School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

 Global Development Studies


"By studying within such a small and new program I was able to design my curriculum in accordance with my research interests. Furthermore, I was able to work directly with professors who inspired me to work harder and expand my realms of reflection. ”
Sara Korosi, M.A., 2013

"Coming back to school for the DEVS M.A. program complemented my law degree, giving me an extra professional edge and allowing me to do the sort of human rights work I’ve always wanted to do."
Adam Houston, M.A., 2013

Program Contact

Carrie Roosenmaallen
Graduate Assistant
Global Development Studies
Mackintosh Corry Hall, Room B401
Kingston, ON, Canada K7L3N6

Phone: 613.533.6000 ext. 77626

Program Overview

The department of Global Development Studies at Queen’s is one of the premier locations in Canada for conducting research in the field of development studies. Using a variety of interdisciplinary methods, our faculty ask what development means and how is it practiced in an increasingly complex and evolving global context. With a core emphasis on questions of social justice, we explore this exciting and evolving field by examining processes of political, economic and cultural change from the grassroots to the global. Our Master’s and PhD programs combines these key concerns with strong pedagogy and cutting-edge research to enable students to undertake their own explorations of issues and controversies in the field. Building from departmental strengths in the political economy of development and the cultural politics of development, we offer a stimulating environment in which to conduct research and engage in cross-cultural learning experiences. Our students work on diverse subjects that link the global North and the global South, ranging from trade, aid and finance through to cultural production, gender and indigenous studies.


The Master’s and PhD programs are Global Development Studies is uniquely research orientated. It provides students with the critical concepts and comparative approaches that enable them to create and carry out research projects on development-related topics. This training not only equips students with the global insights and critical thinking tools necessary for further studies in the social sciences, it also gives them an edge for future careers in areas such as law, media, foreign affairs, international business and aid work. To do this, we offer a clearly defined core curriculum that guides students through essential debates in the field. In addition, we provide topics courses on a range of relevant issues that cover diverse methodological perspectives and geographical settings. Alongside courses taught within the department, students have the opportunity to take graduate courses offered by cognate departments including Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, Geography, History, Philosophy, Political Studies, Religion and Sociology. Additionally, there is a wide array of available courses in other faculties and programs, including the Faculty of Education, School of Business, School of Policy Studies, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Cultural Studies, Industrial Relations and Public Health.

Career paths – employment opportunities

Our alumni are working throughout the world and across Canada.  Many choose to work with development agencies such as Global Affairs Canada and Amnesty International, or with United Nations bodies. Some are involved in government policy making. Others have gone into journalism, television and documentary film making. A number of graduates have become teachers in Canada and abroad, and many have completed professional degrees in law or business. Some have continued their studies and are now professors themselves. Several students have started their own non-profit development agencies and many are working in the private sector in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

Master of Arts in Global Development Studies

  • Course-based option: 1 year
  • Research-based option: 2 years

All students are initially accepted into the one year course-based M.A. They may apply to convert to the two-year research-based M.A. by January 15.

PhD in Global Development Studies - 4 years

Method of Completion

Master's Course-based option: Course work, major research paper

Master's Research-based option: Course work, written thesis and oral defense

PhD - Course work, comprehensive exam, Dissertation.

Fields of Study & Supervisors
  • Diana Córdoba:  Political ecology; critical agrarian studies; social justice; environmental sustainability; Latin America
  • Karen Dubinsky: Canadian/Cuban relations, Cuban music, child migration, Canadian history
  • Colleen Davison: Global and indigenous health, child rights, “last mile” methods
  • Marc Epprecht: Environment, health, social history in southern Africa; gender and sexuality
  • Allison Goebel: Gender, environment and development, women, health and environmental justice
  • Rebecca Hall: Resource extraction; feminist political economy; Indigeneity and de/coloniality
  • Mark Hostetler: Political ecology; sustainability research; livelihoods approaches
  • Reena Kukreja: Feminist Political Economy, Migration, Masculinities, Postcolonial Feminism, South Asia, Caste, Community-based Research
  • Paritosh Kumar: Agriculture, genetic resources; tradition, modernity and religious revivalism in India
  • David McDonald: Public services, urbanization, water, energy, health, political theory, finance
  • Celeste Pedri-Spade: visual anthropology and material culture; Indigenous art, photography and worldviews; Indigenous qualitative research; and colonialism/decolonization
  • Fahim Quadir: South-South cooperation, democracy and regional development
  • Bernadette Resurrección: Feminist political ecology; Natural resource management, climate change and livelihoods; Sustainability transitions
  • Dylan Robinson: Politics of Indigenous inclusion and recognition in the arts
  • Scott Rutherford:  Canadian history, social movements, settler-colonialism, cultural politics of development in North America.
  • Ariel Salzmann:  world regions, disciplines, past and present
  • Sarah Shulist:  Linguistic anthropology, language revitalization, Indigenous languages
  • Susanne Soederberg: Global political economy; debt; housing insecurity; urban displacements; finance
  • Marcus Taylor: Political ecology; climate change; agriculture; livelihoods; rural development.
  • Kyla Tienhaara: Trade and investment; corporations and development; green industrial policy
Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

Masters- approximately $16,000 in 2018/19 (for the one year course based program), but will vary from year to year depending on the availability of the teaching assistantships and graduate award monies. Funding is guaranteed for one year; limited funding may be available for second year of the research based option.

PhD - all eligible doctoral students at Queen's are guaranteed minimum funding of $18,000 per year for 4 years.

We encourage you to apply for additional funding through external scholarships (SSHRC, CIHR, OGS, etc.) and you may be nominated for internal fellowships and awards. Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a $5,000 (Masters) or $10,000 (doctoral)  top-up award by Queen’s.

Academic Prerequisites

A minimum B+ average from a recognized four-year undergraduate program (or equivalent) is required. Relevant degrees may include: development studies, politics, history, sociology, geography, economics, gender studies, environmental studies, literature, film, religion, and aboriginal  studies. Students from traditionally unrelated fields (engineering, education or nursing) may also be considered for admission if the applicant has completed sufficient course work in the field.

We consider your overall grades over your last two years.

For the PhD an MA degree from a recognized university in a social science field or discipline relevant to the area of development studies.

Other Requirements

Additional selection criteria may include:

  • Experience in development practice; written and/or spoken language skills other than English (particularly languages spoken in the global South or in aboriginal communities in Canada).
  • A summary of a major research topic and a potential supervisor

Test Requirements

For international students, if required, a TOEFL total score of at least 600 (paperbased) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline: January 31 to be considered for internal funding. We may consider late applications on a case-by-case basis

Notification of Acceptance: March and April.

Learning Outcomes

Grad Maps

View the Grad Maps for this department and all graduate degrees on the Career Services website


Hannah Ascough Hannah Ascough
Global Development
Stories of Perseverance...
Sara Korosi Sara Korosi
Global Development
A track record of ambitious involvement...