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Development Studies

Submitted by myers on Wed, 03/31/2010 - 10:32am

The development studies program is managed by the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Degrees offered

What is development studies?

Development Studies is about social, economic and political change. You will examine issues such as poverty, hunger, environment and governance - here in Canada and around the globe. Through courses, research, and experiential learning, you will also study community development, sustainable and participatory development, colonialism, cultural beliefs, social justice, corruption and human rights.  These issues are both universal and culturally situated, so we study them at local, national and international levels.

We study a wide range of topics including culture, gender, communication, anthropology, geography, political science, economics, philosophy, history, religion, science and technology, which provides a broader perspective on societal problems.

You will discover the cultures, traditions and experiences of many communities and regions not just through academic learning but through exposure to other cultures.  There is the opprotunity to participate in overseas field studies courses, learn intercultural communication and language skills, as well as research skills useful for solving development issues. Classroom learning is also enhanced by opportunities for students to carry out community development projects with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social agencies.

Why is development studies important for Canadians?

In addition to learning about other cultures, the program contributes to your understanding of being a Canadian and a global citizen. The program is shaped by Canada's traditions of international citizenship and its leadership in development assistance. We explore Canadian values of governance and democracy, diversity, and environmental awareness, including those which pre-date European contact with North America.

Highlights of the program

  • Explore the factors shaping how a region develops through looking at concepts and issues such as poverty, colonialism and self-determination, human ecology and sustainable development, and technology as well as the role and impact of national and cultural institutions.
  • Travel to another country to study issues of development first-hand through the university's Study Abroad program. The travel study allows you to do a semester of coursework in places as diverse as India, Ghana or Mexico.
  • Study cross-cultural communication at the personal, organizational, societal, and international levels and explore issues of power, identity and influence.
  • Plan and carry out development projects in work teams for community development organizations in Calgary and learn practical skills, from project management to monitoring and evaluation to writing project reports.
  • Cooperative education- Paid work terms allow you to bring your academic training together with the world of work and learn first-hand what you can do with a degree in Development Studies.

Career paths 

Development Studies and other liberal arts degrees open doors to a wide range of professions and careers. Development Studies graduates have gone on to careers in the following areas and types of institutions:

  • Foreign Affairs Canada                                                        
  • Canadian International Development Agency
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • International literacy programs
  • Journalism
  • Education
  • International business
  • Tourism
  • Archivist
  • Business or Government Consultant
  • Economic Development Advisor
  • Government Relations Advisor
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Public Administration
  • Public Policy Advisor
  • Strategic Planner


Learn more about how to  apply to the development studies program.


For comprehensive advising on your program of studies, contact the Arts Students' Centre

For more details about the development studies program, contact:

Christopher Holdsworth
Program Co-ordinator

For more course information visit the University Calendar