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Major: Development Studies and Culture Change

Major Details

Development Studies and Culture Change


Department of Anthropology
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Identity and Difference: Introduction to Anthropology (3)
Geographies of Global Change (3)

200 level

Development Studies: The Anthropology of International Aid (3)
Geographies of Development (3)

300 level

Asia-Pacific Development (3)
Justice and Development (3)
3cp from
ANTH units at 300 level
3cp from
GEOP units at 300 level


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program A degree in Development Studies and Culture Change gives students an understanding of theoretical and practical problems involved in the study of culture and society and policy issues concerning how diverse peoples can find sustainable ways of development.

The Program integrates studies in anthropology and human geography, and offers options in both fields of interest. The unique focus on culture change is a response to real demand for an understanding of development and the subjective experiences of social, cultural and environmental change at different scales. The program provides opportunities for global education including study abroad, internship and volunteer positions through Macquarie International, PACE, and the Global Futures Program.

Development Studies and Culture Change at Macquarie University offers a stimulating education based on a critical engagement with questions of development, ecology, geography, politics, scale, globalisation, and social transformation, as they are experienced in a variety of sites around the globe. This program includes critical reflections on ‘development’ during colonial and postcolonial periods as well contemporary cultural, economic and social issues in a wide range of cultural contexts.

Unit conveners have a strong commitment to both teaching and research and years of first-hand experience, particularly within Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Course in this major cover a broad range of areas, including:
• Development Studies
• Geographies and Global Change
• Identity and Difference
• Humans in their Ecological Environment
• Cities and Planning
• Culture and Human Rights
• Justice and Development
• Foreign Policy
• Activism and Social Change.

The program also offers units on Australian indigenous cultures, Pacific cultures, Indian studies, drug use across cultures, psychological anthropology, myth and ritual, religion and spirituality, visual anthropology, and urban anthropology.
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 By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. recognise and assess common topics and theoretical approaches within anthropology, and human geography, and political ecology (K, T)
2. distinguish between the tenets of anthropological and geographical research, analysis, and writing and appreciate the importance of ethnographic and human ecological methods as the basis of research and theory (K, P, C)

3. analyse texts (print, oral, film, multimedia) and data sources from these three scholarly fields, and assess such information within their historical, social and theoretical contexts (K, I, T, P, C)
4. explain development and culture change and describe how human beings are shaped by interactions with their social, geographical, political and cultural environments (K, A)
5. explain processes of globalisation, culture change and the ways in which humans influence and are influenced by economic development (K, T, E, A)
6. evaluate development contexts in which relations of power, gender, ethnicity, race, religion and other forms of difference and exclusion configure identities and communities (K, T, C, E, A)
7. practice critical thinking and observation skills in analysing problems from a holistic perspective and articulate the interconnections in oral and written forms (T, P, C, E, A)

8. apply concepts related to development and cultural change from anthropology and human geography to a range of practical personal and professional situations, social, political, geographical and theoretical contexts (K, T, P, E, A, J).
Learning and Teaching Methods Learning and teaching in Anthropology and Human Geography takes place through a variety of methods and styles. Lectures, tutorials, and a range of assignments are designed to be lively and participative, and encourage students to challenge their assumptions, beliefs, and ideas. Anthropology and Human Geography both cater to a mixture of learning and teaching styles and students will have the opportunity to learn through individual and collaborative study, discussion, debate, research, practical applications, and self-directed methods.

Common strategies include:
• using learning activities that encourage students to draw upon personal knowledge of various issues and themes around development, this connecting theory and ideas to familiar experiences
• employing a variety of teaching and assessment formats that engage diverse learning styles and encourage student participation, discussion, and collaboration
• developing and presenting learning materials in written, oral and digital formats to support key concepts and knowledge
• facilitating inquiry and research-based assignments where students practice skills and apply knowledge to practical problems and contexts
• drawing upon the experience and expertise of the Departments’ staff and visiting scholars
• developing collaborative projects for students
• offering frequent assessments and feedback that identify student strengths and weaknesses and offer suggestions for improvement and further learning opportunities.

Anthropology and Human Geography will enact these strategies through the following teaching methods:
• Lectures: Staff and invited guest lecturers deliver information and other unit materials, 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.
• Tutorials: Smaller than lectures, tutorials allow for more interactive discussion of topics, lecture materials, readings, and student research and projects. They provide an opportunity to discuss or debate a topic usually following an introduction by the tutor or by one or more of the discussion. Group discussion is also used to ensure that all students participate and stimulate debate between groups.
• Seminars: Students have the opportunity to attend department seminars and events such as conferences. During such gatherings students will be exposed to innovative new research and ideas. Professionalisation seminars are also held to assist students with postgraduate study opportunities, networking, and familiarising students with employment strategies and opportunities.
• Independent Learning: Students will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of 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.
• 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.
• 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 reading and other materials are used.
Assessment • Exams to include subjective (essays) and objective assessment (multiple choice) questions;
• Quizzes to include subjective and objective questions;
• Self-assessment activities that help the students check to see if they master the topic;
• Ind
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. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

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 Professional anthropologists and human geographers work in a variety of areas of specialist teaching, geographical work, social work, consultancy for development, consultancy for resource development, demography, counselling, mapping, medical services, and the media. They work in organisations concerned with development, access to justice, community relations, demography, social surveys, socio-economic assessments, social impact assessments, and rural appraisal. They are employed by the resource development industry, in museums, in Aboriginal Land Councils, in legal aid organisations, and they contribute to policy development and shaping interventions in problematic regions. They are increasingly employed in the development sector, by government, non-government and multilateral aid agencies, as consultants and evaluators. They are also employed in the corporate world, for example in market research, as management consultants, and for consumer behaviour studies.
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

2017 Unit Information

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