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Master of Development Studies


Faculty of Arts
Master of Development Studies (MDevStud)
Admission Requirement:
• Australian level 7 bachelor's qualification or recognised equivalent in social sciences, behavioural or health sciences (with a social science background), or a related discipline
• GPA of least 4.0 (out of 7.00) or overseas equivalent
English Language Proficiency:
Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with minimum 6.0 in each band, or equivalent
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Candidature Length:
Full-time: 1 year - 1.5 years depending on RPL granted
North Ryde — Session 1 (25 February 2019)
Volume of Learning:
Equivalent to 1.5 years
General requirements:
Minimum number of credit points at 800 level or above 48
Completion of other specific minimum requirements as set out below

In order to graduate students must ensure that they have satisfied all of the general requirements of the award.

Specific minimum requirements:

Credit points

800 level

Applied Anthropology: Why Does Culture Matter? (4)
Development Theory and Practice (4)
Culture, Health and Disease (4)
Research Methods in Anthropology (4)
Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (4)
Short Research Project (4)
Special Topic in Geography and Planning A (4)
1 specialisation
AQF Level Level 9 Masters by Coursework Degree
CRICOS Code 092113G
Overview and Aims of the Program The Master of Development Studies at Macquarie University provides students with a unique opportunity to gain valuable skills and training in the fields of development or global health. Committed to research and teaching at the intersections of anthropology, development studies, human geography and global health, our goal is to train and equip scholars and practitioners with the knowledge and innovative skills needed to address development and health related issues in our globalized world.

Our approach is characterized by an emphasis on the interactions between the larger global forces shaping health and development and the community and individual experiences and responses to these forces. We thus offer a space for students to theoretically frame and practically address the social, cultural, environmental and political-economic dynamics within development, humanitarian and global health practice and how these dynamics coalesce and affect people's lives.

Students take foundational classes in development, research methodology, medical anthropology and applied anthropology. Students choose a specialisation in Development Studies, Global Health or Environment (see specialization descriptions), complete a comprehensive coursework program and have the option to engage in an applied, research driven project. The program enables students to gain valuable analytic skills and hands-on experience in ethnographic or social impact assessment methodologies, both increasingly sought after skills in global health and development careers within government, NGOs, the private sector, research and multilateral organizations.

The Master of Development Studies program is designed for students coming from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Graduates from the social sciences, and behavioral or health science graduates with some social science background or those with work experience as a development professional, or social worker would be successful in immersing themselves within our cross-disciplinary dialogue, practice-based learning, and application of theory to development and health challenges.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes 1. Identify and evaluate the central issues in global health and development studies, including historical and contemporary trends, determinates, methods and theories.
2. Describe the relationship between poverty, inequality, health and development.
3. Develop culturally relevant professional leadership skills to work collaboratively to set priorities, identify issues, and address the practical problems within large and small organizations.
4. Conduct independent research characterized by methodological and theoretical rigor and practical value, and communicate research findings and their implications to academic, professional, policy and lay audiences.
5. Appraise the role of applied anthropological methods and theory as applied to social transformation in the post-colonial world and apply theories and insights to practical issues.
6. Critically analyze the current literature, evaluate the evidence, synthesize findings, draw inferences, and apply theoretical and conceptual models from a range of relevant disciplines.
7. Interpret the role that cultural, social and political-economic processes play in shaping development and global health outcomes and critically examine the role of power, gender, poverty, inequality and changing identities, for example, across sociocultural and geographic contexts.
8. Explain and apply the principals of ethical and responsible conduct of research in the design, implementation and dissemination of global health and development research and programs.
9. Assess and critically reflect on one’s social and cultural identity to identify the biases and assumptions that underline representations (including one’s own) of, for example, culture, social phenomena, vulnerability, development, globalization and poverty.
Learning and Teaching Methods Learning and teaching in the Anthropology Department takes place through a variety of methods and styles. Lectures, seminars, and a range of assignments are designed to be lively, participative, interactive, and encourage you to challenge your assumptions, beliefs, and ideas. The Department caters to a variety of learning styles and students will have the opportunity to learn through individual and collaborative study, discussion, debate, research, practical application, and self-directed methods.
Common strategies include:
o Using learning activities that encourage students to draw upon personal knowledge of various issues and themes under scrutiny, thus connecting anthropological theory and ideas to familiar experiences.
o Employing a variety of teaching and assessment formats that engage diverse learning styles and encourage student participation, discussion, and collaboration.
o Developing and presenting learning materials in written, oral and digital formats to support key concepts and knowledge.
o Facilitating inquiry and research-based assignments where students practice skills and apply knowledge to practical problems and contexts.
o Drawing upon the experience and expertise of Department staff and visiting scholars.
o Developing collaborative projects for students.
o Offering frequent assessments and feedback that identify student strengths and weaknesses and offer suggestions for improvement and further learning opportunities.
The Department will enact these strategies through the following teaching methods:
o Lectures: staff and invited guest lecturers deliver information and other unit material, provide demonstrations, and offer invaluable information that is used to further individual and group study. Lecturers are frequently interactive, integrate multimedia and allow students to ask questions and offer their own examples.
o Seminars: seminars allow for more interactive discussion of topics, material, student research and projects, and assigned readings. They provide an opportunity to discuss or debate a topic usually following an introduction by the tutor or by one or more students. In addition to their units, students have the opportunity to attend Department seminars and events. During research seminars, students will be exposed to innovative new research and ideas. Professionalization seminars are held to assist with career preparation, postgraduate study opportunities, networking, and familiarizing students with employment strategies and opportunities.
o Independent Learning: students will have the opportunity to engage in a variety self-directed study and research projects. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in University programs that facilitate practical learning opportunities and study abroad.
o Group Learning: students will work within small teams or study groups on selected assignments and class projects. Group work enables students to develop valuable team working skills, peer networks, and experience working with individuals holding diverse perspectives.
o Online Media: students will have access to a variety of on-line resources to facilitate and enrich their learning process. For example, study and tutorial aids, case studies, videos, discussion forums, and supplementary on-line readings and other materials are used.
Assessment Students will be assessed through a diverse set of tools that take into account a range of learning styles. For example:
o subjective examination methods (essays)
o self-assessment activities that help the student check to see if they mastered a topic
o individual or group presentations
o take-home essays ranging from short 250 word responses to 4000 word papers.
o portfolios and digital media projects that showcase student research and work over the course of a project
o fieldwork projects applying anthropological methods within the community, analysing the data and writing up or presenting the results
o recording of field-notes and reflective journaling
o interview projects wherein students conduct one or more interviews with willing participants and analyse the interview
o participation and observation exercises where students apply ethnographic skills.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates of the Development Studies program are qualified to work in government, non-governmental, humanitarian, disaster relief and multilateral aid organizations or other groups concerned with human rights, indigenous issues, migration and women’s development programs, for example. Graduates are qualified to provide analysis and recommendations regarding community and development projects, feasibility studies, reviews, evaluations and social impact studies for development projects both in Australia and abroad. They are also qualified to participate directly in field research, development, humanitarian and human rights field projects. Program graduates might serve as in-country field consultants, immigrant or refugee assistance organizations and lending agencies that do work in developing countries. Some development specialists work as private consultants to Aboriginal Land Councils and contribute to policy development and shaping interventions. They are also qualified to work in specialist teaching, social work and welfare professions. Global health specialists can find employment in many of the above areas as well as health research, policy, medical services, maternal and child health services, public nutrition and food security programs, research and evaluation. The demand for qualified individuals is increasing and new programs and initiatives are constantly being created through various organizations, ranging from HIV/AIDS prevention to programs addressing violence against women. In the global health and development fields, employment opportunities increase for those that possess at least a graduate degree and field experience (work and/or research) and have a region and topic of focus.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Accreditation This is an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) accredited qualification.

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148