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Learn international development with online courses and programs

Begin a career tackling global challenges related to human rights, poverty, hunger, and more. Learn about international development with online courses delivered through edX.

What is international development?

International development refers to the process of promoting and supporting socio-economic progress, growth, and wellbeing in developing countries. It encompasses a range of efforts aimed at improving the living conditions, health, education, infrastructure, and overall quality of life for the people in these countries. 

International development initiatives may involve foreign aid, investment, capacity building, and policy reforms. The ultimate goal is to reduce poverty, inequality, and social disparities, while fostering sustainable development and empowering local communities to thrive. Development organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international institutions collaborate to address challenges such as hunger, disease, lack of education, and inadequate infrastructure. Through these collective efforts, international development aims to create a more equitable and prosperous global society.

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International development course curriculum

International development encompasses a broad range of topics for learners to study. Your learning path may be dictated by the specific field you choose to focus on. An international development class on human rights, for example, may explore how different approaches to humanitarian assistance can come into conflict with local laws related to gender equality. Meanwhile, a course on nutrition and sustainability may examine different regulations influencing production, trade, and other aspects of agriculture. 

Still, there are many different skills that people working in international development in any sector can be expected to have, such as cross-cultural communication, adaptability, and problem-solving abilities. It can be beneficial to possess project management, research, and analytical skills to design and implement effective development programs. Other vital skills include community engagement, negotiation, and a strong understanding of global issues, as well as empathy and a commitment to working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to promote inclusive development.

If you are interested in studying this topic as well as other related topics, explore the variety of educational opportunities made available through edX. Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals. Find the right course to propel your professional development forward.

International development jobs

Jobs in international development encompass a wide range of roles and responsibilities aimed at addressing global challenges. These roles can be found in various organizations, including governmental agencies, NGOs, international development agencies, and multilateral institutions like the United Nations. Some of the key positions in this field include:

  • Project manager: Oversees development projects, from conception to implementation, ensuring they meet goals, budgets, and timelines. They coordinate with stakeholders, manage resources, and evaluate project outcomes.

  • Program coordinator: Supports the planning and execution of development programs. They manage logistics, monitor progress, and facilitate communication among team members and partners.

  • Monitoring and evaluation specialist: Designs and implements monitoring and evaluation frameworks to assess project impact, effectiveness, and sustainability. They collect data, analyze results, and provide feedback for project improvement.

  • Community development officer: Engages with local communities to identify needs, assess resources, and develop community-led initiatives for sustainable development.

  • Grant writer/fundraiser: Secures funding for development projects by writing grant proposals, organizing fundraising events, and building relationships with donors and funding agencies.

  • Policy analyst/advocate: Researches and analyzes policies to influence governments, international organizations, and NGOs in making informed decisions to promote development and social justice.

If you are hoping to pursue a career that offers a unique opportunity to contribute to global progress, address inequality, and make a positive impact on the lives of people in need around the world, consider the field of international development. Start building the skills you need to make a difference with edX.

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