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India: Field Study of Development Issues
Various, India
Program Terms: Winter
Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Fact Sheet:
SUNY code: 800
Program Description:

India: Field Study of Development Issues


Program Information | Requirements | Academics | Support Services | Housing | Cost Estimates | Resources

Program Information

This faculty-led field course enables participants to experience the vitality of contemporary India, its rapid economic development, its social pluralism and inequalities, and elements of its heritage and cultural traditions.  Emphasis will be placed on debating current social and urban development issues, on the sensory dimensions of environments, ceremonies and historic sites, and on documenting experiences through travel writing and photography.


It is assumed that most participants will have done some pertinent coursework on India or on international development issues, but others with good academic records may be accepted if they can show evidence of interest in social and environmental justice issues, intercultural awareness, prior travel, or a South Asian heritage background.


Market in Delhi

Students will earn 3 credits for three weeks of full-time study, with possibilities of doing additional credits through an Independent Study project after returning to the United States. At UAlbany, the course is equivalent to Globalization Studies 366. 

Faculty Leader: Professor Ray Bromley (University at Albany, SUNY), a specialist in Urban and Regional Planning and International Development Studies.

Sample Itinerary:
•    Depart US: December 27th
•    Delhi:  December 28th-30th
•    Agra: Dec.31st-Jan. 1st
•    Bangalore:  Jan 2nd-5th
•    Mysore:  Jan 6th-7th
•    Gauribidnur:  Jan 8th-9th
•    Cochin: Jan 10th-11th
•    Alleppy: Jan 12th-13th
•    Bangalore: Jan 14th
•    Return to US: Jan 15th

Visiting India is a very powerful experience, filled with extraordinary sights, sounds, tastes and variety.  Tremendous economic dynamism is combined with great social inequalities, religious and cultural pluralism, and mass poverty.  Course participants will visit two of India's principal cities, several world famous historical sites, major religious sites of at least six world religions, a great variety of urban neighborhoods, and a couple of rural communities.  Emphasis will be placed on the sensory experiences of visiting, observing and walking, and on documenting experiences through travel writing and photography.
The primary issues to be discussed during the course are:
  • Economic Development:  Factors underlying India's recent rapid development, and its social and environmental consequences;
  • Social Diversity:  The dynamics of India's religious, ethnic, linguistic and cultural pluralism, including gender, caste and social class relations.
  • Governance:  The success and limitations of Indian democracy and federalism.  The causes and consequences of partition, and challenges to the current system.
  • Urban Development:  The rapid growth of India's cities, their architecture, streetlife and urban design, and the challenge of generating infrastructure, jobs, housing and community services for a rapidly expanding population.
  • Heritage:  The significance of India's ancient cultures and civilizations, British colonial legacies, and the impact of India's long history on contemporary society and culture.

In consultation with the Instructor, students will undertake some small and highly informal group projects, for example: Bangalore Temple
•    Observing traffic flows along a typical congested downtown street, including the different types of vehicles and pedestrians that use the street, and the apparent "rules of the road" (codes of behavior) that help to minimize accidents.

•    Visiting a city park, historic site or temple complex and observing the variety of activities there.

•    Walking the same street at different times of the day and night, and observing the variety of vendors that sell on the street and how the composition of the vendor population changes.

These projects are intended to help students develop their powers of observation, and to begin to ask more questions about why things are the way they are, what changes are taking place, and whether more changes are desirable. 


Students will prepare course e-portfolios and submit them a few days after their return to the United States.  These portfolios will include diary entries, photographs, reference to pertinent websites and information sources, and the results of group work projects on topics selected by agreement between the students and the instructor. 

Students will also be evaluated on the basis of their overall course participation:  attendance, interest, enthusiasm, and increase in knowledge during the period in India.

Support Services

UAlbany hosts a general orientation session on campus during the semester prior to participation on the program. 

UAlbany staff are available throughout the year to assist students and their parents.  The UAlbany faculty member accompanying students will serve as an experienced resource for solving problems for students while overseas.


Taj Mahal in Agra

All housing will be pre-arranged by UAlbany's Office of International Education.


Please download the most recent estimate of costs here: IND_Field Study_FACLED_2013.pdf

Click here for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.

CIA Factbook India
State Department's site on India
Indian Government's site
Incredible India

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2013-2014 11/01/2013 
11/15/2013 12/29/2013 01/16/2014
 NOTE: Students should arrive in Delhi on December 28th (evening) or 29th (early morning before 6am). Departure should be from Bangalore on January 16th anytime after 8 pm or early morning of January 17th.
Winter 2014-2015 10/15/2014 10/15/2014 TBA TBA

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