Development Studies

The Master, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate of Development Studies provide students with knowledge and skills for achieving sustainable solutions to poverty and deprivation in the Developing World. The core of the programs explores debates about development, the history of the idea, and the range of organisations, approaches and programs associated with development. The core units are built around an understanding of the key concepts ‘market’, ‘nation state’ and ‘civil society’; critiques of development history and projects; and, the way development is embedded in the challenges and politics of cultural and linguistic difference.

Units of study include the core units (Development: Civil Society and Well-Being, Development: Communication and Education, and Rethinking Poverty); core elective units (Development Project Evaluation, Culture and Politics of Health Development, Dynamics of Human Rights Violations, and Human Rights and International Development) as well as elective units.

The programs recognise the variety of substantive knowledge and technical skills brought to bear on development. Elective units may be chosen from a range of University of Sydney Masters level programs, and include internship units that aim to give students practical skills to enable them to work effectively in the development sector

Graduate employment

The pathways into and beyond a qualification in Development Studies are diverse.

  • For some students the programs extend an already established professional expertise (e.g. education, economics, finance, media and communications) into the area of development;
  • For others already employed in government or non-government organisations concerned with development, both local and international, they provide a broader critical perspective on their area of employment and a higher credential;
  • For those enrolling soon after completing an undergraduate degree, the interdisciplinary, problem oriented structure of the programs provides further education focused on ideas and skills relevant to future employment, particularly if students take advantage of the internship offerings;
  • Some students already have connections to development organisations from travel, volunteering and internships and this experience can be built on through the programs.

The expertise, training, interests and experience that students bring to the programs determine the variety of career trajectories that graduates take. Our Master graduates are in a strong position to seek employment in government, non-government and private sector organisations concerned with a wide range of development and poverty alleviation programs.


Dr Robbie Peters
Director of Development Studies
Phone: + 61 2 9036 9399

Department of Anthropology Prize for Development Studies