Graduate Certificate in Information and Communication Technologies and Development
Information and communication technologies (ICT) have contributed to dramatic improvements in the productivity of businesses in advanced economies; they have expanded access to information of all sorts, empowered citizens and communities, and helped to strengthen governance.
These technologies can be employed to address problems in the developing world as well, where a large proportion of the population lives in poverty and without access to adequate food, nutritional information, education, health care, credit, and other social and economic opportunities.
The Information and Communication Technologies and Development certificate program equips students to work across boundaries to identify, evaluate, and implement solutions to pressing societal problems in the developing world.
The program has three broad components:
- Understanding processes of technology diffusion and adoption in developing regions.
- Acting through the design and deployment of information systems in close collaboration with the communities they are meant to support.
- Redefining the dialogue about the role of technology in the global economic and political processes that affect developing regions.
The Graduate Certificate in Information and Communication Technologies and Development is issued by the School of Information, but is open to all UC Berkeley graduate students. The certificate is in addition to a student’s regular degree program, and is designed to complement a wide range of existing degree programs. Upon graduation, you will be issued a certificate in addition to your diploma, and completion of the certificate program will be noted on your official transcript.
Applicants must already be registered UC Berkeley graduate students, in any school of college. Applicants must be in good academic standing (3.0 minimum GPA and making good academic progress). Admission requires the approval of the student’s primary advisor in their home department.
At least nine units of approved graduate-level or upper-division undergraduate ICTD courses, with a grade of B or higher, including:
- Info C283 / ERG C283. Information and Communications Technology for Development (3 units)
- One course in social sciences methods (3 units)
- Additional ICTD elective(s) (2 units)
- Info 290. ICTD Research Seminar (1 unit)
At least six weeks of approved fieldwork
Certificate students must complete at least six weeks of eligible, approved development-focused fieldwork.
The goal of the field work requirement is to give students a hands-on experience of day-to-day happenings in a development context. While long-term ethnographic research focuses on forces, factors, histories, and people who play decisive roles in determining social outcomes issues, by situating local relationships, understandings and meanings, within shifting policies and economies, a six-week field trip is geared more towards getting a sense of the way a local partner functions within a community and the lifestyles, everyday interactions, and problems faced by the communities these partners serve.
- Most elibile fieldwork will be conducted abroad, with an organization involved in development.
- Students may also receive approval for fieldwork performed locally, if the project is with an organization focused on development and the student’s work is clearly development-focused.
- Eligible fieldwork may include organizations that are not primarily development-oriented, if the student is embedded in a division focused on development or ‘emerging markets.’
- In some cases, fieldwork may be eligible even if the organization has no international presence, if it has a clear non-profit social mission, working with local underprivileged or marginalized communities.
- Fieldwork conducted independently (not through an established organization) may be eligible, particularly for Ph.D. students, if the student can demonstrate the project’s development focus.
We expect that most eligible fieldwork will be conducted as an internship with a development organization (although some Ph.D. students may instead perform independent research fieldwork).
Students are responsible for arranging their own fieldwork or internships. Trips are usually arranged in conjunction with a local partner. Students will receive limited assistance from I School faculty through their connections and can make use of several highly active ICTD-themed mailing lists, as well as applying their own initiative to secure fieldwork or internship opportunities.
No dedicated funding is available to support student fieldwork; students should seek paid opportunities or otherwise arrange funding themselves (for example, through dissertation grant funds such as from the NSF or Fulbright Foundation).
Students must submit the Fieldwork Approval Form for approval of the fieldwork for the ICTD certificate. All projects must be approved by the I School ICTD advisory committee.
Deadline: When possible, the form should be submitted at least two months before the expected start date of the fieldwork, in order to allow time for feedback. However, in exceptional cases, the Fieldwork Approval Form can be submitted after the completion of the fieldwork.
How to Apply
Students may apply at any time from the beginning of their enrollment in a Berkeley graduate degree program until graduation. We encourage you to apply early; students who have already been admitted to the certificate program will be given enrollment priority for the required course C283.
Students may apply at any time from the beginning of their enrollment in a Berkeley graduate degree program until graduation. We encourage you to apply early
Fieldwork Approval Form
The Fieldwork Approval should be submitted at least two months before the expected start date, in order to allow time for feedback. In exceptional cases the Fieldwork Approval Form can be submitted after the completion of the fieldwork.
Certificate Completion Form
The Certificate Completion Form must be submitted by the last day of instruction of the student’s final semester, after the completion of all certificate requirements.
Submit completed forms to ICTD Certificate Program, School of Information, 102 South Hall #4600, Berkeley, CA 94720-4600, or email to to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Brewer, Professor, EECS
Josh Blumenstock*, Assistant Professor, School of Information
Jenna Burrell*, Associate Professor, School of Information
Jennifer Bussell, Assistant Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy
Alain DeJanvry, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Peter Evans, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology
Alastair Iles, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Isha Ray, Associate Professor, Energy and Resources Group
AnnaLee Saxenian*, Professor and Dean, School of Information
Michael Watts, Professor, Geography Department
Steven Weber, Professor, Political Science and School of Information
Brian Wright, Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
* ICTD Academic Committee
What is ICTD?
Information and communication technologies (ICT) have contributed to dramatic improvements in the productivity of businesses in advanced economies; they have expanded access to information of all sorts, empowered citizens and communities, and helped to strengthen governance. These technologies can be employed to address problems in the developing world as well, where a large proportion of the population lives in poverty and without access to adequate food, nutritional information, education, health care, credit, and other social and economic opportunities.
While neither technology nor information alone provides simple solutions for the complex and multi-dimensional problems of development, they offer mechanisms for addressing the isolation and lack of information that hinder individuals and institutional progress in these economies. This potential is increasingly apparent as new low cost, portable technologies, such as mobile devices, diffuse widely in developing economies and offer a promising platform for delivery of information services and applications to rural, low income populations.
Traditional theory and methods for understanding how innovations are adopted are not sufficient for understanding the impacts of ICT in developing economies, in part because new generations of technology have far-reaching (and poorly understood) implications for social, economic, cultural, and political practice. Equally important, the postwar consensus on the nature of political and economic “development” has broken down, and scholars no longer agree on what "development" is, whom it is for and whether it is desirable. Conventional computer science and engineering approaches to the design and implementation of new technologies are similarly inappropriate for contexts where the population lacks the literacy, skills, and resources of their wealthier counterparts, and where the infrastructure—from roads and electrical power to financial institutions and organizational capacity—is underdeveloped.
The emerging field of Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD) seeks to develop new, multi-disciplinary frameworks and practice-oriented methods for analyzing the role of information and technology in development, as well as the design and implementation of these technologies. A starting assumption in the field is that technologies need to be designed not only for, but in, specific contexts, with the active participation of the intended users, because successful implementation depends heavily upon existing social, economic, and institutional capacities as well as physical infrastructure.
In the important area of agricultural development, for example, researchers and practitioners increasingly recognize the potential of ICTs to connect small, rural farmers with domestic as well as global markets, modern inputs, information sources, and organizations for collective action. But we still know little about how to systematically design, implement, evaluate, and scale ICT applications targeted towards use in different agricultural contexts, where there are wide variations in farming systems, ecological conditions, crop specializations, as well as economic and social institutions such as land holding and ownership patterns.