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Specialisation: Development Studies

Development Studies


Department of Anthropology
Faculty of Arts

Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Development Studies
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)

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

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 28 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

Globalisation and Sustainable Development (4)
24cp from
Research Methods in Anthropology (4)
Race, Nation and Ethnicity (4)
Culture, Media and Ethnographic Practice (4)
Anthropology of Human Rights and Intervention (4)
Indigenous Interests and Identities (4)
Research Project: Thesis (8)
Social Movements, Knowledge and Development (4)
Short Research Project (4)
Culture, Commodities and Consumption: Anthropological Approaches to Economic Life (4)
Global Health (4)
Health and Sexuality in the Developing World (4)
Economic Development (4)
Sustainable Development: Introductory Principles and Practices (4)
Engaging Society with Sustainable Development (4)
Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (4)
Heritage and its Management (4)
Special Topic in Geography and Planning A (4)
Urban Social Impact Assessment (4)
Sustainable Urban Regions (4)
Environmental Impact Assessment (4)
The Politics of International Human Rights Law (4)
The International System (4)
Theories of International Relations (4)
Asia-Pacific Politics (4)
Indigenous Peoples and the Law (4)
Public and Global Health Law (4)
Languages and Cultures in Contact (4)
Health Policy (4)
Gender and Policy (4)
Public Policy and International Law (4)
Developing Social Policy (4)
Evaluation and the Policy Process (4)
Activism and Policy Design (4)
Social Care and Human Services (4)


Overview and Aims of the Program The Development Studies specialisation teaches you the diverse theories, methods and relationships that seek analyse and/or bring about targeted change in the lives of people around the world. It offers students an exciting combination of units and experiences that focus on the ways in which development operates as a paramount trope within international political, economic and cross-cultural relations. Central is the crucial role culture change plays in the opportunities and choices facing people in diverse parts of the world.

The aim of this speciality is to provide training for recent graduates and professionals who seek to develop their expertise and work in a wide range of fields related to development assistance, international aid, community development (local and international), humanitarian aid and change management in cross-cultural settings. The coherence of the program relies on the strong cross-disciplinary foundations of both Anthropology and Human Geography, which produce a clear focus on the cultural and geographical dimensions of development. While offering all students a common core of units, the Development Studies specialisation also offers students flexibility to further pursue interest areas through electives and individual research.
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. examine the historical and contemporary approaches to development and humanitarian aid, including the origins and rise of the development industry and the ethical implications of intervention during the colonial and post-colonial eras
2. identify how anthropologists and development scholars have theorised social, cultural, and economic change
3. evaluate the role and impact of policy, global institutions, international and grass-roots non‐governmental organizations, and major funders in development
4. assess development strategies and principals that encompass and respond to the expressed needs of communities at the local level and discuss the interactions between development agencies and target communities
5. critically and reflexively appraise the debates informing development, the motivations behind international aid, the factors shaping development processes and their outcomes and the attendant difficulties in delivery
6. explain the role of poverty, inequality, and structural violence in development, aid, and humanitarian contexts
7. recognize the critical issues of globalization and transnationalism by linking method and theory with the detailed case material and thematic studies that emerges from field research
8. design and implement a development studies research project to include the formulation of research questions, selection of methods, a synthesis of existing research, the analysis of data or findings, and the presentation of findings and their implications.
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:
• 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.
• 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 Department 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.

The Department will enact these strategies through the following teaching methods:
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 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:
• subjective examination methods (essays)
• self-assessment activities that help the student check to see if they mastered a topic
• individual or group presentations
• take-home essays ranging from short 250 word responses to 4000 word papers.
• portfolios and digital media projects that showcase student research and work over the course of a project
• fieldwork projects applying anthropological methods within the community, analysing the data and writing up or presenting the results
• recording of field-notes and reflective journaling
• interview projects wherein students conduct one or more interviews with willing participants and analyse the interview.
• 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. 

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 Graduates of the Global Health and 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

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

2018 Unit Information

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