International Social and Economic Development Concentration | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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International Social and Economic Development Concentration


This concentration prepares students to work with communities and governments to create complex solutions that improve people’s lives in a global context.

Students will understand the basis of poverty and inequality around the world, be able to analyze institutions and organizations, and learn to use tools and techniques for applying integrated and sustained development approaches for organizing change at many different levels.

Alumni go on to careers in government and non-governmental organizations developing and implementing programs, designing and evaluating policy, or building the evidence base for action.

Concentration Requirements: 21 Credits

  • International Social Development Theory (3 credits)
  • International Social and Economic Development Policy (3 credits)
  • Development Practice in International Settings (3 credits)
  • Six additional credits of practice-focused coursework, chosen from a list of pre-approved options
  • Three credits of leadership- and management-focused coursework
  • Social Policy Analysis and Evaluation (3 credits) or Evaluation of Programs and Services (3 credits)

You will also have 9 elective credits, which can be used to broaden your expertise in other areas or to pursue additional SED-related electives, such as:

  • Organizing, Coalition Building and Lobbying (3 credits)
  • Asset Building: Theory, Innovation, Research, Policy and Practice (3 credits)

Concentration Practicum

The MSW program requires 600 hours of concentration practicum (in addition to 360 hours of foundation practicum). The concentration practicum must take place in a setting related to international social and economic development. Concentration practicum sites must have an international focus, whether located in the U.S. or abroad.

Sample practicum sites include:

  • Fudan University School of Social Development and Policy
  • ChildFund International
  • Maji Safi Movement
  • Runa Foundation



Carolyn Lesorogol

Concentration Chair

Professor Carolyn Lesorogol  serves as the Brown School’s associate dean for global strategy and programs. Her research and community development work in Kenya, Madagascar and Haiti strongly inform the courses in international development theory and practice that she teaches at the Brown School.

Emily Bull

Featured Graduate

“Choosing the Social and Economic Development concentration was one of the best professional decisions I have ever made. Through the diverse courses and the dynamic practical experiences offered by the Brown School, I was able to gain the tools and skills I needed to be successful in the international development field.”



—Emily Bull, MSW ’13, Tanzania Director of Operations, Maji Safi Group
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