India: Sustainable Development and Social Change

Examine India’s socioeconomic development trends and how rethinking development is gaining urgency for shaping sustainable social change.

This program examines the diverse factors, internal and global, shaping India's development strategies and patterns. Students gain foundational knowledge of India’s past, present, and future development paradigms, economic growth, and social change.

The program is based in Jaipur, a bustling hub of NGOs engaged in development projects, social justice initiatives, and political activism. Jaipur is the capital city of the state of Rajasthan, historically a princely and aristocratic state and a center of Hindu, Jain, and Muslim traditions.

Topics of study include:

  • India’s polity and governance mechanisms   
  • Gender issues in India
  • Indian society and its marginalized communities
  • Introduction to development: concept and approaches
  • India’s transition: post-1990s
  • Review of government programs and policies
  • Growth and development: India in a globally governed world
  • Rural development: crisis, challenges, and response
  • Urban development: crisis, challenges, and response
  • Rural-urban transition
  • Climate change: India and the world
  • Introduction to sustainable development and social change
  • Sustainable community practices in India: cases
  • Creating a roadmap for sustainability in India and radical ecological democracy (RED)
  • Empowering the rural poor to develop themselves
  • Bhutan’s gross national happiness and its relevance
  • Gandhi's vision as an alternative to development
  • Practicing sustainability

Visit institutes and NGOs in different regions.
The program engages students with prominent academic and research institutes and with the headquarters of NGOs in the state of Rajasthan and elsewhere in India.

Travel outside Jaipur is an essential component of the program. Excursions typically include visiting various districts of Rajasthan to see development and social change work. During excursions, the entire student group and staff travel together. Excursions provide varying contexts in which to evaluate development trends while becoming immersed in Indian culture. Learn more.

Deeper immersion in understanding development and sustainability interventions
For a week, small groups of students engage in experiential workshops to gain knowledge and ideas about development interventions and sustainability of  a professional academic and research institution or NGO working in the field of development and social change. Diverse workshop sites are offered in the states of Gujarat,  Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand,  and Himachal Pradesh.

Intensive language study in Hindi and a six-week homestay in Jaipur are integral to the cultural immersion mission of SIT programs and for preparing students to conduct independent research.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Jaipur

Language Study: Hindi

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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