International Development in Dakar, Senegal (MSID)

  • Location: Senegal - Dakar
  • GPA Requirements: 2.75 GPA
  • Other Requirements: 2 years of college level French or equivalent is required
  • Program Structure: Structured - not direct enrollment
  • Application Deadline: February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs.
  • Program Term(s): Fall, Spring
  • Official Website: International Development in Dakar, Senegal (MSID)
Program Dates
Term Start Date End Date
Spring 2024 January 14th, 2024 May 5th 2024
Fall 2024 August 25th, 2024 December 14th, 2024

These dates are tentative. Confirm program dates before booking travel.


The program is open to Allegheny juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Coursework related to development and/or Senegal or West Africa, or volunteer or social services experience is preferred. 2 years of college-level French is required.


Senegal has long been a crossroads where African, Islamic, and European civilizations have met, clashed, and blended. Today, Senegal is still seen as a bridge between Africa and the West, and also where Senegalese people remain deeply attached to traditional values and cultures. This program is based in Dakar, Senegal’s cosmopolitan capital. Heated by the African sun while surrounded on three sides by cool Atlantic waters, Dakar has a climate often described as “eternal spring”. It is known as a city of contrasts. Businessmen and tourists, European clothes and traditional dress, colonial-style villas and modern skyscrapers, supermarkets and small shops, posh residential areas and shantytowns all coexist.


The program’s combination of classes, field trips, field experiences/internships, and research link experience with theory and provide a critical analysis of development efforts and their effectiveness, sustainability, cultural appropriateness, and equity. Students participating in the program develop a profound, firsthand understanding of the complex economic and social issues at work in Senegal.

The courses and internships build on a common knowledge base built by pre-departure readings and assignments. Once in Dakar, students study as a group for 2 months and then participate in a 4-week field placement. Students on the yearlong option build the field experience to an internship. The Academic Year curriculum includes a 4-credit International Development internship complemented by a research project (often the basis of a senior project or major/minor requirement).

All participants go through 1 week of orientation, 7 weeks of coursework in Dakar, 6 weeks of internship or research project, and 1 week of a final seminar.

Academic Structure

Course taken with other MSID students. The internship or research project will be with an organization engaged in grassroots work related to your chosen international development theme.

Course Credit

You are required to take 16 credits for fall or spring semester. Add 4 credits for optional French language pre-session.


For a full list of course offerings, visit MSID’s website here.

Student Life

MSID participants live with host families throughout the program. The homestay is an important venue for practicing French and for gaining insights into Senegalese culture. Meals consist of fish and rice at least once every day, with few fruits and vegetables.

Classroom and office facilities are located in a one-story complex called the West African Research Center (WARC), located a few miles from downtown. Most students study either at WARC or at other nearby libraries. A number of computers are also available at the program facilities.

Application Process

Allegheny students must apply for approval to study off-campus from the Global Education office AND apply directly to their chosen program. For this program, students should work on the Allegheny approval application at the same time as the host program application. The Allegheny approval application deadline is February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs. Study away approval applications will be reviewed immediately following the appropriate semester deadline. The separate application deadline to apply directly to this program will vary and could be before or after Allegheny’s approval application due date. Check directly on their website (linked at the top of this page) for deadline information. For more information about the study away application process, please visit the application steps page.


Students pay Allegheny tuition, the off-campus fee ($800), room (Allegheny double room charge), and the Gator Blue Allegheny meal plan. This covers program tuition, fees, housing, most meals, international travel insurance, and field trips (where applicable). Not included are visas, passports, some meals, airfare, pre-departure immunizations, and personal expenses. Allegheny financial aid, except for work/study, is applied to program costs. Allegheny College will arrange payment of the $400 program deposit required by MSID (applied to the total cost), but students are responsible for the $50 application fee.