Academic Calendar 2021-2022

Global Development Studies - Doctor of Philosophy

This is an archived copy of the 2021-2022 calendar. To access the most recent version of the calendar, please visit

The overarching objective of the PhD in Global Development Studies is to provide a coherent and sequenced programme of training to help graduate students acquire a range of transferable skills suited to academic and professional job markets. Alongside the primary academic skills of research, teaching, information management, communication, and critical analysis, the programme cultivates a broader spectrum of abilities. These include organisational skills such as project development and management, problem-solving techniques, working with partners, funding applications, and developing cross-cultural experiences.

The programme is designed to be completed within 48 months.

Year 1

  • Fall and Winter terms: Full time students take four courses (12 units) consisting of four classroom-based seminars during the first year. These include our core courses (DEVS 801, DEVS 802, DEVS 803) and one optional course from within DEVS or a cognate department.  In addition, students are enrolled in DEVS 950 a Professional Seminar in Development Studies that meets monthly.
  • Students who have already taken our core courses as part of their MA degree will be granted up to a 6.0 reduction in course load and will find alternate topics courses to complete the remaining course requirement in consultation with their supervisor and/or graduate chair. Spring and Summer terms: Students establish their supervisory committee, begin to prepare their comprehensive exam literature list, and consider the first stages of building their research proposal.

Year 2

  • First, they prepare for and complete their qualifying exams.
  • Second, as part of their qualifying exam process, the student also submits a course syllabus that they have prepared on their chosen research topic.
  • Third, on completing the comprehensive qualifying exams, the student submits and defends a formal research proposal that provides the analytical and methodological basis for their PhD research. This is examined orally by a committee of three faculty members, including the students’ supervisor and two assessors, at least one of which will be from within DEVS. After defending their PhD proposal, the student will progress to fieldwork (if applicable).
  • Typically, qualifying exams are held in the fall term of year 2 (Term 4)

Year 3

  • Students complete field research and/or equivalent data collection. In consultation with their supervisor and committee, they begin to write draft chapters towards their thesis.
  • Students begin to plan a program of knowledge mobilisation in conjunction with their supervisor. 

Year 4

  • Students write up their PhD thesis, which they submit for defence, allowing for a completion date within the stipulated 48 months from the beginning of the program.
  • Students pursue a program of knowledge mobilisation under supervisory guidance – seeking to present their work at suitable academic/non-academic conferences.
  • Students make  short presentations to the incoming PhD students illustrating the strategies developed, challenges faced and outcomes of conducting doctoral research.

Internship Support

For students seeking to undertake an internship component to their PhD degree, the department encourages, supports, and recognises this is an important means of generating experience and knowledge. In this respect, a research-orientated internship would be an acceptable replacement for more-standard academic research, and the student would be aided in searching for a suitable internship. Students that undertake an internship are encouraged to devote a chapter of their thesis to reflecting critically upon their experience.