Development Studies

Overview

Providing specialist studies in international development

The Master of Development Studies at UNSW is a flexible and interactive postgraduate degree that provides specialist studies in international development at the local, national and international level.

This Masters program will suit the professional needs of those already working as development specialists, as well as providing an orientation to international development for those seeking entry into the field.

Our postgraduate courses are based on a philosophy of human rights, social justice, community development and participatory approaches.

Program outcomes

The Master of Development Studies enables students to build diverse and rewarding career paths in local and international development, from practice-based roles to research and policy within education and government.

Through your study you will negotiate the analytic framework necessary to understand and negotiate the complexities of the geopolitical, economic, social, ethical, and cultural contexts in which development takes place.

As a Development Studies student, you will study alongside a team of academics who are at the front line of national and international development practice.

Structure

The Master of Development Studies is structured to acknowledge and recognise the skills that individuals bring to their postgraduate education.

More experienced students will undertake a streamlined degree for 1 year (48 units of credit) while students with less professional experience will study for 1.5 years (72 units of credit). 

Starting in 2017, students with no experience will study for 2 years (96 units of credit).


1 year plan or part-time equivalent (48 units of credit)

This is for students who have completed a relevant Honours degree or Graduate Diploma (or equivalent), or those who have completed a relevant Bachelor degree and one year relevant professional experience.

Please read the entry requirements section (see below) for full eligibility criteria.

The 1 year plan allows suitably experienced students to fast track their postgraduate study, completing their Master of Development Studies in just one year. During this period, students will complete 48 units of credit, usually 8 courses.

What will you study?

  • Core Research Courses (6-12 units of credit)
    • Research Methods and Design,
    • And Research Report OR Research Project
  • Core Disciplinary Courses (18 units of credit)
    • International Development Policy,
    • Community Development,
    • And NGOs and Development OR Development, Rights and Health
  • 2-3 electives (12-18 units of credit) from the full list of Master of Development Studies options

1.5 year plan or part-time equivalent (72 units of credit)

This is for students who have completed a relevant Bachelor degree (or equivalent) but have limited professional experience.

Students who have completed undergraduate studies in any discipline but have professional experience in a relevant field, or an Honours degree or Graduate Diploma in any discipline may also be eligible.

Please read the entry requirements section (see below) for full eligibility criteria.

The 1.5 year plan will deepen your contextual knowledge of development studies before developing more advanced competencies and skills. During the program, students complete 72 units of study, usually 12 courses.

What will you study?

  • Core Research Courses (24-36 units of credit)
    • Research Methods and Design,
    • Theory, Ethics and Research,
    • Academic Writing in Social Sciences,
    • And Research Report OR Research Project
  • Core Disciplinary Courses (18 units of credit)
    • International Development Policy,
    • Community Development,
    • And NGOs and Development OR Development, Rights and Health
  • 4-5 electives (24-30 units of credit) from the full list of Master of Development Studies options

2 year plan or part-time equivalent (96 units of credit) - New for 2017

This is for students who have completed any Bachelor degree (or equivalent) and do not have any relevant work experience.

Students who are eligible for the 1 year and/or 1.5 year streams are also permitted to study the 2 year stream.

What will you study?

  • Core Research Courses (24-30 units of credit)
    • Research Methods and Design,
    • Theory, Ethics and Research,
    • Academic Writing in Social Sciences,
    • And Research Report OR Research Project
  • Core Disciplinary Courses (18 units of credit)
    • International Development Policy,
    • Community Development,
    • And NGOs and Development OR Development, Rights and Health
  • 7-8 electives (42-48 units of credit) from the full list of Master of Development Studies options

Entry requirements

Students must meet one of the following selection criteria for entry to the 1 year or 1.5 year Master of Development Studies program.


1 year plan

  • Honours degree or Graduate Diploma* (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant discipline with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) or,
  • Bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant discipline with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%), plus 1 year relevant professional experience

1.5 year plan

  • Bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant discipline with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%) or,
  • Bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) in any discipline with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%), plus 1 year relevant professional experience
  • Honours degree or Graduate Diploma* (or equivalent qualification) in any discipline with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average (65%)

2 year plan

  • Bachelor degree (or equivalent qualification) in any discipline with a record of academic achievement equivalent to a UNSW credit average of 65%

Relevant disciplines and experience

Relevant disciplines include: Social Sciences, Humanities, Business, Economics, Law, Public Health, Communications and Social Work.

Relevant professional experience include: work or volunteer experience in community, social and economic development, social research and policy, public health, the environment, displacement, poverty alleviation, human rights and advocacy based programs and projects. This can be developed through working for relevant organisations including non-governmental, social service, community- based, philanthropic, United Nations or inter-governmental agencies or local, state and federal governments departments.


Entry score calculator

Not sure if your past academic achievements are equivalent to a UNSW credit average?

Use the UNSW postgraduate coursework Entry Score calculator to convert and scale other types of grading schemes into a percentage relatable to UNSW entry requirements.

The results will help you determine whether your undergraduate grades make you competitive for entry to postgraduate coursework programs at UNSW.

Careers

Developing a rewarding career

Graduates of the Master of Development Studies can build diverse and rewarding career paths in local and international development.

You will be equipped with practical professional skills which can be applied to a diverse array of career options which relate to development, from practice-based roles to research and policy within education and government.

The Master of Development Studies 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 or other organisational role.

Development studies in the field

Our graduates can be found in:

  • local and international development agencies
  • the United Nations
  • policy and advocacy groups
  • community based organisations
  • government organisations locally and internationally.

Our alumni have been actively involved in further developing and shaping the field and the actors and organisations engaging with it.

Opportunities

Undertaking a research project

Students who maintain a distinction average in their first semester of study can apply to undertake a Professional Practice Research Project* worth 12 units of credit.

This involves completing an empirical or conceptual research project with a topic directly related to professional practice in the field of International Development or Refugees and Displacement.

*Entry to research project courses is at the discretion of the program convenor.

UNSW handbook

Degree program structure and academic rules information:


If you are a current student, please refer to the Online Handbook in the year you commenced your degree.


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Apply nowContact us
Domestic International
8942
1, 1.5 or 2* (*2017) FT
February, July
Master
48, 72 to 96* (*2017)
30 Nov, 31 May - Late applications will be considered
Yes
On Campus, Day and/or Night
UNSW Fees