UNSW Australia

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Master of Development Studies


UNSW Sydney, NSW

Sydney, New South 2052


Program Information

Degrees Offered:

Master of Development Studies

Format: Campus

Program Description:

The program is underpinned by a philosophy of human rights, social justice, community development and participatory approaches. Students develop superior knowledge, analytic skills and conceptual frameworks with which to understand and negotiate the complexities of international and social development. They gain insights into the geopolitical, economic, social, ethical, and cultural contexts in which development takes place or is constrained. The program is taught by a team of experienced and respected academics who are at the forefront of key aspects of national and international development practice. Their ongoing field work in a wide range of countries informs the content and teaching of the program, contributes to their critique of the development field and influences policy and practice at a local and global level.

Students have unique opportunities to put theory into practice through international and local internship opportunities and other special project and research experiences.

The program will be of value to those who see themselves playing a role in understanding, and promoting development, whether from a community, government, civil society, donor, academic or other organizational role. It is designed to address the professional career needs of development specialists as well as providing an orientation to international development for professionals from other background seeking entry into this growing and dynamic field. The program also offers high achieving students a pathway to higher degree research through the completion of a professional research project.

This program combines the strengths of the previous Master of Social Development and Master of Arts in Development Studies; it continues to develop to address the changing needs of this field in Australia, the region and globally.

The Master of Development Studies equips students with practical professional skills which can be applied to a broad range of career options within the development field. Students can build diverse and rewarding career paths in local and international development, from practice-based roles to research and policy within education and government. Our graduates can be found in local and international development agencies, the United Nations, policy and advocacy groups, community based organizations and government organizations locally and internationally. Our alumni have been actively involved in further developing and shaping the field and the actors and organizations engaging with it.

Students are able to choose from two streams consisting of core courses and electives. A wide range of
electives are offered which are underpinned by human rights and social justice principles and a community development approach.

A specialist program in development policy and practice with an international focus. Students develop superior knowledge, critical and analytic skills and approaches to understanding and engaging with policy, planning, program delivery and practice. Coursework and research and practice experiences are relevant to local and international social and community development, “aid” work and human rights. Students study five core courses and have a wide range of choice from which to select three electives – including a number offered through International Relations, Policy Studies, Law, Public Health, or Environmental Management.

A specialist program in development practice with a focus on refugees and other displaced persons. Students develop a broad range of knowledge, critical and analytical skills and approaches in policy, planning, program delivery and practice relevant to international and local social and community development work with refugees and other displaced persons. Students study six core courses and two electives.



International Student Requirements:

• Undergraduate degree with performance at credit level or better • Minimum one year full-time (or equivalent) experience in development area • Submission of CV outlining experience

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: Yes

International Financial Aid: Yes

Classification: Non-U.S. Higher Ed. Institution (Not Carnegie Classified)

Locale: {Not available}

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