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Master of Development Studies – MDevStud

Course content

Increase your expertise and make a positive contribution to development practice around the world. Examine the theories and practices associated with inequalities in world development, and investigate the enormous differences between the living standards of people worldwide and what we can do about them.

Look at the relationships between people and institutions, developed and developing societies, and consider the effect these relationships have on the processes of social, political, economic and environmental transformation.

Postgraduate Development Studies is designed to suit people from a wide range of disciplines and occupations. If you have work experience in community and international development, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, or want to work in the area in the future, postgraduate Development Studies is a good choice for you.

Overseas research opportunities

You'll be encouraged to spend some time in a developing country as part of your postgraduate study—you can complete your Master's thesis based on your work in a developing country.

Past research has been done in countries such as Cambodia, Chile, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Laos, Peru, the Philippines, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Current issues and possible research areas in Development Studies include:

  • environmental change
  • gender equity
  • globalisation
  • human rights
  • inequality
  • international aid
  • participation and democracy
  • poverty.

You'll be part of an active and dynamic culture of world-class research. Work with experienced staff who are internationally renowned in their fields. Choose an area of research that interests you.

Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies

If you're wanting to study without doing a thesis, you can enrol for the Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies (PGDipDevStud).

It's a great option if you're already in the workforce and are looking to update or build your skills, or if you're a recent graduate wanting to expand on your undergraduate degree.


The Master of Development Studies can be completed in two years of full-time study or in four years if you are studying part time.

The Postgraduate Diploma will take you one year of full-time study or two years part time.


If you are studying full time, you can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of the year. Part-time students doing two courses per trimester will need to do around 20–23 hours of work a week. Make sure you take this into account if you are working.

You can estimate your workload by adding up the number of points you'll be doing. One point is roughly equal to 10–12 hours work.

How you'll study

You should plan your course of study with the programme coordinator before you enrol.

Master's programme

The first year of the Master of Development Studies consists of four core courses. You'll look at the theories of development, professional practice and technique, and the concepts and tools of development policy.

Development Research (DEVE 514) will prepare you for your thesis. You'll cover research methodology for development fieldwork and put together a full research proposal for your thesis, which you'll submit at the end of the course.

You'll also do a further 60 points of approved 400- and 500-level courses. You'll need to work towards an average of B+ grades in your first year.

In your second year you'll research and write your thesis. Your thesis has a maximum of 40,000 words which is around 120—150 pages.

Diploma programme

The PGDipDevStud follows the same requirements as the first year of the Master's—five core courses and a further 60 points of approved 400- and 500-level courses.

With permission from the programme coordinator, you may be able to replace DEVE 514 with another approved course.


Postgraduate study at Victoria will help you build valuable relationships and networks with peers, university staff and future colleagues. You'll have opportunities to attend events, seminars, workshops and social functions.

The Postgraduate Students' Association can also give you information on study at Victoria and provides a voice for you on campus.




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Recipient: Victoria University of Wellington

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