Photo Credits

Header photo (right):
Credit: Laura Lartigue, Courtesy of Photoshare
Caption: The International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), an USAID-sponsored non-governmental organization is bringing citizens into the political dialogue through a nationwide civil society strengthening program. In this photo, taken in Bokariah village, Guinea, an IFES field agent explains to villagers how their tax money can be used to pay for community projects, like the construction of bridges or schools. Bokariah, Guinea.

Header photo (left):
Credit: © 2007 Sudipto Das, Courtesy of Photoshare
Caption: A farmer and his family members plow the land in a village in West Midnapore, West Bengal, India


The minimum number of total required credits for the Ph.D. program is 51. Up to 12 credits may be transferred from the student's Master's degree provided the committee determines that these credits meet program requirements. Ordinarily courses taken elsewhere may not be used to meet the Development Studies course requirement. Each Program of Study will differ, yet coursework should fit the following guidelines:

  • Interdisciplinary seminar: minimum of 3 credits
  • Major discipline: minimum of 24 credits that include:
    1. 3 credits minimum of theory
    2. 9 credits minimum of methods (must be taken from the department(s) of the major discipline or from course offerings in the Department of Statistics)
    3. 12 credits minimum of other relevant courses in the major discipline (6 must be from Development Studies courses)
  • Secondary discipline: minimum of 9 credits (3 must be from Development Studies courses)
  • Tertiary areas: minimum of 9 credits
  • Dissertation research: minimum of 6 credits

Both the major discipline and the secondary discipline are expected to be in the social sciences. In most instances, students will select from among sociology, economics, geography, anthropology, communication, political science, education, or urban and regional planning as their primary and secondary disciplines. Secondary disciplines may also include areas such as law, history, and public affairs.

At least one development studies course in the discipline of economics and one development studies course in the discipline of sociology must be completed by all students. Courses in the Departments of Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Consumer Science and economics courses in the School of Business fulfill the economics discipline, while courses in the departments of Sociology and Community and Environmental Sociology fulfill the sociology discipline. Development studies courses are social science graduate-level courses in which the majority of course content pertains specifically to international development. The Development Studies Instructional Committee will revise this list annually and make appropriate additions and deletions. All development studies courses must have been taken on an A-F basis at UW-Madison and be passed with a grade of B or higher.

"Topics" courses may be taken as development studies core courses by permission of the student's committee and the Instructional Committee. Some examples of such topics courses are included below. Also, note that this list is highly provisional. In particular, there are likely to be some 400-, 500-, and 600-level courses with largely undergraduate clientele that would not be appropriate for Development Studies graduate students. There are also no doubt a number of courses unknown to us that should be added to the list. At this time we do not see a need to identify development studies core courses for the tertiary areas, or to require that one or more development studies courses be taken in the tertiary areas.

Courses in the tertiary areas may be in a social science discipline, a coherent set of area studies courses, or a coherent set of courses outside of the social sciences. Natural-science tertiary areas/disciplines (e.g., plant science, ecology, tropical agriculture) or interdisciplinary social science areas/disciplines (technology assessment, urban studies) are permitted and encouraged. Tertiary areas/disciplines that do not correspond to current Graduate School programs of study are permitted if they are coherent and well justified.

Language requirements ranging from minimal competency to fluency in a non-native language will vary for each student depending on area of interest. Students are required to have or acquire language competency to complete their dissertation fieldwork

Go to Curriculum page to see suggested courses