Development Studies

PhD student Ed Challies with raspberry growers in South America.

Development Studies seeks to explain the enormous differences in peoples’ living standards across the world and to do something about them. The programme examines the theories and practices associated with inequalities in world development, using multi-disciplinary approaches. It is concerned with the processes and relationships between people and institutions at different scales – from local, small-scale communities, through to national government agencies and international organisations.

Particular attention is paid to the relationships between 'developed' and 'developing' societies, the roles played by various institutions within them and their effects on processes of social, political, economic and environmental transformation. 

Development Studies concerns issues of contemporary relevance to the world today including:

  • Poverty
  • Inequality
  • Globalisation
  • Gender equity
  • Environmental change
  • Participation and democracy
  • Human rights
  • International aid

Our programme is accessible to graduates from a wide range of disciplines and occupations. People with work experience in community and international development are strongly encouraged to apply, especially those with a background in the Asia Pacific region. 

Students are encouraged to spend some time overseas in a developing country as part of their postgraduate study and Masters students usually complete a research thesis based on work in a developing country. Students have undertaken research in places as diverse as Ethiopia, East Timor, Brazil, Chile, Bhutan, South Korea, Malaysia, Samoa and Rapanui. 

The MDevStud degree seeks to enhance the ability of graduate students to contribute as professionals to development practice worldwide.

Potential projects

All students are urged to plan their course of study with the Director of Development Studies before enrolment, as well as during the course of their programme.

A list of potential projects is available to give you some ideas.

More information