International Development, B.S. Business Administration

Program Overview

Are you are passionate and keenly aware of global social, economic, and political issues? Do you have a talent for recognizing the needs of others, uncovering the root of problems, and being an agent of change? If you want to be connected with and work alongside others who share your energy and concern for the world, a business degree in international development will suit you well.

PLNU's international development major covers a wide range of coursework, ranging from business, economics, and sustainability to political science and sociology. This interdisciplinary approach enables you to connect and dialogue with accomplished faculty and passionate students across multiple academic areas of study. You will be invited to seek new and better ways to serve others in need as you dive into conversation surrounding poverty, human rights, economic growth, leadership, globalization, community health, theology, and more. You will also find yourself studying abroad in a developing country as a requirement for your degree. Wherever you choose to go, you will be able to learn in a different context how to use business to alleviate poverty through sustainable and empowering ways.

The faculty and staff at PLNU weren’t afraid to dive into hard conversations, even controversial ones, and that’s really serving me well now in law school, where I’m surrounded by people from all different backgrounds. I learned it’s okay for me to have really strong opinions about things, even when those opinions are different than those around me. In addition to helping broaden my perspective, my support system at PLNU challenged me to do something with my life that uses my knowledge, talents, and interests to give back to my community and the world. In my case, that means combining my passions for law and social justice to help others.

Sarah Hamill Class of 2015
International Development Studies, B.A.

International development majors also have access to a valuable resource in the Center for International Development (CID). If you are looking for mentorship, networking events, internships, jobs, or study abroad information, the CID has an abundance of resources for you to explore. Overall, PLNU, the CID, and the Fermanian School of Business offer you many ways to get involved and pursue your passions.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the International Development, B.S. Business Administration program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

Travis Hunter Headshot

Student Profile

Travis Hunter

Since graduation, I have worked in economic development in the greater Boston area.

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Career Opportunities

The international development major’s cross-disciplinary curriculum will challenge you to become aware of the political and social factors affecting the success, sustainability, and development of different nations. This major exposes students to economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, and law.

What does an international development major study? 

With a degree in international development in business administration, you’ll learn how to intertwine the daily tasks of administration and running a business with a focus on impacting the international realm. 

You’ll be invited to seek new and better ways to serve others as you dive into conversations surrounding many issues around the globe. The international development major focuses on long-term sustainable development in economics, global health, education, and infrastructure.

What skills do international development students cultivate at PLNU?

Some of the main skills that an international development major develops are problem-solving, team management, analytics, and business practices. Additionally, majoring in international development prepares students to enter the job market with strong writing and communication skills, making them an asset in any position they take on.

With these skills, an international development major learns how to handle the tasks that research assistants, administration positions, public relations specialists, teaching assistants, and lawyers face every day, positions in which many of PLNU’s international development majors are now.

What can you do with an international development degree?

Policy Analysts

2020 Median annual salary: $82,393

Policy analysts work to raise awareness about social issues. This avenue allows for an individual to work in a variety of areas they’re passionate about. Being a policy analyst employs many of the critical thinking skills that students develop here at Point Loma. The main job policy analysts do is researching, evaluating, and trying to reshape public policy. Salaries for policy analysts vary based on the organizations they work for.


2020 Median annual salary: $126,930

Becoming a lawyer requires additional education and hard work. But it can be quite rewarding and encouraging to see the end result. Job prospects for lawyers are projected to continue to increase in the future. Whether representing an organization as a whole or specific individuals, a lawyer helps fight legal battles using evidence, law, and arguing a case. Lawyers are needed in all avenues of occupations. Lawyers must be good at writing, speaking, and maintaining deadlines effectively. 

Public Relations Specialists

2020 Median annual salary: $62,810

The job of a public relations specialist is one that bolsters the image of the organizations and companies they work for. This allows for a presence on social media, contact with other organizations, and media coverage. Key aspects of the job are to uphold the organization’s reputation and increase its awareness

Molly Guldin looks out for the next wave coming in while surfing off Sunset Cliffs.

Student Profile

Molly Guldin

Molly Guldin is the farmers’ market coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) at the El Cajon Farmers' Market in San Diego County and helps manage the City Heights Farmers’ Market.

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Other common job titles for international development majors include:

  • Missions coordinator
  • Policy advocate
  • Human rights officer
  • Fundraiser
  • Relief and development worker
  • Diversity consultant
  • Microenterprise business counselor
  • Social enterprise coordinator
  • Nonprofit manager
  • Poverty researcher

Where are PLNU international development majors now? 

Due to the set of skills that our alumni develop over their years at PLNU and beyond, international development students have gone on to work at organizations and industries involved in:

  • Peace building
  • Development aid
  • Relief work
  • Foreign aid
  • Economics
  • Security
  • Human rights
  • Governance
  • Environment
  • Health care
  • Conflict management and resolution
  • Gender equality
  • Infrastructure
  • Business

Studying abroad as an international development major

One way Point Loma Nazarene University sets apart its international development degree is the emphasis on studying abroad. Many students who major in international development opt to spend a semester abroad, applying their education in real-world scenarios. PLNU students have travelled all over the globe, from Costa Rica to South Africa, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and many more destinations. 

Students who return from studying abroad report that their time was well-spent, adapting to new scenarios and learning how to expand their comfort zones, something that pertains to all aspects of life. Studying abroad opens a student up to new ways of thinking and studying. These students learn under professors around the globe who engage different techniques and bring new worldviews from various cultures. They gain a new appreciation for different cultures and their customs, language, food, and people. 

The experience of living abroad allows growth and independence to take place as well. Students return to Point Loma and finish their degree, setting them apart from other candidates as they take this knowledge with them into the job field. 

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and answers to any questions you may have.