All course information is listed within this syllabus.

CEDEV 597E: Theories, Principles & Institutions of International Development (3 credits). This course provides a strong foundation in theories and concepts of international development that inform practice. It addresses issues of how economic growth and disparity are spatially distributed, differentiated, and what causes these patterns to occur.

Prerequisites: None


Instructor for CEDEV 597E

Terence M. Milstead, Ph.D.

Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
Philadelphia, PA

Phone: 850-339-9714
E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Office Hours: By appointment only

I will do my best to respond to your e-mails (use Canvas Inbox) within 24 hours, and I will let you know if I'm going to be unavailable for any length of time.

Course Overview

CEDEV 597E is intended to help maximize career opportunities for busy professionals and postgraduate researchers. The course will be delivered online through PSU World Campus. The program will provide participants with a strong inter-disciplinary foundation and continuing professional development expertise in the area of international development practice.

This innovative program is designed for development practitioners who wish to pursue careers within international organizations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropic institutions, and consultancy firms engaged in international development practice. The program will create a cohort of international practitioners with the capacity to analyze and scrutinize some of the most chronic developmental problems of the twenty-first century and to provide participants with the practical skills to provide resolution along a wide spectrum of critical policy areas.

CEDEV 597E consists of 15 modules or weeks, all located within our site on Canvas. This course is a synchronous course, meaning that you are part of a "cohort" or learning community. There are regular due dates for assignments, and a fixed start and end date. There are interactive sessions where you communicate with others in the class.

This course is designed to enhance students' conceptualization of a number of central issues in both international development theory and practice and to aid students in their respective career paths by providing them with the necessary theoretical tools to improve their critical thinking and reflective practice. The course will draw on the experiences of participants and will provide students with an extensive comprehension of what 'development' entails and theories of development and International Development practice.

The course will also highlight the correlation between both practice and theory and the outcomes that emanate from this interaction.

Additionally, a critical analysis of the progress of development as an enterprise and as a scholarly discipline since the Second World War will attempt to critically appraise the relevance of the development discourse in the light of global changes. International development addresses issues of how economic growth and disparity are spatially distributed and differentiated, and what causes these patterns to occur.

This can be challenging. The first challenge is defining exactly what development is and identifying who ultimately decides the policies and practices that determine its fate. The second is determining who benefits and who bears the costs of particular development strategies.

Now, more than ever, global understanding is increasingly necessary. Understanding the dynamic role of economic, social, and political issues is important in studying the complexity of international development theories, policies, and practices.

Course Goals

The goals of this course are to:

  • uncover ambiguities in preexisting definitions and theories of international development
  • analyze various approaches, changes in discourse over time, and varying strategies for implementation
  • examine development theory and policy and the macro-level factors that affect the implementation of development theory into practice

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will:

  • recognize and explain key concepts, ideas, and debates in development literature
  • outline the main opportunities and constraints related to the development of economies and the reduction of poverty
  • outline and discuss current debates regarding the roles of markets, the state, institutions, property rights, natural resources, civil society, and the role of international organizations in development practice
  • engage in analysis of development theories, policies, and practice through an in-depth study of the literature of several development case studies

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.


ISBN: 978-1452275901
McMichael, P. (2016). Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective (6th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1462519576
Peet, R., & Hartwick, E. (2015). Theories of Development: Contentions, Arguments, Alternatives (3rd ed.). The Guilford Press. (E-Book option available)

For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website.

Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. It is very important that you purchase the correct materials. If your course requires one or more textbooks, you must have exactly the correct text required (edition and year).

E-Book Option

An online version of one or more of your texts is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. You can access the E-Book by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, and then selecting the E-Reserves link. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help (UL-RESERVESHELP@LISTS.PSU.EDU).


This course requires that you access Penn State library materials specifically reserved for this course. You can access these materials by selecting Library Resources in the Course Navigation Menu, or by accessing the Library E-Reserves Search and searching for your instructor's last name.


Class Participation

Class participation in online discussions is an expected and essential component of the class. Your first postings are due by the end of the day on Friday, and your responses to others' postings are to be done by Sunday. This will constitute 45% of your final grade.

Four Integrative Essays

Four integrative essays are due as indicated during the semester. Each is 10% of the course grade for a total of 40%.

Each of the four papers throughout the semester will have the same requirements. The topic of the paper will be of your choice but should highlight at least one of the various concepts covered by the course since the previous paper. All papers must be 4-5 pages in length, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font. In these papers, the expectation is for you to select a concept or principle and demonstrate an understanding by analyzing a real-world situation in the context of the course. Including some of the points covered by the preceding papers is acceptable and encouraged, but the main issues discussed in the paper should be of more recent material. Do not limit yourself to the issues we have discussed on the message board, but rather, write about the issue that you feel most connected to.

Please check the Course Summary in your Canvas Syllabus or your Canvas Calendar for the exact due dates. Each paper should be submitted to the appropriate assignment.

Final Paper

The final paper is an integrative essay that will pull all the components of this course into a practical exercise. This exercise constitutes 15% of the course grade.

The final paper will be similar to the four integrative essays as far as structure and instruction. The only difference is length. The final paper is designed to give you ample time to expand your ideas and analyze a concept in more detail. Therefore, this paper will be 8-10 pages double-spaced. This will be due during the last week of class.

Grading Policy

There are 1,000 total points for this course. As noted above, the final paper accounts for 150 points or 15% of your grade, the integrative essays account for 400 points or 40% of your grade, and class participation accounts for 450 points or 45% of your grade.

The turnaround time for graded assignments is generally one week or less.

The following table is the grading criteria for the course.

Grading Criteria
Requirement Cumulative Point Value Weight
Class Participation 450 45%
Integrative Essays (4) 400 40%
Final Paper 150 15%
TOTAL: 1000 100%

The following table is the grading scheme for the course. Final letter grades will be awarded according to the following distribution.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage Points
A 100% – 93% 930–1000
A- < 93% – 90% 900–929
B+ < 90% – 87% 870–899
B < 87% – 83% 830–869
B- < 83% – 80% 800–829
C+ < 80% – 77% 770–799
C < 77% – 70% 700–769
D < 70% – 60% 600–699
F < 60% 0–599

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Graduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it is assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the internet.

Getting Help With Canvas Courses

Canvas support is available 24/7 via chat or phone.

It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Try to include information such as the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Support Services

As a student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the following resources for more information:

Accessibility Information


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Penn State Policies

Login Policy

Students are expected to log in regularly to keep up to date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, students should act with personal integrity, respect other students' dignity, rights, and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts. Academic integrity includes a commitment not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation, or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others (see Faculty Senate Policy 49-20, G-9 Procedures, and the Code of Conduct).

Please read the academic integrity guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's academic integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff, and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

Educational Equity Statement

Penn State takes great pride in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity on the Bias Response page.

Privacy Policies

For information about Penn State's privacy statement and what it encompasses, please read their Web Privacy Statement. Visit Penn State's FERPA Guidelines for Faculty and Staff page for information regarding its rules governing the privacy of student educational records.

Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD40, Recording of Classroom Activities and Note-Taking Services, addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under federal and state laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The University offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources website provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources page.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus' disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search to start planning ahead.