University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Integrated Approach to International Development: India

This innovative honors seminar connects classroom learning and interdisciplinary, collaborative work with meaningful on-the-ground education within a rural Indian community.

Students look critically at various approaches to international development and also engage in specific design and research on water and other development issues facing India. A primary focus is on issues facing rural India. It will culminate in a required trip to a rural area of India in which students work closely with an Indian non-profit organization to witness firsthand and apply what they have been learning in class.

This seminar includes small group projects and activities, group presentations, critical analysis and discussion of readings and some lecture on fact-based topics. The context for rural development practices will be provided through the lectures and readings. In addition, the class will involve teams of students with diverse backgrounds working together to identify, design, and evaluate development initiatives taking place at the Indian non-profit host organization, such as those related to water, large scale irrigation, economic development, cooking, sanitation and/or agricultural trainings.   For example, engineering students would provide knowledge of material properties and mechanical systems. Design students would examine the usability of the new technology in an authentic social context, while business students would develop an appropriate model for marketing and dissemination of the technology.   

During the required two-week study tour to rural areas of India (immediately following fall semester), students will live and work closely with the non-profit partners to employ the technologies and concepts developed in the term course.

The non-profit partner is the NM Sadguru Water and Development Foundation, based near Dahod, Gujarat, India.

The course will be taught by staff members of Design Impact, a social design non-profit that has provided design and development services to a non-profit in India for the past two years. In India the group will work with a non-profit organization that works on economic and rural development issues. 

Itinerary - Subject to Change
Travel dates are expected to be December 11*-24, 2012.

*Note that the group will depart on the Tuesday of finals week (Dec. 11). It is each student's individual responsibility to contact their instructors as early as possible to find out if it will be possible to make alternate arrangements for any final exams or projects that are scheduled between Dec. 11-15.

Dec. 11 - Depart Cincinnati
Dec. 12 - Arrive in Delhi
Dec. 12-14 - Tour in and around Delhi/New Delhi
Dec. 13 or 14 - Day Trip to Taj Mahal
Dec. 15 - Travel to Dahod (where Sadguru is located)
Dec. 16 -21 - Work with Sadguru
Dec. 22 - Travel to Ahmedabad
Dec. 22-23 - Tour Ahmedabad
Dec. 24 - Depart India

Application required.

Application deadline has been extended. UC undergraduates can still apply!

UC undergraduate students who are not in the University Honors Program are welcome and encouraged to apply to participate, provided the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.4 or above. Graduate students are not eligible to participate.

The cost paid to UC is expected to be $2400 per student.

The actual cost is around $4000, but University Honors will provide each participant with a $1600 grant to offset this cost. This grant acts as a program discount and makes the actual expected cost $2400.

Expected costs will be updated as final travel plans are made and are highly contingent upon airfare.

Participants who are not members of the University Honors Program will also automatically receive the $1600 grant.

Costs include airfare from the US to India and flights within India, ground transportation in India, accommodations, meals and bottled water while at the NGO, project supplies, two days of touring in Delhi and a trip to the Taj Mahal (including guide, transportation and admission fees), one or two days of touring in Ahmedabad, and a program fee (which covers faculty costs).

*Costs do not include baggage fees, immunizations, passport, visa, ISIC card, insurance (travel/medical), some drinks and meals (at airports, some in Delhi or other areas while traveling in India) or other personal expenses.

Students are required to purchase an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) from UC International for $22 or show proof of other insurance. This is not included in the total expected cost.

Participants can apply for grants from UC International.


Vaccinations and Health Precautions
Contact your physician to ask about what vaccinations and heath precautions (like taking antibiotics with you) are recommended. Also look at the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) webpage on India.

Other Background
Students from across disciplines are welcome. Please contact Kate Hanisian ( or Ramsey Ford ( if you have questions about how your background will fit with the course content. 

Participants will need a passport. If you hope to participate but do not have a passport, begin that process as soon as possible. Participants will also be required to obtain visas to enter India. The faculty directors will provide more information in visa applications during fall quarter.

University Honors students will receive credit for two experiences (or two special topics courses), due to the nature of the course and the extended travel component.

Faculty Directors
Ramsey Ford ( and Kate Hanisian (

Contact the faculty directors or Debbie Brawn (

NM Sadguru Water and Development Foundation
Working with NM Sadguru Water and Development Foundation
2010 India Study Tour
2010 Study Tour
2010 Study Tour
Working with NM Sadguru Water and Development Foundation
UHP students in Gujarat, India
UHP students at check dam in Gujarat, India


To learn about previous trips, view videos compiled by previous participants:
2009 video by Jacqueline Kruse
2008 video by Tom Meyer