5 Free Online Courses in International Development

This introduction to international development gives students an overview of what sustainable development is and explains various aspects of it. Over the course of 14 weeks, students will discuss and be quizzed on the topics of global inequality, the history of economic development, the history of inequality, the Millennium Development Goals, global growth dynamics, human rights and gender equality, education, universal health care, sustainable food supply, sustainable cities, climate change, biodiversity, and finally, the Sustainable Development Goals. This course will help students understand challenges and pathways to economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainability.

This course is taught by economist and author Jeffrey Sachs through Columbia University. Each week’s lecture takes 2 hours. In addition to the 3 introductory reading materials, each week’s lesson includes 5 videos and a quiz. The courses is in English and can be taken with simplified Chinese subtitles. Students must pass all graded assignments to complete the course.

This course aims to teach technical and management principles regarding the planning, implementing, and evaluating of health programs for displaced populations in developing countries, in particular refugee camps. Students will discuss assessment, nutrition, epidemiology of major health programs, surveillance, and program management for relief operations. This program is geared towards health professionals looking to work in international development and development professionals with a background in health. The goal of the program is to equip students to understand the health needs of refugees and displaced people and to develop and implement appropriate programs and responses for these needs.

This course was developed as part of Emory University’s Center for Humanitarian Emergencies, which is a collaboration between CDC’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch and the Rollins School of Public Health. It is taught by Dabney P. Evans and Cyrus Shahpar and is considered an intermediate level course.

This course explores the economic and business side of development, examining trade, investment, and technology and their effects on various aspects of both developed and developing countries. Students will learn about challenges with resources, methods to deal with sweatshops, supply chains, wage inequality as a result of globalization, manufacturing jobs, China as a “superpower,” and the economic status of the United States. At the end of the course, students will develop a plan to resolve the US budget deficit and reform Social Security.

This course is free and is currently listed as an archived course, which means that all material may not be available. Taught by 15 various instructors through GeorgetownX, the commitment for the course is 3.5 to 5 hours a week. When the course is open, students have the option to purchase a verified certificate of completion.

This 6-week course will discuss how poor societies can overcome obstacles and become prosperous. Students will learn about the role of government in development, the need for governments that are centralized and inclusive, social factors necessary for development, the impact of economic processes on development, and external conditions for development. This course is meant to help students understand factors that influence economic development, as well as various development processes for various countries. Each course will teach students what the need to know to complete a final assignment to analyze development challenges.

Offered for free through the University of Oxford, economist and policy expert Sir Paul Collier teaches this course. Students can expect to spend 2 to 3 hours per week on classes and assignments. This is an intermediate level course but does not require any prior experience or knowledge. Students can purchase a verified certificate of completion.

Through this self-paced course, students will take 6 weeks to learn about where their food comes from and how people access food. The course will discuss food access in regards to the history of food manufacturing, social and economic dynamics in households, local level interactions in the markets, and national scale politics and policies. Students will learn basic principles of food access, will understand actors’ choices influencing food access, and will discern dilemmas at various levels to understand the impact on connections to food access.

This free course is taught by a variety of development instructors Wageningen University. The course is geared towards students, food and nutrition policy makers, and development practitioners at various levels. Participants can expect to spend 6 to 8 hours a week on classes and assignments. They can also pay to receive a verified certificate of completion.

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