law
  • International collaboration
  • Intersection of race and place
  • Modern-day slavery
  • Human rights advocacy in South Asia
  • Higher education in Ethiopia
  • Refugees in East Africa
  • Sustainable food production
  • Labor migration in developing countries
  • Human population issues
  • Traditional religions in Africa
  • Security institutions

Global Opportunities

Spending a semester in a developing country guided by a trained faculty member is a vital component of the international development studies program at Calvin. Calvin offers 12 off-campus semester programs , five of which are in developing countries. The fall semester in Honduras is specifically geared toward justice studies, and the spring semester in Ghana focuses on development studies.

Other, Calvin-endorsed programs are available with Northwestern College's program in Romania and the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute's program in Thailand. Calvin-offered interim courses regularly visit developing countries like Cambodia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Liberia and many others.