Global Poverty, Local SolutionsOrganization logo: Erasmus University Rotterdam

About this minor

Global poverty remains the most pressing social problem of our era in spite of growing awareness that economic growth has been premised on forms of ecological depletion and social marginalization. Despite the fall in rates of extreme poverty over the past century, billions of people remain exposed to different forms of poverty. This minor provides students with tools to develop their concern for global poverty by introducing concepts, theories, trends and illuminating case studies on poverty and poverty-reduction interventions. Through lectures, workshops and small group tutorials students will develop a critical and global outlook on poverty. No prior knowledge of economics is required. This minor is coordinated by the ISS, a leading center for the study of international development.

This minor provides an introduction to the analysis of global poverty for students from all academic backgrounds. The minor helps the students develop their interest for global affairs and social change by guiding them into discovering how contemporay social sciences are applied to the study of global poverty. Students will become familiar with the main concepts of poverty and inequality, with alternative explanations on the persistence of growing global inequalities and with the contibution of critical development studies. The course includes an overview of major trends in growth and poverty across different regions and social groups. It also examines how inequality is directly associated with patterns of development. The second module focuses on diverse forms of poverty (e.g. child poverty, rural poverty, housing poverty) and their specif impact on different social groups. The final module guides students through a critical assessment of global and local interventions designed to alleviate poverty. Students will gain insight into the historical evolvement of multilateral, regional and local institutions and will evaluate the logic and performance of interventions ranging from structural adjustment and development assistance, to cash-transfers and microfinance to develop informed and practical perspectives on dealing with poverty and inequality.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • assess global trends in poverty and impoverishment;
  • comprehend and apply various conceptualizations of poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion, analyze the multidimensional manifestations of poverty, and have an insight into the position of women and children as particularly vulnerable groups;
  • develop an understanding of the design, potentialities and limits of current poverty reduction schemes and programmes at macro, meso and micro levels;
  • identify alternative strategies, policy interventions and innovative subaltern responses aimed at eliminating poverty on the basis of principles of gender justice and social and economic justice.

Teaching method and examination


  • What is Global Poverty and why does it persist?

  • How are different forms of poverty experienced and how are they interlinked?

  • To what extent have global and local governance efforts succeeded in alleviating poverty?

Participatory lectures, movies, role playing game, tutorials, working groups and group presentations, meetings with international ISS students.

One invigilated mid-term exam for module 1;
One invigilated end-of-term exam for modules 2 and 3 (both invigilated exams with a choice out of a range of open questions);
One take-home final essay on a topic selected by the student;
One group presentation.
Exams (2 * 30% = 60%), essay (30%), group presentation (10%)

Good to know

Proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing in the English language is essential. Interest for global affairs and exposure to the general media that report on global problems will be important as a starting point for this course

Additional information

  • Code
  • Theme
    Behaviour and society
  • Credits
    ECTS 15
  • Selection minor
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Erasmus University.


  • Start date

    4 september 2023

    • Ends
      31 december 2023
    • Term *
      Block TERMMIN
    • Location
      Den Haag
    • Instruction language
These offerings are valid for students of Erasmus University