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Minor in Poverty Studies

What is a poverty studies minor?

Poverty is among the oldest and most intractable problems faced by humankind. Well over half the world lives in severe poverty, including tens of millions in wealthy countries. The poverty studies minor brings students face-to-face with this reality. The minor combines courses from several different academic disciplines into a secondary program of study meant to complement a student’s major. Students from a broad range of majors, from humanities to the hard sciences, are encouraged to have informed, critical conversations about what it means to live in poverty, its causes, and how poverty might be addressed and alleviated through individual and institutional actions from a broad variety of perspectives.

Why minor in poverty studies at Furman?

As a private liberal arts and sciences university, Furman provides an exceptional environment for multidisciplinary studies, allowing students to find connections between multiple areas of interest. The poverty studies minor includes course options from several different academic disciplines. Small class sizes give students greater access to professors who are among the best in their fields. Our focus on engaged learning leverages Furman’s strong undergraduate research, internship and study away opportunities. Visit our campus or request information to learn more.

How will you learn?

The poverty studies minor balances coursework and research with real, practical experience. Students will study poverty locally, nationally and globally from a variety of academic disciplines. In addition to coursework, during a fully funded 8-10 week summer internship, students will work directly with people living in poverty,­ getting to know them as individuals and learning their stories and perspective. As the only minor program at Furman that requires an internship, poverty studies helps students understand the complexity of the issue while also contributing to the efforts of the many organizations attempting to address it at home and around the world.

Careers for poverty studies minors

Poverty has no single cause, and it will have no single solution. As the problem expands worldwide, a wide range of organizations and professionals may find themselves working in some way with populations experiencing poverty.

A poverty studies minor can be useful in a broad array of careers, such as:

  • Social worker
  • Lawyer
  • Health care professional
  • Community organizer or leader
  • Nonprofit director
  • Researcher
  • Teacher

Poverty studies courses: What will you study?

Introduction to Poverty Studies


Economics of Poverty and Inequality


people worldwide living in extreme poverty
No. 6
rank of Furman among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the Southeast, according to U.S. News and World Report
full-time faculty at Furman with the highest degrees in their fields

What our students say

Fountains at the entrance of school

“So many of the poverty studies courses, such as American Perspectives on Education and Race and Ethnic Relations, surprised me and opened my eyes, having a permanent impact on my worldview. The experience of then applying all that I learned in these courses to the outside world through the poverty studies summer internship program was truly unmatched.” - Meghan Salm ’22

Our faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s poverty studies faculty represent decades of study and practical expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

  • David I. Gandolfo

    Associate Professor of Philosophy; Undergraduate Evening Studies Faculty

    David I. Gandolfo

    David I. Gandolfo

    Associate Professor of Philosophy; Undergraduate Evening Studies Faculty

    Phone Number: 8642943238

    View Profile

  • Amy Jonason

    Assistant Professor, Sociology

    Amy Joanson

    Amy Jonason

    Assistant Professor, Sociology

    Phone Number: 8642943317

    View Profile

  • FAQ

    How do I declare a minor?

    Like declaring a major, students meet with the minor chair to work out the details.

    How many minors can I declare?

    There is no limit to the number of minors a student can declare.

    Why should I pursue a minor?

    A minor program is an excellent way to explore further interests, gain additional skills appealing to future employers, and discover connections between different subjects you’re passionate about. Many students find that taking on a minor makes for a more well-rounded and complete educational experience.

    Request Information