Global Development Studies

Global Development Studies is a globally oriented and interdisciplinary program that gives students a comprehensive view of the driving forces of social, economic, and environmental change across our interconnected planet. Designed to open up a wide range of career choices and options for further study, our undergraduate program connects the big-picture dynamics of a fast-evolving world with problem-solving approaches. This unique program provides our students with the professional and practical skill sets to better realize their commitment to making the world a better place.

Global Development Studies (DEVS) is an exciting field that examines political, economic and cultural changes from the grassroots to the global. What distinguishes DEVS at Queen’s is its interdisciplinary approach, working closely with Geography, Economics, Environmental Studies, History, Political Studies, Sociology and Gender Studies as well as the Queen’s Aboriginal Council to understand the nature of interactions between and within the countries of the North and the South. We examine issues such as poverty, cultural imperialism, human rights, social policy, and trade relations. Courses on Aboriginal communities in Canada further help students appreciate ‘development’ as a relationship rather than as a characteristic of particular places and people. DEVS also offers a unique study abroad opportunities such a 4-week course taught at the University of Havana (Cuba).

Top 3 Reasons to study Global Development:

  1. Students graduate with a unique set of skills which will enable them to transition seamlessly into a career or further studies. Our graduates enter the work force with strong critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills.
  2. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of the driving forces of social, economic, and environmental changes, while learning to creatively search for innovative solutions.
  3. Experience-based learning opportunities such as our DEVS 410 Work Study internship course refine practical skills for the workforce. Courses like DEVS 305 enhance cross-cultural understanding and communications skills while helping students understand the role of history and power in shaping our global world today.
“Expand your learning with as many seminars as possible. Not only will they give you fantastic ideas for those difficult papers, they will help you digest the interdisciplinary nature of Global Development Studies.”
                                                                                                                                   -Parisa Jiwa, BAH ‘11
Mackintosh-Corry Hall
Room number: 
Department Head: 
Marcus Taylor
Departmental Manager: 
Barbra Lalonde
Graduate Chair: 
Mark Hostetler
Undergraduate Chair: 
Paritosh Kumar
Academic Programs Assistant: 
Carrie Roosenmaallen
Niki Kaloudas
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH

Major in Development Studies
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Joint Honours in Development Studies

A dual course of study in Development Studies and any other Arts discipline.

Minor in Development Studies
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.

For a full list of Degree Plans, see the Academic Calendar

Graduate Degree Options

Global Development Studies - MA

Global Development Studies - PhD


DEVS 305 Cuban Society and Culture
Cuban Culture and Society is a full 6.0-unit undergraduate course. It is part of an exchange agreement between Queen's and the University of Havana. The aim is to introduce students to some of the main events and highlights of Cuban society, history, politics and culture, with a focus on the period from the Cuban revolution (1959) to the present. The course is approximately four weeks long, held in the Winter and Summer Terms, and is taught by an interdisciplinary team of faculty members. The first two weeks consist of seminars at Queen's and follow a structured reading list. The last two weeks of the course take place at the University of Havana in Cuba. Enrolment in the DEVS 305/6.0 course is through an application process. Application forms are available through the Global Development Studies Department,

Independent Work Study Abroad Program: DEVS 410/6.0 and DEVS 411/3.0
One of the most attractive features of the Development Studies program at Queen's is the opportunity it affords students to complete a placement in a development context and get hands-on field experience for credit. Many of our students maintain that their placement is the highlight of their academic career. Students have traveled to places such as Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Costa Rica, Laos, Ghana; have worked with organizations such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Oxfam, Shastri, Polaris Institute, World Bank, Canada World Youth, SOS Children's Village, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity; and have been engaged with projects as diverse as AIDS education, land erosion prevention, human rights, and new immigrants to Canada. The placement itself (18.0 units) usually takes place over the summer months following completion of the 3 year of study but requires per-departure training in the Winter Term. These units are not considered complete until the co-requisite Post-Placement Seminar (9.0 units) is completed in the following Fall Term. Enrolment in the DEVS 410/6.0 and DEVS 411/3.0 program is through an application process. Application forms are available through Global Development Studies Department,  Very limited funds are available through an application process to support internships but in general students are responsible for all costs.

Study in Shanghai
Courses taken in the Queen’s Semester in Shanghai program offered through the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures are pre-approved for transfer into DEVS plans.


Alumni Career Statistics

  • 10% of alumni work in MARKETING
  • 15% of alumni work in GOVERNMENT
  • 18% of alumni work in NON-PROFIT
  • 22% of alumni work in EDUCATION

A degree in Global Development Studies can take your career in many directions.

Where could Global Development Studies students go after graduation?

  • Agriculture
  • Business development
  • Community development
  • Corporate training
  • Disaster relief
  • Ecological restoration
  • Editor
  • Education
  • Ethics
  • Fair trade
  • Food security
  • Foreign affairs
  • Fundraising
  • Health administration community and public health
  • Human rights
  • Immigration
  • International development
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Public health
  • Public service, policy and administration
  • Radio and TV
  • Refugee settlement
  • Research
  • Social work
  • Tourism and trade
  • Trade
  • Translation
  • Urban and regional planning
Taking time to explore career options, build experience and network can help you have a smooth transition to the world of work after graduation. Note: Some of these careers may require additional training.

Career paths for Global Development Studies grads handout from Career Services >


Some of the popular courses in DEVS include those about Canada, such as Canada and the “Third World” and an Introduction to Aboriginal Studies. Global-oriented courses that are student favourites are AIDS, Power, and Poverty; Labour and Global Development; Business and Development; Global Environmental Transformations; and, Technology and Development. A very popular senior level course is the Work Placement in Development Studies which provides a first-hand experience working with an agency involved in international development, either in Canada or abroad, over a 10-20 week period.


Students apply to Queen’s Arts (QA) through the OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Centre) website ( ENG4U, plus five additional 4U/M courses. Applicants outside of Ontario may have additional requirements.

Global Development Studies (BAH)
OUAC Code:
QA (Kingston Campus)
QB (Concurrent Education, Kingston Campus)
QIA (The Castle)
QIB (Concurrent Education, The Castle)

 See full admission requirements

After first year, in May, students will declare their area of study (major, minor, specialization, e.g.). The thresholds are competitive year to year and do change. The 2017-18 thresholds for Global Development Studies are: 1.9 Cumulative GPA for PENDING LIST or 2.8 Cumulative GPA for AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE.

Information on plan selection


This fully online Queen’s certificate is for students seeking to better understand global development issues and contexts. And in particular, students that are looking to prepare for overseas work or volunteer and community engagement opportunities. Through a variety of online courses, students will work collaboratively to investigate development changes, critically reflect on the relationship between development theory and practice, and propose and evaluate action-oriented solutions. Through the certificate’s core courses, students will take an interdisciplinary approach to the exploration of concepts related to the political, economic, social and cultural forces that shape contemporary global interactions. Offered in partnership with Arts and Science Online

Delivery Mode: Online or on-campus

Number of Units: 18 units (3-6 courses)

Open to:

  • Current Arts and Science students (online or on-campus)
  • Current Engineering, Business, Health Science students
  • Alumni
  • Future Queen's students
  1. No more than 9.0 units of core and option courses may be counted toward the requirements of both the Certificate and another program.
  2. No more than 9.0 units of core and option courses may be transfer credits from outside Queen’s University.
  3. Student s may take both of DEVS 361/3.0; DEVS 362/3.0.


Current Arts and Science (online or on-campus) Students

Current Arts and Science (on-campus or online) Students Simply send an email  to the Student Services Team in Arts and Science and they will get it added to your student account.

Current Engineering, Business, Health Science Students

Simply send an email to the Student Services Team in Arts and Science and they will get it added to your student account.

Part-time, Off-campus, Future Queen's Students

If you aren't a Queen's student (yet) but would like to take this Certificate, it is available online, part-time through Arts and Science Online. Click here to apply.

Queen's Alumni

If you are a former Queen's undergraduate student, or if you have earned an undergraduate degree from Queen's, please request your Certificate by filling out the Return to Studies Form found here.


Global Development Studies offers an exciting opportunity for graduate students to further their academic training in this dynamic research field. Our interdisciplinary training offers a unique Master of Arts degree that builds from core strengths in the political economy of development and the cultural politics of development. In combining course-based learning with close supervision, the program provides students with key conceptual tools and broad thematic knowledge to undertake independent and critical research in a wide range of development issues.

Previous students within the program have used our training and supervision to undertake research on a wide range of themes: from issues of food security, aid policies and climate change to indigenous movements, health care provision and street children. Student projects have also covered a wide range of geographical regions: from Ontario to Bolivia, South Africa to Guatemala.

We offer the flexibility of a one-year course based option and a two-year thesis based option, with a diverse range of courses to supplement our core program. Financial support will be provided for students enrolled in the one-year course-based program. The current minimum level of funding is approximately $14,000 for the academic year September 1 – August 31. There is no guarantee that the stipend will remain at this level in future years. All Queen's graduate students in the first year of their program who bring new funding from one of Canada's three granting councils automatically receive a $5,000 Tri-Council Award as a top-up from the University. The $5,000 award is provided automatically and no application is needed.

The department offers an interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree in the field of Global Development Studies. The focus of our program is academic training for development research. To do so, we presently two parallel streams:

    • A course-based stream that ensures the development of conceptual thinking and analytical and interpretive skills, but does not require primary research. Instead, students will complete a Major Research Paper (MRP) of 50-60 pages, based on secondary research, dealing with a specific interdisciplinary question related to the field of development studies. Time required to complete the course-based program is 10-12 months.
    • A thesis-based stream that culminates in a full Master's thesis of between 75-100 pages defended before a committee of three examiners. The thesis will demonstrate the student’s ability to produce original work using primary data often (but not necessarily) gathered through fieldwork. Time required to complete the research-based program is 18-24 months.


As a DEVS student in 2010, Mira Dineen, went above and beyond and turned her class project into a book. Co-author of Persistent Poverty: Voices from the Margins, Dineen wrote the collection of stories about Ontarians living in poverty and also about the urgent need for a call to action for provincial welfare system reform. The project was part of a province-wide poverty audit organized by the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition.