International Development

International development broadly refers to work that seeks to improve human conditions around the world through sustainable economic, societal, and humanitarian efforts, particularly in developing countries.  

Career Information

Skills and Qualities Sought in the field of international development:

  • Language proficiency
  • Analytical skills
  • Writing skills
  • Flexibility
  • International experience
  • Integrity
  • Technological skills
  • Strong academic background
  • Strong international interest

Examples of Entry-Level Development Jobs:

  • Assistant Campaigner
  • Commodity Specialist
  • Country Representative
  • Economist
  • Foundations Research Officer
  • Fundraising Director
  • International Education Analyst
  • Liaison Officer
  • Logistics Coordinator
  • Monitoring Specialist
  • Project Advisor
  • Project Implementer
  • Team Leader
  • Youth Coordinator

Typical Career Path in Development

  1. Undergraduate Degree
  2. Field Experience Abroad
  3. Graduate school (often for a degree in International Relations with a development concentration)
  4. Enter the job market or get a fellowship

The Three Main Types of International Development Jobs

  1. Project Management: perform administrative work for projects abroad (helpful to have accounting background); work in home office; entry-level openings.
  2. Technical Assistance: field positions; need well-developed, specialized skills and a willingness to work in a part of the world with numerous social and economic challenges may compensate for lack of experience.
  3. Research: some travel but mostly involves studying and writing at the home office.

Ways to Get Field Experience 

  • Peace Corps
  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Work with marginalized populations in the U.S.
  • Go abroad and volunteer for an NGO
  • Stateside jobs may require travel that will slowly build up your experience

Where to Look for Jobs

  • Public Sector: USAID, Department of Labor
  • International Organizations: UN, World Bank
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Consulting Organizations: ACDI/VOCA, Booz Allen, Chemonics, DAI, Deloitte, Accenture
  • Think Tanks: USIP, Brookings
  • Private Enterprises: Corporate and Social Responsibility Departments
  • Foundations: Gates, Ford, Clinton
  • Academic Institutions

Resources

Development Agencies and NGOs

Lists of Relief and Development Organizations

Additional Online Resources

Fellowships and Internships

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab

American Red Cross

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Junior Fellows Program

Carter Center Internship Program

Center for Global Development Fellowships and Internships

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières MSF)

Donald M. Payne International Development Fellowship Program

EPA Grants and Fellowships

Fulbright Program

International Fund for Agricultural Development Internship Programme

USAID Student Internships

USAID Fellowship Program

International Monetary Fund Internship Program

Princeton in Africa

United Nations Development Programme

United Nations Internship Programme

World Health Organization

World Learning for International Development Democracy Fellows Program