Faculty of Science

Development Studies

Shopping village,Bandung (Indonesia)

Photo: Norbet Simon, shopping village, Bandung, Indonesia

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

This subject is taught by the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.


Where in the world do Asia, gender studies, Latin America, earthquakes, the Pacific Islands, and globalisation meet? The answer is Victoria's major in Development Studies, taken as part of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree.

Victoria's Development Studies programme is the first major of its kind in New Zealand. It's an umbrella under which you can study almost any aspect of the development of human societies, and their relationship to the Earth we live on. This multidisciplinary field is concerned with studying inequality between people and nations, and the ethical issues that poverty and inequality create. Because Development Studies investigates the world and the people who live here, it encourages you to be confident and tolerant with cross-cultural issues, and to analyse and solve global problems.

With guidance from the Geography programme within the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, you can shape a degree that is tailored directly to your abilities and interests. Building on a core in human geography, you are encouraged to take this major combined with another in a linked discipline—like Asian Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography, History, Pacific Studies or Political Science.

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Undergraduate information

Development Studies major requirements

Majors within the BSc and BA require a total of nine courses, four core courses and five approved courses with significant relevance to development studies and/or development studies content.

Core courses include:

Five approved courses comprise of:

  • Two 100-level courses, one regional-based and one subject-based course
  • Two 200-level courses, one regional-based and one subject-based course
  • One 300-level subject-based or regional based course

100-level approved regional-based courses, choose one of the following:

  • ASIA 101
  • MAOR 123
  • PASI 101

100-level approved subject-based courses, choose one of the following:

  • ANTH 101, 102
  • ECON 130, 141
  • ENVI/GEOG 114
  • ESCI/GEOG 111
  • INTP 113
  • POLS 111*, 112, 114
  • PUBL 113
  • RELI 107, 108
  • SOSC 111

* on request POLS 111 courses may be substituted for a regional-based course with an approved programme of study that includes other subject-based courses from the courses listed above.

200-level regional-based courses, choose one from the following:

  • ASIA 201
  • MAOR 210, 216
  • PASI 201, 202
  • POLS 203, 208

200-level subject-based courses, choose one from the following:

  • ANTH 208, 209, 215
  • BIOL/GEOG 222
  • BIOL 271
  • ECON 201, 202, 212
  • ENVI/GEOG 214
  • GEOG 216, 217
  • INTP 247
  • MAOR 202, 217
  • POLS 206
  • PUBL 201, 203/209, 205, 207
  • RELI 203, 205, 206, 212
  • SOSC 211

300-level regional- and subject-based courses:

  • ANTH 317
  • ASIA 301, 302
  • BIOL 325, 328, 317
  • ECON 307, 309, 340, 341, 351
  • ENVI/GEOG 314
  • GEOG 313, 316, 320, 324*, 325*
  • INTP 354, 360, 363, 370, 377, 378
  • MAOR 301, 308, 313, 316, 317
  • PASI 301, 302, 303
  • POLS 353, 378
  • PUBL 303
  • RELI 327, 330, 331
  • SPOL 318

*GEOG 324 and 325 are strongly recommended for anyone interested in development research practice. For students taking Development Studies as a double major with Geography or Physical Geography, these courses are required for GEOG and PHYS majors so cannot be counted as part of the Development Studies major.

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Postgraduate information

Victoria’s postgraduate programme in Development Studies accepts students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and focuses on the conceptual and practical aspects of working in the development field.

It combines aspects of development-related theory, practice, policy and research. Students can complete either a 120 point Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies or a 240 point Master of Development Studies.

Visit our postgraduate study pages for information about postgraduate qualifications in Development Studies.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

Dr Marcela Palomino-Schalscha
Coordinator of the Undergraduate Major in Development Studies
Phone: +64 4 463 5899
Email: marcela.palomino-schalscha@vuw.ac.nz

School Office
Phone: +64 4 463 5337
Email: geo-enquiries@vuw.ac.nz

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Related subjects and careers

Related subjects Careers

Asian Studies
Cultural Anthropology
Environmental Studies
Māori Studies
Pacific Studies
Political Science
Public Policy
Tourism Management

Aid worker
International agencies
Non-governmental organisations
Policy analyst
Social services

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List of courses

Development Studies courses are taught within the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Cotton Building.

Please note: These 500-level courses are offered for Postgraduate Diploma of Development Studies and the Master of Development Studies.