Uganda: Development Studies

"Words could not explain how blessed I feel for the opportunity to study in Uganda, actively immersed in the culture and witnessing the triumphs and challenges of development firsthand. Surrounded by my fellow peers and SIT staff who pushed me academically and socially, my experience was full of unforgettable moments. This experience will remain one of the most enriching ones in my life and I feel so lucky to be a part of it."

-- Barbara Vi Thien Ho, University of Notre Dame

Examine development in theory and in practice throughout Uganda, while experiencing current concepts and debates in development studies in the vibrant context of Kampala.

  Visit us on Facebook!

Uganda is a nation of political and economic vitality, intellectual vibrancy, entrepreneurial innovations, diverse landscapes, and development debates. This program introduces students to the social, political, economic, and environmental issues of development in Uganda. Students examine development theories from Ugandan perspectives, consider the historical context in which current development is taking place, and experience development in practice through engagement with local projects and practitioners. To contextualize approaches to development in Uganda, the program addresses political and security issues in the Great Lakes region, as well as related environmental issues.

A custom two-week elective, with a choice of focus on public health, gender and development, grassroots development, entrepreneurship and microfinance development, or environment and development, provides opportunities to work with organizations such as the Kasangati Health Center, the Uganda Change Agent Association, the School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University, or Makerere University Business School.

Research- or Practicum-Based Independent Study Project
Based in Kampala, Uganda's thriving capital, the program offers students the opportunity to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) through field-based research or an in-depth, hands-on practicum with energetic entrepreneurs or with one of the country's many international or grassroots development agencies. Both ISP options provide an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the practice and politics of development work.

Students visit eastern and western Uganda to gain an appreciation of local approaches to development. Excursions to national parks in Uganda focus on issues of conflict, eco-tourism, and conservation. In addition, the program takes students to neighboring Rwanda, the location of unprecedented genocide in 1994 and now a vibrant locus of economic development. Through this comparative excursion to Rwanda and field visits to rural areas of Uganda, students explore what lies beyond the rhetoric of the "development industry" and learn about the diverse strengths and needs of this changing nation and region.

Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as:

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

SIT Uganda alum obtains job with global nonprofit organization in Malawi. Learn more.

Tori Hogan, Duke University graduate and 2002 participant on this program, has founded Beyond Good Intentions, an organization committed to uncovering more innovative and effective approaches to international aid worldwide. In a ten-episode film series shot on location in eight different countries, the organization meets with countless aid workers and recipients working to identify new approaches to helping communities in need.

Dara Carroll returned to Uganda to collaborate with mental health patients Dara Carroll, Northwestern University graduate and fall 2008 student on this program, was awarded the Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship, an annual award that returns SIT Study Abroad alums to their host countries to conduct development projects that benefit human rights. Dara returned to rural Uganda to advocate on behalf of Ugandans with mental illnesses and to devise a program for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. “We’ll be collaborating to find a way to promote a model where patients are valued and seen as contributing members of the community, not just dependents,” said Carroll. Read more...

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Kampala

Language Study: Luganda

Prerequisites: Coursework in development studies recommended


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

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

Connect With Us

Connect icons

888.272.7881 (toll-free in US)



Mailing Address:
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

Contact us by email.