About Us

What is Global Development Studies?

Since its inception in 1997, the Department of Global Development Studies (DEVS) at Queen's University has offered students and researchers a critical engagement with the field of development theory and practice.

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 four-week course taught at the University of Havana (Cuba).

Through our research and teaching we examine the history of ideas about 'development'. We explore the competing and contested meanings of the term and analyze the institutions and organizations that are integral to the apparatus of development at local, national and global levels.

Courses of Study

The Department offers a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in a major or medial and some students choose to take DEVS as a minor program of study. We are an interdisciplinary department, working closely with the departments of Geography, Economics, Environmental Studies, History, Political Studies, Sociology and Gender Studies as well as the Queen's Aboriginal Council. DEVS offers many of its own courses and draws on numerous courses in affiliated departments to round out its curriculum options.

DEVS offers a three-year Bachelor of Arts degree without honours. The plan details are similar to a DEVS Minor plan, except the students in a General plan are required to complete 90.0-units to complete their degree.

Students enter the program in second year and follow a set curriculum of core foundational courses but have great latitude in choosing electives around specific regions of the world and development themes. More detailed information about DEVS degrees can be found here and regarding DEVS courses, here.

Hands-on study is encouraged in DEVS, especially at the fourth-year level. Students have the option of doing a work study placement with a development organization or with an international exchange organized through a study-abroad program at another university. To date, DEVS students have traveled to such destinations as Bangladesh, Bolivia, Costa Rica, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Nepal, Nunavut, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, and Zanzibar. For more information, please see the Work Study Opportunities page on our website.

Program Learning Outcomes

At the end of their degree, students should feel they have acquired the ability to:

  • Critically assess the major political, economic, social and cultural forces that shape contemporary global interactions and competing visions of development, progress and social justice
  • Analyse the language, practices, ethics and debates prevalent in governments, development organisations, and social movements
  • Conduct independent research using different sources with critical reflection upon how knowledge is produced and mobilized for policy change or social transformation
  • Apply knowledge of interdisciplinary principles, critical thinking, research skills, imagination, insight and judgment to problem solving
  • Communicate ethically, responsibly, and effectively across settings with different audiences through essays, in-class presentations, seminars, peer instruction or mentoring, posters and policy briefs
  • Differentiate and critique key theorists of political economy, cultural politics, and critical research and action methodologies.
  • Think self-reflexively about Canada’s place in the world and the roles it plays in structures and cultures of global inequality
  • Implement cross-cultural awareness and originate ways to comport ourselves as global/”glocal” citizens
  • Extend knowledge to novel situations with the skills and motivation for continuous learning in an evolving world