About IDS

About IDS

The International Development Studies Program, founded in July 1987, offers UCLA undergraduates an interdisciplinary education on the critical issues, problems, and achievements common to developing regions of the world.

Our curriculum emphasizes global- and regional- scale perspectives, as well as an array of themes to pursue (political- economy, cultural-aesthetic, and private sector development). This Bachelor of Arts degree is designed for students interested in careers or vocations requiring an understanding of the diverse development experiences of the world.

IDS students' educational experiences are balanced between applied, field case-study learning and theoretical, conceptual knowledge. We believe strongly that these two types of learning are inseparable, and are useful for work in academia, government agencies, private industry, or non-governmental and non-profit organizations.  Most importantly, the program assists students in developing critical thinking skills with insight into, and knowledge of, the complex and diverse world community.

UCLA offers an undergraduate major leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International Development Studies. Our interdisciplinary approach to the study of international development enables students to address urgent global issues from several different academic perspectives. Ranging from Anthropology to Economics, Public Health to Women's Studies, Geography to History, and Political Science to Sociology, our curriculum exposes students to the concerns of the developing countries within Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. An understanding of these issues is indispensable for both practical and scholarly purposes. While encouraging the acquisition of theoretical and conceptual knowledge, the program is equally concerned with their practical application to global realities. The program values field experience involving travel, study and/or work in regions in the Developing World. Thus a strongly encouraged (though not required) aspect of the major is study abroad, especially in a developing area, and an internship in a local, national, or international community development agency/organization. 

Common topics of concern to students in International Development Studies major include:

  • The History of International Economic Expansion
  • Development Theory & Aid Institutions
  • The Consequences of Rapid Urbanization
  • Population-Resource Issues
  • The Transfer of Resources
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Human Migration & Refugee Relief
  • War and Political Violence
  • Health, Illness, and Health Services
  • Food Security & Self-Sufficiency
  • Human Rights & Environmental Justice
  • Political Stability & Democratization
  • Survival of Indigenous Societies
  • Conflicts between Modernity & Tradition
  • Inequalities of Wealth & Power at all Levels
  • Relationships between Development & Underdevelopment
  • Cultural Identity and Cultural Production
  • Gender Disparities in the Developing World

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