One of the strengths of the Global Human Development Program is the access to graduate-level courses across a wide range of colleges disciplines within Georgetown University. We provide the opportunity for students to use some of their elective courses to acquire a specialization while pursuing their degree, which requires the completion of 9 credits on a focused topic such as Global Health or Education and Human Capital.

The most popular specializations are listed below. There are also a variety of course offerings related to gender, humanitarian assistance, conflict, science and technology, and regional studies.

Global Health

The last several decades have witnessed tremendous progress in basic human health globally. With a few exceptions, life expectancy is rising, infant and child mortality is falling, and a growing number of communicable diseases are now being controlled, if not eliminated. At the same time, in virtually every country in the world, there are pockets of poor health that have remained out of reach of national programs. Further, there are a host of new health challenges, including the chronic diseases of aging populations, drug resistance, mal-distribution of health personnel globally and uncontrolled health care costs.

The concentration in Global Health is designed to give students a broad understanding of the determinants and global distribution of health by drawing upon both medicine and social science, including demography, economics, epidemiology, politics and sociology. Students will gain a basic understanding of the pathology of major diseases, and how these diseases are prevented, diagnosed and treated. They will also gain an understanding of cost-effectiveness analysis and cost-benefit approaches to health services; individual, cultural and behavioral considerations in the use of health services; the global labor market for health personnel; and an appreciation of the burden of disease and distribution of health services among distinct populations.

Sample Courses:

  • GHDP-622 Field Operations for Humanitarian Assistance
  • GHDP-634 Global Health Policy (taught by Sharon Stash)
  • GHDP-756 Feast or Famine (taught by Sarah Lowder)
  • GLOH-614 Changing Global Demographic and Economic Patterns
  • GLOH-650 Combating Non-Communicable Diseases in Developing Countries: Challenges and Strategies
  • GLOH-706 International Health Partnerships and Disease Control
  • MICB-705 Science Diplomacy and World Health
  • PPOL-638 International Health
  • STIA-341 Global Health Politics & Policy
  • STIA-354 War, Trauma, and Recovery
  • STIA-363 Global Health and the SDGs
  • STIA-394 Global Health Diplomacy

Education and Human Capital

The explosive growth of the youth segment of the world’s population has only increased the importance of having a robust national education system that can offer equitable and affordable educational opportunity for all youth. While the vast majority of the world’s children are now enroll in school, 93 million, the majority of whom are girls, and almost 80 per cent of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are not in school. Only 60 percent of children enroll in secondary school and over half of those drop out before completion. The reach and quality of educational opportunities (public, private and informal) have a direct impact on fertility patterns, the education of the next generation, employment prospects and pressures to migrate, and more, making education one of the most critical areas for development policies and programming.

This concentration will give students a deep understanding of the current status and likely future trends in education systems (from early childhood through universities) in poor and middle income countries. Students will explore the burgeoning literature on the impact of policies and programs on changes in access to schooling, relevance and quality of schooling and student achievement. It will build understanding of the complex challenges facing countries seeking to allocate sufficient human and financial resources to meet the demands of parents and youth. Students will become familiar with and develop expertise in different components of the educational system (policy, curriculum, teacher training and evaluation) as well as the broader role of education in current innovations in communications and social media as well as the rapidly changing job market. Students in this concentration will be prepared to design, manage and evaluate education programs as well as design, advocate and critique a range of education policies.

Sample Courses:

  • GHDP-616 Education and Human Development (taught by Eduardo Velez Bustillo)
  • GHDP-644 Vulnerable Children (taught by Gary Newton)
  • GHDP-757 Advanced Education Issues (taught by Harry Patrinos)
  • GOVT-592 Conflict Resolution and Development
  • INAF-648 International Migration and Development
  • INAF-364 Land/Indig Peoples/Conflict
  • INAF-487 Poverty and Inequity: Practice and Ethics in Global Development
  • INAF-648 International Migration and Development
  • INAF-687 Refugee Law and Policy
  • MSFS-582 Identity and Conflict
  • MSFS-587 Impact Analysis
  • MSFS-611 GIS Applications in Development
  • MSFS-688 Human Rights in a Time of Modern War
  • PPOL-647 International Social Development Policy
  • STIA-354 War, Trauma, and Recovery
  • STIA-355 Environment and Migration

Food, Agriculture, and Urban Livelihoods

Notwithstanding the fact that the world is becoming increasingly urban, the majority of the world’s poor still live in rural areas and access to food at a reasonable cost profoundly impacts the lives and opportunities of the poor in low and even middle income countries. Agriculture remains a key driver of economic growth in a large number of developing countries. In addition, addressing food scarcity and famines to minimize the likelihood of recurrence has become an important challenge to development practitioners in the 21st century.

This concentration will give students a deep appreciation of the range of social, economic and political challenges faced by rural communities in developing economies and the opportunities that exist for rural economies to be a stimulus to national economic growth, provide food for the urban population and even lead to exportable food surplus. Beyond growth, improved nutrition and health, education, infrastructure development and non-farm job creation can all leading to better livelihoods. Students will also gain an appreciation of the role that food production, trade and food aid has played in addressing food insecurity, and the new technologies and approaches that offer the promise of mitigating food scarcity in the future. The roles of local and international actors in this process – public, private and non-governmental entities – will also be discussed.

Sample Courses:

  • GHDP-614 Agriculture and Food for Development (taught by Jock Anderson and Derek Byerlee)
  • GHDP-643 Social Protection (taught by Ana-Maria Arriagada and Laura Rawlings)
  • GHDP-753 Food Value Chains (taught by Derek Byerlee)
  • GHDP-759 Political Economy of Agriculture and Environment
  • INAF-311 India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts I
  • INAF-312 India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts II
  • INAF-364 Land, Indigenous Peoples, and Conflict
  • INAF-648 International Migration and Development
  • MSFS-552 Emerging Issues in African Development
  • MSFS-581 Business & Sustainability
  • MSFS-587 Impact Analysis
  • MSFS-613 Comparative Economic Development
  • MSFS-648 Fragile States in Africa
  • STIA-355 Environment and Migration

Environment and Climate

One of the most pressing development challenges of the 21st century is managing and adapting to changes in climate and addressing a range of natural resource constraints – be they water, land, energy or even clean air. While change is inevitable, the pace and direction of our changing environment are profoundly affected by actions and policies pursued over the next 10 to 20 years. Sustainable management of land, forests, and watersheds, for example, often hinges on shared public-private governance with effective institutions, laws, policies and practices in place. Both the environment and civil society benefit when governments and local communities can agree to and enforce their respective rights and responsibilities regarding the use and allocation of forests, fisheries, minerals and other natural resources. Policy and field-level challenges across developing countries abound, however, as demographic pressure and urban/rural dynamics, competing local and global business interests, unclear tenure and property rights, climate change and other factors impact efforts to combine natural resources management (NRM) and governance.

Students working in this area will acquire a deep understanding of the range of environmental challenges the world now faces, and some of the trade-offs that programs and policy-makers must make. They will gain a better understanding of the scientific underpinnings of natural resource management, climate change and climate mitigation strategies, and they will develop a deeper appreciation for strategies that have worked to mitigate environmental challenges and achieved a measure of sustainability.

Sample Courses:

  • ARST-546 Water Politics
  • GHDP-617 Renewable Energy, Sustainability & Development (taught by Griffin Thompson)
  • GHDP-759 Political Economy of Agriculture and Environment
  • GOVT-354 Environmental Politics
  • GOVT-597 Environment and Conflict Resolution
  • HEST-440 Health, Environmental Issues, and Development
  • HSCI-332 Health Impacts of the Environment
  • INAF-294 Environment in Africa
  • INAF-311 India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts I
  • INAF-312 India Innovation Studio: Designing for Droughts II
  • LASP-417 Sustainable Development in Latin America
  • LASP-427 Gender and Environment: Latin America
  • LASP-511 Sustainable Development Trends: Central America and the Caribbean
  • MARK-609 Climate Change
  • MSFS-549 Petroleum in the Global Economy
  • MSFS-611 GIS Applications in Development
  • PPOL-541 Sustainable Development
  • PPOL-613 Environmental and Climate Change Economics
  • PPOL-636 Energy, Society & Politics in Developing Countries
  • PPOL-687 Nuclear Power, Climate Change, Clean Power
  • PPOL-711 Sustainable Development
  • STIA-355 Environment and Migration
  • STIA-397 Environmental Sustainability and Business Strategy

Quantitative Analysis

In almost every area of development, there is growing interest in and demand for quantitative analysis: the ability to compile, organize and analyze data and other information to inform the design and execution of development projects, programs, and policies. Decision makers increasingly want to ground their decisions in data, and want to better understand the key trends, relationships, and underlying forces that influence their options and their actions. This kind of analysis is needed across sectors, including education, health, agriculture, social enterprise, poverty, gender studies, and other critical areas of development.

This concentration will help deepen student’s skills in quantitative analysis, building on the core GHD courses in statistics and economics. Students with this concentration will have the opportunity to strengthen their aptitudes and knowledge in statistics, econometrics, evaluation, data analysis, research methods, research design, data modelling, data visualization, and other quantitative skills and methods; deepen their appreciation for the appropriate approaches and quantitative techniques needed to better understanding critical development challenges; and complete the GHD program with a strong set of quantitative skills. To attain this specialization, we recommend that students first take two courses from the list below and then GHDP-625 (Applied Econometrics) in the Spring Semester of their second year.

Sample Courses:

  • GHDP-537 Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • GHDP-625 Applied Econometrics
  • GHDP-748 Advanced Econometrics I
  • GHDP-749 Advanced Econometrics II
  • GHDP-754 Quantitative Field Research Methods
  • MSFS-521 Applied Public Finance
  • MSFS-527 Analytical and Statistical Skills
  • MSFS-533 Quantitative Analysis and Decision Making
  • MSFS-587 Impact Analysis
  • MSFS-613 Comparative Economic Development
  • MSFS-662 Econometrics for Policymakers
  • PPOL-646 Data Visualization for Policy Analysis
  • PPOL-531 Statistical Methods for Development
  • PPOL-532 Regression Methods for Development
  • PPOL-533 Impact Evaluation for Development
  • PPOL-683 Spatial Data Modeling and Public Policy