Watson Institute at Brown University
Development Studies


11 courses + language

CORE (5 courses)

All CORE courses must be taken prior to the senior year. 

Choose TWO:

Fall 2018
AFRI 1060U An Introduction to Africa
POLS 0600/SAST 0700 Introduction to Modern South Asia
POLS 1380 Global Governance
SOC 1620 Globalization and Social Conflict

Spring 2019
ANTH 0110 Anthropology and Global Social Problems: Environment, Development, and Governance
DEVL 1803R Caribbean and Pacific Small States: On the Margins of Development
POLS 1240 Politics, Markets and States in Developing Countries
POLS 1290 The Rise of China
SOC 0150 Economic Development and Social Change

To be taken sophomore year. Students are strongly encouraged to have previously completed SOC 1620, POLS 1240 or ANTH 0110

DEVL 1000 Sophomore Seminar in Development


ECON 0510 Development in the International Community (For students with little to no economics background), OR

ECON 1510 Economic Development (For students with strong economics background or double-concentrating in economics)

Prerequisite: ECON 0110,  or AP Microeconomics 4 and AP Macroeconomics 4, or IB HL Economics 6

Prerequisite: ECON 1110 or 1130; and APMA 1650 or ECON 1620 or 1630.

This course is to be taken in the spring semester of the Junior year and is designed to both introduce students to a variety of research methodologies, as well as help them develop their thesis/capstone project proposals.

DEVL 1500 Methods in Development Research


Students must take two (2) courses that focus on a particular theme or specific region of the developing world. Ideally, students should concentrate on a theme or in a region of the world on which they hope to conduct their capstone project research. 


Students must take three (3) courses from a list of pre-approved electives or by special approval. The elective course list is updated each semester on the Development Studies Program website.


All DS concentrators must pursue the study of a foreign language through the equivalent of three full years of university study. This covers advanced understanding, speaking, reading, and writing capabilities. This level of competence is necessary for students to make effective use of the language in communications required for conducting research in the language or for studying abroad in a country where that language is spoken. Whenever possible, the student’s foreign language should be spoken in the country or region of the developing world where the student has focused his or her coursework (e.g. 2 regional courses), and where he or she plans to conduct thesis/capstone research. (Exceptions made for students conducting research in English-speaking countries, but this does not waive the foreign language requirement.) Students are strongly encouraged to utilize the foreign language in conducting research for their thesis/capstone project or capstone seminar paper.

The language requirement is fulfilled by demonstrating advanced competency in a foreign language. If the language is offered at Brown, competency is demonstrated by achieving 600-level or higher. This can be accomplished by completing coursework through the 600 level or by a placement test. If the language is not offered at Brown, competency must be demonstrated by other means, to be determined at the discretion of the Concentration Advisor.

CAPSTONE (Two Options)

A. Senior Thesis
All students are strongly encouraged to write a senior thesis. Students must secure a primary thesis advisor by the end of the Spring semester  Junior year and seek approval from the DS Concentration Advisor and DEVL 1500 instructor. If a primary thesis advisor has not signed on to the student's project by the end of the spring semester junior year the student will not be permitted to write a thesis.


i. DEVL 1980: Thesis Writing Seminar, offered in the Fall of the Senior Year
ii. DEVL 1990: Independent Study under the Thesis Advisor, to be taken in the Spring of the Senior Year

Consider the thesis as being conducted over three semesters, beginning with DEVL 1500 in the spring junior year.

B. Senior Capstone Seminar
This option is for students who did not receive approval for a thesis or who have chosen not to complete such a project. The senior capstone seminar will require that the student in their senior year write a research paper utilizing one’s thematic or regional expertise and foreign language skills and be about 20-25 pages in length. A capstone course may be a pre-approved WRIT-designated senior seminar, an independent study, or a group independent study (GISP) with the approval of the director of Development Studies.