Undergraduate Opportunities

International Development Studies Minor

Conduct RESEARCH in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Gain RESOURCES to prepare you and fund your research

Build RELATIONSHIPS with faculty and peers



Students of the International Development Studies minor conduct research in the field around critical issues of the day. This interdisciplinary minor engages students from all disciplines and allows students to focus on topics such as global health, education, the environment, refugees and migration.  


IDS News & Spotlights   See where our former IDS students are today  IDS National Fellowship Awardees



Spring 2024: The Kellogg Institute is closing the International Development Studies minor. Students currently in the minor can complete the program with a limited number of courses. At this point, we are not adding new students to the program.




The goal of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies’ minor in International Development Studies (IDS) is to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to learn about and contribute to international development discourse and practice.  IDS will provide context and an academic foundation for students to analyze the dynamics of development across the globe, as well as help students,  develop skills for effective engagement in a complex world. 

Development studies is interdisciplinary in nature, so students are required to take courses in a variety of disciplines.

This equips students with the broad lens through which to view and investigate international development challenges.  Students from all colleges and departments are welcome to enroll in the program.

The IDS minor prepares students for a variety of post-graduate options related to international development, including graduate work in development studies, volunteer work or employment in the field, ranging from international and advocacy organizations, businesses, consulting firms, and policy and research groups. Many IDS students have been honored through fellowships and awards such as Fulbrights, Boren Fellowships, the Gilman Scholarship, as well as the Rhodes and Knight-Hennessy Scholarships. See the full list of award recipients.

Regardless of what career path IDS students follow, the breadth and diversity of academic and fieldwork training help prepare them to apply their learning from the classroom to the world around them. 

The IDS minor was founded by the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, and today the minor is managed by the Kellogg Institute, working closely with the Ford Program. To supplement their course work, students can take advantage of the many opportunities made available by the Kellogg Institute and the Ford Program: a calendar of eventsgrants and internship opportunities, an annual student-led human development research conference, and other resources.

Students interested in enrolling in the minor should ensure that they can meet all requirements (see tab above).

The director of the minor is Steve Reifenberg, Sr. Strategic Advisor, Kellogg Institute.  Interested students may schedule a meeting with Holly Rivers, Associate Director, Kellogg Institute.

Learning Goals

The minor in International Development Studies has four distinct learning goals:

Students will gain a firm grounding in theories of international development studies and current debates in the field. They will have a solid grasp of how various competing theories have risen to prominence at different times over the last 60 years, and how these theories play out in practice.

Through case study analysis, students will investigate how theory and practice are linked. This analysis includes exploring the dynamics between the developed and developing worlds and the debates within individual countries including, among other topics, poverty, inequality, health, education, gender, and environment.

All students will engage in an original research project in the field (typically after their junior year), and, through their senior capstone project seminar, will have a chance to systematically analyze, synthesize, and present what they have learned.

Students will learn from their fellow IDS classmates and a broad range of faculty how to approach development from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and the ways that these different approaches and ideas can relate to the real world.


Students enrolled in the minor in International Development Studies (IDS) are required to complete 15 course credit hours as well as a significant field-based research project in the developing world:

Gateway - 3 credit hours

Two Electives - 6 credit hours

Research Methods for Social Science Fieldwork
*Must be taken by the end of junior year

Research Project

Capstone - 3 credit hours





Junior Review Process - There is no requirement for 2023-2024

IDS seniors may apply for funding up to $1500 to present their research at and/or attend domestic conferences or to present at international conferences. (Please refer to the eligibility requirements for more details.) The conference should have a clear relation to the student’s academic program at Notre Dame.

Students must meet with Rachel Thiel prior to submitting their proposal, and must submit a proposal at least 5 weeks in advance of the conference.

Students may receive up to two conference grants per academic year.

Conference Funding Requirements:

  • A two-page proposal that includes a brief conference description (one paragraph), a web link for the conference, justification for attendance, and an explanation of how the student will utilize his or her time at the conference (the more specific, the better).
  • A budget
  • A statement of support from your IDS capstone adviser, sent directly from the adviser to Rachel Thiel

Can be submitted with application or after acceptance:

  • Students who are attending but not presenting at a conference will be required to consult with a graduate student which can be found at the bottom of this page, about how to best utilize their time at a conference and submit a one-page document based on that conversation. The document should include the graduate student's name and department. (Note that you are not limited to this group.) Funding will not be released until this document is submitted.

Students may not miss any classes while using funding from the Kellogg Institute.

Students must accept the award in writing no later than three business days after receipt of the award letter and fulfill several requirements once awarded before the Kellogg Institute can process funding. The Kellogg Institute will initiate a check request once students accept the award and turn in the required paperwork. (Note that all paperwork must be completed one week before the conference for funding to remain available to the student.)

Funded students must submit a follow-up article to be posted on the website, describing what they gained from the experience. The Conference Follow-Up Form should be submitted to Rachel Thiel within two weeks of return.

Campus Conferences

Human Development Conference (Spring): This conference hosted by the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity brings together students from Notre Dame as well as other universities in the US and abroad to share their research experiences and perspectives on human development. For more information, visit http://kellogg.nd.edu/hdc

Notre Dame Student Peace Conference (Spring): The Student Peace Conference hosted by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is planned by undergraduate students at Notre Dame. It provides students from across the country with a forum to explore issues of peace and social change and to present their research on these topics.https://sites.nd.edu/peacecon/

Off Campus Conferences

The American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting

Global Health and Innovation Conference

Global Development Conference

National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC)

Society for Research in Child Development

United Nations International Conference on Sustainable Development


Senior Capstone Projects

International Development Studies