Global Development Studies

Program offered
  • Global Development Studies (major)

Global Development Studies is an interdisciplinary, pre-professional program that combines liberal arts classes in global issues with applied learning from courses in business, health sciences, economics and a required internship supervised by an SPU faculty advisor. You will understand challenges for society and the means to resolve them at both the local and global levels from a Christian perspective.

As a Global Development Studies major you will:

  • Develop applied skills in writing, research, analysis, program management, and statistics.
  • Understand the relationship of the Gospels to global development.
  • Grow in understanding cultures different from your own.
  • Sharpen your knowledge of current events, as well as political and economic forces that affect human well being.
  • Work with a team of students to construct a business plan for a social venture project.

Global Development Studies graduates have gone on to positions with nonprofit organizations, foundations, churches, government, and mission work overseas. 

Find out more about this program’s mission, vision, and learning outcomes.

Global Development Studies (BA)


The Global Development Studies major prepares you for vocations in global development through applied skills training and direct, cross-cultural experiences.

  • A minimum 75 credits are required for this major, including 42 upper-division credits.
  • This major requires that you complete an internship appropriate to nonprofit or social-venture work.
  • Study abroad can, with advisor approval, satisfy the cross-cultural category, as long as at least two disciplines in the category are represented.

Additional competencies and requirements

Spreadsheet competency requirement

Demonstration of spreadsheet competency, explained in detail on the website of the School of  Business, Government, and Economics, is required of all students graduating with this major. You can document this by passing BUS 1700 or by scoring at least 60 percent on the basic Microsoft Office Specialist exam for Microsoft Excel 2013, 2016, or later. 

New majors dessert attendance

Newly admitted students of majors in Business; Accounting; Economics; Global Development; and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics are required to attend an orientation event typically held in February each year. Admission to the major is conditional upon attendance.

Global Development Studies admission data

Admission to the Global Development Studies major is selective and based upon prior academic performance. Recent admission data is depicted below.

Academic Year 2019-20
2020-21 2021-22
Average GPA of Admitted Students 3.4 3.4 3.6
Lowest GPA of Admitted Students 2.9 2.9 3.2
Number of Applicants 12 6 4
Number Admitted 12 6 4

Entering and completing the major

Effective Autumn 2022, the Global Development Studies program is an open major. Please contact your faculty advisor or academic counselor for more information. (See errors and omissions page.)

Formal application and admission to the Global Development Studies major is required prior to enrollment in many upper-division courses.  

To meet the minimum requirements for admission, you must:

  • Complete at least 10 credits in the Global Development Major (5 credits for transfer juniors and seniors).
  • Have at least a 2.50 cumulative GPA and 2.50 major GPA at SPU. Attainment of the minimum GPA standards does not guarantee admission as the total number of students admitted is limited by capacity.
  • Submit an online Major application December 20–January 20. SBGE does not accept major applications outside this window.
  • The University requires a grade of C- or better in all classes that apply to a major or minor; however, programs may require higher minimum grades in specific courses. You may repeat an SPU course only once for a higher grade.
  • To advance in this program, meet with your faculty advisor regularly to discuss your grades, course progression, and other indicators of satisfactory academic progress. If your grades or other factors indicate that you may not be able to successfully complete the major, your faculty advisor can work with you to explore options, which may include choosing a different major.
  • You must complete the major requirements in effect in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog for the year of admittance to the major.