The graduate minor in Development Studies and Social Change consists of a total of 12 credits at the doctoral level or 8 credits at the master's level.

The doctoral minor requires a sequence of four core seminars for 9 credits total (8310 is taken twice): 

  • DSSC 8111
  • DSSC 8112
  • DSSC 8211
  • DSSC 8310

The master's level minor requires a sequence of three core seminars for a total of 5 credits: 

  • DSSC 8111
  • DSSC 8112
  • DSSC 8310

All students also take one or two electives (minimum 3 credits total) chosen from an approved list of courses from across the Graduate School curriculum that are relevant to the field of development studies and social change (see list below). All DSSC courses are offered on an S/N grade basis. Coursework from the major program cannot be applied to this requirement. 

Core Curriculum for Master's and Ph.D. Level Minor

2022–23 schedule of courses 

2023–24 schedule of courses 


DSSC 8111

Approaches to Knowledge and Truth: Defining Ways of Knowing in Development Studies and Social Change (3 credits)

This seminar, usually taken in the first semester, introduces students to the challenges and advantages of cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in international and crosscultural contexts. In discussing various "ways of knowing," emphasis is placed on concrete issues and methodological challenges facing interdisciplinary international studies to assist in preparing the ground for students’ subsequent research on social change in global and local contexts. This course is offered in a colloquium format providing students with opportunities to interact with a range of DSSC faculty members. (Download past syllabus)

DSSC 8112

Scholarship and Public Responsibility (1 credit)

This seminar, usually taken in the second semester, addresses the responsibility of public engagement in academic work. Students will explore the common pursuits, the asymmetries of location and capabilities, and the transformative potential of dialogue and collaborative work between the University and the various local, national, and transnational communities that it is committed to serving. In this seminar students will examine a range of themes relevant to public engagement, such as diverse practices of reading, writing, and pedagogy, the privileged locations of knowledge, languages, strategies, and tactics of civil society organizing, and the politics of collaborative work, in order to understand how to traverse and potentially transform the distinctions frequently drawn between academic and non-academic knowledge. Through meetings with guest speakers invited by the course instructors, students will have the opportunity to meet with individuals, organizations, and groups who are already participating in various political activities, social movements, art projects, and civil society organizing. They will also develop individual and collective projects that will reflect their understanding of their public responsibility in academic learning and knowledge production. (Download past syllabus)

DSSC 8211 (for doctoral level only) 

Doctoral Research Workshop in Development Studies and Social Change (3 credits*)

Students take this seminar the year prior to initiating dissertation research, which is typically in their third year. The course has two primary objectives. First, students receive guidance and feedback on writing grant proposals and developing dissertation topics in an interdisciplinary setting. Second, this seminar returns to the epistemological and methodological issues of interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning that were introduced in DSSC 8111 and 8112, to maintain them in focus while students conceptualize and articulate their dissertation topics. This is accomplished in part through specific skillbuilding sessions focused on research methods and ethics, and also through reading and discussion on interdisciplinary research. (Download past syllabus

*As of Fall 2018, this course, previously offered as 2 courses taken simultaneously (DSSC 8211 for 2 credits and DSSC 8212 for 1 credit), have merged into DSSC 8211 for 3 credits. 

DSSC 8310

Topics in Development Studies and Social Change (3 seven week courses offered each year at 1 credit each; students choose two of the three courses for a total of 2 credits). *Some Topics courses may hold variable credit loads, this will be designated on each academic year's schedule of courses

These seminars, generally taken during the second year, will focus on various specific topical issues in development studies and social change, such as environmental change, constructions of race and gender, social movements, urbanization, poverty, violence, humanitarianism, sustainable livelihoods, and transnational activism. The short-course format allows for more specific focus of topics while simultaneously increasing the range of topical foci available to students. One of the three seminars offered during the year will be jointly coordinated with faculty from the University of Western Cape (UWC; South Africa), and will involve DSSC students as well as students from UWC. UWC and ICGC have a reciprocal partnership funded by the Mellon Foundation that includes a course to be simultaneously taught at each institution with a collaborative component to develop deeper awareness of cross-cultural perspectives on the topic. Interactive television (ITV) and small proportion of web-based learning components, such as discussion forums for a deeper inquiry of course readings, will enable students to learn from one another as well as from their instructors. (Download past course syllabus)

Supplementary Courses

In addition to core courses, each student must fulfill the remaining course requirements by taking at one or two elective courses (for a minimum of 3 credits) from outside their own department or program. The University of Minnesota faculty includes a number of nationally recognized contributors to research on international development and social change. Faculty members and graduate students from several different programs maintain ongoing research in this field of study, and courses relevant to the minor can be found in departments and programs across the entire Graduate School. The following list suggests supplementary courses chosen from a central listing in the Graduate School course database of graduate-level courses in development studies and social change. Please check current course listings as changes occur frequently. Students will be encouraged to do elective coursework outside of the broad area (social sciences, humanities, or biological sciences) in which they do their major work. This list is intended only as a guide—other graduate courses may qualify as electives for the DSSC minor upon approval by the minor program DGS. The program for an individual student will be developed in consultation among the student, the major adviser, and the Director or Associate Director of Graduate Studies in Development Studies and Social Change.

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Afro-American Studies (AFRO)

5101 Seminar: Introduction to Africa and the African Diaspora
5103 World History and Africa
5120 Social and Intellectual Movements in the African Diaspora
5191 Seminar: The African American Experience in South Africa
5437 History of East Africa
5478 Contemporary Politics in Africa and the Colonial Legacy
5876 Proseminar: Approaches to African Development
5910 Topics in African American and African Studies
8202 Seminar: Intellectual History of Race
8554 Seminar: Gender, Race, Nation and Policy – Perspectives from within the African Diaspora
8802 Seminar: Orientalism
8910 Topics in Studies of Africa and the African Diaspora

American Indian Studies (AMIN)

5109 Anishinaabe Literature
5409 American Indian Women: Ethnographic and Ethnohistorical Perspectives
5890 Problems in American Indian History

American Studies (AMST)

8239 Gender, Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in the United States: Readings
8240 Gender, Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Sexuality in the United States: Topical Development


5033 Feminist Anthropology
5041 Ecological Anthropology
8001 Ethnography, Theory, History
8002 Ethnography: Contemporary Theory and Practice
8120 Problems in Culture Change and Applied Anthropology
8203 Research Methods in Social and Cultural Anthropology
8205 Economic Anthropology
8207 Political and Social Anthropology
8213 Ecological Anthropology
8215 Anthropology of Gender

Apparel Studies

8267 Dress and Culture

Applied Economics (APEC)

5321 Regional Economic Analysis
5511 Labor Economics
5611 Economic Aspects of Environmental Management
5651 Economics of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
5731 Economic Growth and International Development
5751 Global Trade and Policy
8601 Natural Resource Economics
8602 Economics of the Environment
8701 International Economic Development, Growth, and Trade
8702 Economic and Trade Policy: Sectoral and Institutional Issues

Chicano Studies (CHIC)

5920 Topics in Chicana(o) Studies

Communication Studies (COMM)

8211 Critical Communication Studies: History, Theory, Method
8451 Seminar: Intercultural and Diversity Research

Comparative Literature (CL)

5910 Topics in Comparative Literature
8001 Basic Seminar in Comparative Literature I
8002 Basic Seminar in Comparative Literature II
8362 Modernity and Its Others
8910 Advanced Topics in Comparative Literature
8920 Advanced Topics in Comparative Literature

Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society (CSDS)

5910 Topics in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society
8001 Basic Seminar: Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society I
8002 Basic Seminar in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society II
8910 Advanced Topics in Comparative Studies of Discourse and Society
8920 Advanced Topics in Comparative Studies of Discourse and Society

Conservation Biology (CBIO)

8004 Economic and Social Aspects of Conservation Biology
8095 Contemporary Problems in Conservation Biology

Curriculum and Instruction (CI)

5137 Multicultural Gender-Fair Curriculum
5138 Multicultural and Moral Perspectives on Classroom Instruction
5747 Global and Environmental Education: Content and Practice

Design (DES)

5165 Design and Globalization
8166 Material Culture and Design

Economics (ECON)

8311 Economic Growth and Development
8312 Economic Growth and Development
8313 Economic Growth and Development
8381 Advanced Topics in Economic Development
8391 Workshop in Economic Growth and Development
8401 International Trade and Payments Theory
8402 International Trade and Payments Theory
8403 International Trade and Payments Theory
8404 International Trade and Payments Theory
8481 Advanced Topics in International Trade
8482 Advanced Topics in International Trade
8491 Workshop in Trade and Development
8492 Workshop in Trade and Development

English Literature (ENGL)

5300 Readings in American Minority Literature
5400 Readings in Post-Colonial Literature
5510 Readings in Criticism and Theory
8190 Seminar in 20th-Century Anglophone Literatures and Cultures
8400 Seminar in Post-Colonial Literature, Culture, and Theory
8510 Studies in Criticism and Theory
8520 Seminar: Cultural Theory and Practice
8530 Seminar in Feminist Criticism

Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management (ESPM)

5061 Water Quality and Natural Resources
5101 Conservation of Plant Biodiversity
5241 Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
5251 Natural Resources in Sustainable International Development
5261 Economics and Natural Resources Management
5703 Agroforestry in Watershed Management

Fisheries and Wildlife (FW)

5003 Human Dimensions of Biological Conservation
8452 Conservation Biology

French (FREN)

5470 Post/Colonial Francophone Literatures

Forest Resources (FR)

5146 Science and Policy of Global Environmental Change

Geography (GEOG)

5385 Globalization and Development: Political Economy
5565 Geographical Analysis of Human - Environment Systems
8005 Proseminar: Population Geography
8007 Proseminar: Theories of Development and Change
8101 Proseminar: Nature and Society
8212 Africa
8213 East Asia and China
8214 South Asia
8220 Agrarian Change and Rural Development
8240 Medical Geography
8336 Development Theory and State

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS)

5101 Feminist Approaches to Ethnography
5102 Feminist Approaches to History
5103 Feminist Pedagogies
5104 Transnational Feminist Theory
5105 Gendered Rhetoric of Science and Technology
5107 Gender, Culture, and Science
5201 Global Processes and the Politics of Sexuality
5290 Topics: Biology, Health and Environmental Studies
5390 Topics: Visual, Cultural, and Literary Studies
5404 Working Class Women's Cultures
5405 Chicanas: Women and Work
5490 Topics: Political Economy and Global Studies
5590 Topics: Social Change, Activism, Law, and Policy Studies
8101 Intellectual History of Feminism
8102 Advanced Studies in Sexuality
8103 Feminist Theories of Knowledge
8108 Genealogies of Feminist Theory
8109 Feminist Knowledge Production
8190 Topics: Feminist Theory and Praxis
8201 Feminist Theory and Methods in the Social Sciences
8301 Feminist Literary Criticism
8390 Seminar: Cultural Criticism and Media Studies
8490 Seminar: Transnational, Postcolonial, Diaspora

Global Studies (GLOS)

5602 Other Worlds: Globality and Culture
5900 Topics in Global Studies
5910 Topics in East Asian Studies
5930 Topics in Latin American Studies
5940 Topics in Middle Eastern Studies
5960 Topics in South Asian Studies

History (HIST)

5251 Socialist/Post-socialist Transformations
5421 Gender in Latin American History
5436 Social History of African Women: 1850 to the Present
5437 History of East Africa
5439 Environment and Society in Africa
5446 Problems in West African History
5464 China in the Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties
5465 China in the Ming and Qing Dynasties
5467 State and Revolution in Modern China
5468 Social Change in Modern China
5474 Sex and the Politics of Desire: Japan and Beyond
5479 History of Chinese Cities and Urban Life
5505 Survey of the Middle East
5520 Topics in Chinese History
5541 Islam in the Catholic Age
5547 Empire and Modernity in the Middle East 1600-1923
5631 Proseminar: Comparative Early Modern History
5632 World History Proseminar
5633 Socio-Economic History of China
5646 U.S. Women's Legal History
5877 Asian American History
5881 American Foreign Relations to 1895
5890 Problems in American Indian History
5901 Latin America Proseminar: Colonial
5902 Latin America Proseminar: Modern
5920 Topics in African History
5931 Topics in Comparative Third World History
5932 The Production of Knowledge, Negotiating the Past, and the Writing of African Histories
5934 Comparative History and Social Theory
5940 Topics in Asian History
5950 Topics in Latin American History
5962 Expansion of Europe
5964 Comparative Economic History
5980 Topics in Comparative Women's History
5990 Readings in Comparative History
8239 Readings in Gender, Race, Class, and/or Ethnicity in the United States
8240 Topics in Research in Gender, Race, Class or Ethnicity in the United States
8245 Human Rights and Crimes Against Humanity: A Global History
8390 Research in American Indian History
8464 Research in Yuan, Ming, and Qing History
8465 Research in Yuan, Ming, and Qing History
8630 Seminar in World History
8709 Seminar: History of Sexuality
8920 Topics in African History
8940 Topics in Asian History
8944 Research Seminar: New Directions in African Social History I
8945 Research Seminar: New Directions in African Social History II
8950 Topics in Latin American History
8990 Topics in Comparative History-Research

History of Science and Technology (HSCI)

5244 History of Ecology and Environmentalism
5331 Technology and American Culture
5332 Science and American Culture
8441 Women in Science: Historical Perspectives
8940 Seminar: History of Science and Technology in the Americas
8950 Seminar: Science and Technology in Cultural Settings

Housing Studies (HSG)

8463 Housing: Race and Class

Human Resources and Industrial Relations (HRIR)

5025 Comparative and International Human Resources and Industrial Relations
8023 International Human Resource Management
8072 Labor Movements in a Changing World

Journalism and Mass Communication (JOUR)

8513 Seminar: Ethnographic Methods in Mass Communication Research
8681 Seminar: Media and Globalization
8721 Seminar: Communication Agencies as Social Institutions
8801 Seminar: Comparative Research in Mass Communication, a Cross-National Approach

Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC)

5601 Persian Fiction in Translation

Music (MUS)

5804 Folk and Traditional Musics: Selected Cultures of the World
8864 Current Issues in Ethnomusicology

Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD)

5102 Knowledge Constructions and Applications: International Development Contexts
5103 Comparative Education
5104 Strategies for International Development of Education Systems
5121 Educational Reform in International Context
5124 Critical Issues in International Education and Educational Exchange
5128 Anthropology of Education
5132 Intercultural Education and Training: Theory and Application
8121 Doctoral Seminar: Comparative and International Development Education

Philosophy (PHIL)

8600 Workshop in the Philosophy of Science
8660 Seminar: Social and Cultural Studies of Science
8670 Seminar: Philosophy of Science

Political Science (POL)

5253 Modernity and its Discontents: Late Modern Political Thought
5275 Contemporary Political Thought
5410 Topics in Comparative Politics
5473 Chinese Politics
5477 Struggles and Issues in the Middle East.
5478 Contemporary Politics in Africa and the Colonial Legacy
5479 Latin American Politics
5485 Human Rights and Democracy in the World
5525 Federal Indian Policy
5833 The United States in the Global Economy US for Econ Policy
5883 Global Governance
5885 International Conflict and Security
5887 Thinking Strategically in International Politics
5889 Governments and Global Trade and Money
8235 Democratic Theory
8275 Contemporary Political Thought
8401 International Relations
8402 International Security
8403 International Norms and Institutions
8404 International Hierarchy
8405 International Political Economy
8406 Politics of International Finance
8407 Morality in World Politics
8408 International Relations of the Environment
8411 Political Psychology and Foreign Policy
8412 American Foreign Policy
8460 Topics in International Relations
8601 Introduction to Comparative Politics
8605 Government and Politics in Africa
8608 Government and Politics of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States
8611 Chinese Politics
8619 Latin American Politics
8633 Comparative Sociopolitical Change
8637 Comparative Political Economy
8641 Comparative Mass Political Behavior
8643 Comparative Political Institutions
8660 Topics in Comparative Politics

Portuguese (PORT)

5530 Brazilian Literary and Cultural Studies
5540 Literatures and Cultures of Lusophone Africa
5910 Topics in Lusophone Cultures and Literatures

Public Affairs (PA)

5301 Population Methods and Issues for the United States and Global South
5421 Racial Inequality and Public Policy
5451 Immigrant Health Issues
5480 Topics in Race, Ethnicity, and Public Policy
5501 Theories and Policies of Development
5511 Community Economic Development
5521 Development Planning and Policy Analysis
5522 International Development Policy, Families, and Health
5590 Topics in Economic and Community Development
5601 Global Survey and Gender of Public Policy
5690 Topics in Women and Public Policy
5701 Science and State
5711 Science and Technology Policy
5721 Energy and Environmental Policy
5722 Environmental and Resource Economics Policy
5801 Global Public Policy
5890 Topics in Foreign Policy and International Affairs
5952 Global Commons Seminar II
8686 Feminist Organizations
8690 Advanced Topics in Women and Public Policy
8811 Strategic Issues in International Economic Policy
8821 National Security Policy
8890 Advanced Topics In Foreign Policy and International Affairs

Public Health (PUBH)

6055 Social Inequalities in Health
6131 Working in Global Health
6281 Immigrant Health Issues

Sociology (SOC)

8211 Race Relations Theory
8221 Sociology of Gender
8290 Topics in Social Stratification
8311 Political Sociology
8701 Sociological Theory
8790 Advanced Topics in Sociological Theory

Spanish (SPAN)

5526 Colonial Discourse in Spanish American Writing
5528 Latin American Cultural Integration in the Neocolonial Order.
5529 The Impact of Globalization in Latin American Discourses
5531 Hispanic Literature of the United States
5985 Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Spanish in the United States
8960 Workshop: Research in Hispanic Cultural Issues
8990 Advanced Comparative Research of Caribbean Genres

Spanish-Portuguese (SPPT)

5930 Selected Topics in Hispanic and Lusophone Cultural Discourse

Studies in Cinema and Media Culture (SCMC)

5001 Critical Debates in the Study of Cinema and Media Culture

Studies of Science and Technology (SST)

8400 Seminar: Science, Technology, and Society
8420 Seminar: Social and Cultural Studies of Science

Sustainable Agriculture (SAGR)

8010 Colloquium in Sustainable Agriculture
8020 Field Experience in Sustainable Agriculture

Theatre Arts (TH)

5117 Performance and Social Change

Urban Studies (URBS)

5101 The City and the Metropolis: An Exploration