How do I Earn an International Development PhD?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Earning an international development PhD is compromised of two basic steps. The first step is fulfilling all requirements and getting into a college program that offers this doctorate or another major with emphasis in this area. Secondly, accepted students then fulfill all requirements of the doctoral program before they can graduate.

When determining the most attractive schools, students may find that not all international PhD programs are consistently named the same. They may come under other headings like development, economic development, or international relations. As a school is chosen, it isn’t necessarily an issue if students don’t earn an international development PhD. It’s acceptable to choose a school with a degree that is differently titled, provided it is equivalent in its emphases.

Applicants to an international development PhD program, or equivalent programs, often first investigate what majors are acceptable for admission. This depends on the doctoral program in question. Students may have completed a bachelor’s degree in international development or in other fields that bear some relationship to it. These include fields like public planning, economics, and possibly even anthropology or sociology. Studies at the bachelor’s level should show some focus on international development, and many schools also require aptitude in mathematical areas like calculus and statistics.

A few schools prefer students with work experience in the field or may be more likely to accept those who have completed a master’s degree. There are many schools that don’t require either of these and rely instead on transcripts, appropriate major, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and standardized testing to admit new students. Specific grade point average (GPA) is usually at least a 3.0, and many schools ask for better grades. Universities may also want to see strong scores on standardized tests like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and they depend on glowing letters of recommendation. Applicants who want to be competitive must compose an excellent statement of purpose to stand a chance of admission.

Once an applicant has gained admission to an international development PhD program, work begins. Studies consist of two separate elements, which begin with two to three years of required and elective coursework. Required courses give all students the same training to work in the field, and electives are a way of broadening knowledge, while simultaneously narrowing focus and areas of concentration. Some schools have comprehensive examinations at the end of two to three years, and some offer a master’s degree to students who successfully pass exams and leave the school at this point.

Those students who remain begin the second phase of PhD studies, which is to compose a dissertation representing original research on an approved topic. Faculty advisors can help students work on choosing a topic, and they continue to advise during production of this lengthy work. When finished, the work is presented to a dissertation committee and must be publicly defended by the student. Provided the dissertation is accepted, the student has earned an international development PhD or another degree that opens work opportunities in this field.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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