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Development Studies

What is Development Studies?

A multidisciplinary subject, Development Studies examines the patterns, practices, policies and theories associated with inequalities in world development. The discipline pays particular attention 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 change.

Why Study Development Studies

People who are concerned about human rights, social and economic inequalities, and who want to make a difference in the world are drawn to Development Studies. Globally and in New Zealand, there is a need for suitably qualified and skilled people to help redress these imbalances. Domestic and international organisations such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) need graduates with a good understanding of development policies and practices. Students have the opportunity to direct their degree studies in ways that bring together the knowledge of many different disciplines for positive change in a complex world.

What Skills Do Development Studies Graduates Have?

  • Communication
  • Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Conceptual Skills
  • Creativity
  • Multidisciplinary Approach
  • Research
  • Self-Reflection

Where Do Development Studies Graduates Work?

The field of development and international aid is immense. Many roles are suitable for new graduates. Others require years of experience as well as qualifications.

Careers may include: public sector research and policy analysis; NGO and humanitarian work; advocacy/lobbying; education; development programme planning and/or implementation; managing volunteers; local and international journalism; immigration and refugee services; travel and tourism work; cross-cultural relations consultancy; public relations and communications; urban planning; international development; public health; community work; English language teaching abroad; local government advisory work; social science, environmental and climate change research among others.

Across public and private sectors employment options are diverse and exciting. In development work passion is a pre-requisite and people are motivated largely by their values and principles. From entry-level through to senior positions, the abilities to understand and work with others are essential, along with well-developed communication and thinking skills. Expertise in finance, information technology, human resources, management and administration, science and law is also sought after. A double major or double degree can be very useful.

Job Titles

Following is a list of sample job titles reported in graduate employment destination surveys. Some roles may require additional qualifications and training.

  • Communications and marketing assistant
  • Communications and programme assistant
  • Communications officer/advisor
  • Community liaison advisor
  • Development coordinator
  • Development officer
  • Education/ Information officer
  • Environmental specialist
  • Employment equity advisor
  • Events coordinator
  • Fundraising assistant/manager
  • Food security advisor/consultant
  • International aid and development officer
  • Marketing assistant/manager
  • Media support officer
  • Native affairs officer
  • Policy analyst/advisor
  • Planning officer/advisor
  • Project monitoring and evaluation advisor
  • Programme assistant
  • Programme planner
  • Researcher

Further information about Development Studies can be found in the Development studies Career View (471 KB PDF)

More information on Development Studies can be found on the Victoria University website.