International Development

Build a better world. We’ll give you the toolkit.

Learn to tackle issues of economic inequality, social injustice, and environmental change. Build capacity to solve problems at the local level. We’ll give you lots of tools to put in your toolkit, including business skills, problem solving, cultural understanding, economic development, social accounting, and more.

Meanwhile, adding some environmental studies, social sciences, and language courses will strengthen your adaptability and thinking skills. You’ll graduate knowing how to design development projects that are ethical, environmentally sustainable, culturally responsible, and scientifically accountable.

Work overseas for eight months

Gain a deeper understanding of global issues and human rights during an eighth-month field placement in Africa, Latin America, or Asia, doing anything from creating an education program at a refugee camp to promoting sustainable buying habits in Vietnam.

Create friendships for life

You’ll be part of a tight-knit community of people committed to creating a better world. You can even room and study with your classmates in the Environment Living-Learning Community.


Carlee, an international development student, holding a dog with her friend.

Carlee spent her eight-month placement as an intern in Nepal where she worked toward developing a women's economic empowerment action plan as well as leadership, gender equality, and social inclusion training programs for dairy producers throughout the district.

RibbonAdd a Global Experience Certificate to your degree

BreifCaseAvailable as a regular program

Graduation CapEarn a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree


International Development admission requirements

Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including

  • Any Grade 12 U English (final grade of 70% is required)

Admission average: Low 80s

We recommend completing the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


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First-year courses

September to December

  • INDEV 100 - Introduction to International Development
  • PLAN 100 - The Evolution of Planning
  • GEOG 101 - Human Geographies: People, Space and Change
  • ECON 101 - Introduction to Microeconomics
  • One elective

January to April

  • INDEV 101 - Issues in International Development
  • ENVS 195 - Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • ECON 102 - Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • Two electives

After first year

About half of your classes will be International Development courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

View the courses required for your degree.

Sample upper-year courses 

INDEV 200 – The Political Economy of Development
INDEV 212 – Problem-solving for Development
INDEV 308 – Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
INDEV 387 – Global Cities in Global Development


book iconAvailable as a major and minor

ClickApply directly to this program on your application

EnvironmentOffered by the Faculty of Environment


Customize your degree

You can add additional areas of expertise to your degree by including one of the minors available to all Waterloo students.

What can you do with a degree in International Development?

Graduates have found careers working for various non-profit organizations both domestic and international, education and research, policy development, and more.

Recent graduates

  • Development Coordinator – Partners in Health Canada
  • Marketing and Communications Officer – MEDA
  • Environmental Advisor Intern – CNCR
  • Project Coordinator – Uponor
  • Local Immigration Partnership Officer – Warden Woods Community Centre
  • Special Projects Coordinator – Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
  • Coordinator, WE Day Retail Operations – We Charity

Further education

While the full range of further education depends on your individual interests, these are common areas our graduates pursue.

  • Political science, public policy, global governance
  • Business and international affairs
  • Development practice, environment and resources studies
  • Global issues, policy, and human rights

For more information on potential careers, check out our page on the future of careers in business.

Ready to learn more?