At the start of the millennium, widespread global poverty has emerged as one of the most pressing social problems of our times.

Within the halls of the United Nations, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is at the top of the list of Millennium Development Goals, while broad-based social movements have occupied urban streets from Tahrir Square to the Port of Oakland, calling attention to devastating and deepening inequalities between rich and poor. Although the causes of poverty are complex and approaches to poverty action spark vigorous debate, what is clear is that the world needs a new generation who can engage in the debates and build the practical and analytic skills capable of addressing poverty and inequality.

Established in the Fall of 2007, the Global Poverty & Practice (GPP) Minor at the University of California, Berkeley gives students an opportunity to examine contemporary forms of poverty, wealth, and inequality through academic coursework and practical experience.

The GPP Minor is one of the largest minors on the UC Berkeley campus. It trains students to critically and historically engage with complex issues of poverty and inequality, equipping them with methodologies and skills of engagement, and encouraging the reflexivity necessary for meaningful practice. Central to the minor is a fieldwork opportunity (minimally six weeks) in which students connect theories and practices of poverty action through partnering with nongovernmental or community organizations, government agencies, or other poverty or development programs in California and around the world. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to undertake the minor and to investigate the ways in which it can supplement their major field of study. The Blum Center offers funding support for students’ practice experiences through a competitive fellowship.

Students graduating with a minor in Global Poverty & Practice, will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the following:

  1. Scholarly approaches to understanding poverty, wealth, and inequality in an historical and global context.
  2. Knowledge of international development and domestic poverty alleviation policies, programs, institutions, and social movements.
  3. An ability to critically engage in public debates about poverty and poverty action through written texts as well as through the use of social, digital, and visual media.
  4.  Knowledge of the history and contemporary politics of poverty and inequality in a particular place or world region, in preparation for the practice requirement of the minor.
  5. Analytical and practical skills gained through the practice experience in a particular sector of poverty action (e.g., agricultural and rural development, urban poverty, public health, human rights, legal systems, education, energy resources, and sustainable technology), at various scales (e.g., community, global) and in various forms (e.g., government policy, social movements).
  6. An understanding of different modalities and relations of power involved in poverty action, developed through historically informed analytical skills, the practice experience, and critical reflection.

For information about requirements for the minor:

Visit the Minor Requirements Page View the GPP Minor brochure


The signature element of the minor is a practice experience, in which students work either locally or internationally for a minimum of six weeks to make a meaningful contribution to an organization and/or a community.

For more information about the Practice Experience:
Visit the Practice Experience Page

Read about some current student’s practice experiences here and see where students have completed their practice experiences below:

View GPP Minor Practice in a larger map


We encourage students who are interested in the Minor to meet with GPP Peer Advisors before filling out the required Minor Declaration of Intent Form. There are no prerequisites for the GPP Minor, and students may declare without having taken any of the courses.

Declaring the Minor allows students to: access numerous resources that assist students in selecting a practice experience, gain priority admission to Blum Center sponsored courses, and receive information on events and opportunities relevant to addressing global poverty and inequality.


Fall 2016 Deadline: October 4, 2017
Spring 2017 Deadline: March 7, 2018
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