Development and global challenges

Engage with questions of global proportions and local significance

Issues in the global world

The Minor Development and Global Challenges explores a number of burning issues in the global world, such as environment and sustainability, poverty and unequal economic growth, diversity and inequality, urbanization and the global political economy. The minor addresses the policy level and local responses to contemporary global challenges through an understanding of “development” as a field that not only pertains to the Global South but also to the so-called developed countries. The minor critically assesses both earlier conceptualizations and approaches of development and discusses their successes and failures.

Skills for the job market

This minor thoroughly informs you about the linkages between global processes and developmental issues thereby enabling you to see the ‘big picture’. This is a valuable asset in policy-making and consultancy work in the professional development sector. 

This minor prepares students for work in the interdisciplinary field of development.

The minor consists of 5 courses that are worth 6 EC each. All courses are taught in English. Below, you find an overview of the courses, with a short description. To get more extensive information about the courses, please consult the study guide. 

Development and Globalization 
The aim of this course is to get introduced to development sociology and more in particular to gain insight into issues of poverty, global inequality and development. Students will develop an anthropological perspective on developmental issues in the Global South.

Environment and Development 
This course aims to help the student to examine and critically reflect on the relationships between economic and social development, and the environment.
Identity, Diversity and Inclusion
A course which focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion in an increasingly globalizing world.

Global Political Economy
The aim of the course is to acquire knowledge of and insight into the contemporary global political economy, in particular how the contradictory process of globalization reshapes the relationship between states and markets. Also, students will be introduced into concepts and theories within  International Political Economy and their application to issues in contemporary global political economy.
Urban studies

An inquiry into the way cities are developed along the twin goals of social and ecological sustainability. Students will carry out a short ethnographic research project on urban development. This course consists of two parts: (1) During period 1 and 2, this course will consist of working group meetings that are held to prepare for the second part (2) During period 3, the course will consist of a full-time research project.

For specific information about each course, please visit our study guide.

The development sector is interdisciplinary and thus requires familiarity with a broad range of disciplines. This minor offers a course on development from an interdisciplinary viewpoint thereby enabling students to engage with various disciplines in developmental issues.


  • To enter this minor, you must have earned 90 credits, including 60 of the first year.
  • All VU-students can enter this (university)minor. You do not need permission of the examination board.
  • Wo-bachelor students of another university can enter this minor, depending on whether their own university grants permission.
  • This minor consists of 30 EC. 
  • Hbo-bachelor students can attend courses of the minor as electives.
  • The minor is taught in English and available for exchange students.

Please see the application procedure for more details.

If you have detailed questions about the contents of the programme, please contact the minor program director:

Boris Slijper
T 31 20 5984412

If you have any questions about the application procedure, please contact the Studentdesk:

T 31 20 5985020 (Monday – Friday: 10.30 – 12.30 and 14.00 – 17.00)

Quirine Lengkeek

3rd year sociology student

“As a volunteer for different social organizations, what I found insightful is the theory behind the practical side of development.”

Samenvatting Development and Global Challenges




1 semester (30 EC)


1 September


Economie, Recht en Bestuur
Gedrag en Maatschappij


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