U.S. College Programs that Fight Global Poverty


As global attention remains fixed on the plight of individuals in developing countries, young people across the United States have joined the fight against global poverty. The academic landscape has changed drastically in the past decade with the introduction of programs aimed at resolving issues faced by impoverished nations. Here are a few college programs committed to making a difference.

1. Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty

The unique program maintains relationships with numerous colleges and universities across the nation. Its purpose is to shift academic poverty to global poverty through internships. Internships may focus on many of the effects of poverty such as education, healthcare, housing, food shortages and legal issues. The Consortium currently maintains relationships with nearly 20 colleges including Centre College, Berea College, Furman University and the University of Notre Dame.

2. Social Entrepreneurship for Poverty Alleviation (SEPA) program at Austin College

The SEPA program focuses on the everyday resources necessary to combat global poverty. Participants in the program obtain real world skills in areas such as finances, grant writing and community development through internships with local nonprofit organizations. Students minoring in the college’s Nonprofit Organizations and Public Service program are also introduced to a number of social issues faced by developing countries as well. Typical coursework includes lectures concerning race relations, immigration, ethics, public speaking, leadership, psychology and human rights.

3. Master in Development Practice at the University of Arizona

The Master of Development Practice degree is one of many degree programs designed by colleges for those wishing to work in underprivileged areas around the world. Launched in fall 2012, the program gives students the skills necessary to work in developing countries through the study of multiple disciplines including nutrition, natural resources, social systems and sustainable development practices.

4. Master of Development Practice in International Development at the University of Minnesota

The program is marked by interdisciplinary classes in the fields of sustainability, natural sciences, education and healthcare. It is ideal for individuals interested in public service and a desire to help impoverished people around the globe. Many choose career paths in non-governmental organizations and companies in the private sector that address social issues in impoverished countries.

5. School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University

Technically, SIPA is not an academic program but rather a subsection of the university. However, the school offers an array of programs that foster the skills necessary to combat poverty. Programs include Master degrees in international affairs, public administration, economic policy management, environmental science, and development practice as well as a doctorate in sustainable development. The MPA in Development Practice program is similar to others of its kind in that its primary focus is developing institutions. Successful applicants of the program may have up to a decade of field experience in developing countries.

For those interested in using their education to join the fight against poverty, the resources are endless. In addition to the programs listed above, degrees in development may be found in universities across the country including Emory University, the University of Florida, the University of New Hampshire and many more.

– Jasmine D. Smith

Sources: Centre CollegeAustin CollegeUniversity of ArizonaColumbia UniversityUniversity of Minnesota
Photo: Sheperd Consortium


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