Welcome to Development Studies & Population Studies
Development Studies and Population Studies aim to be world leaders in the study of the political economy of development and demography, and in the pursuit through research, training and activism of social and economic justice, both locally and globally.
What is Development Studies?
Development Studies addresses key economic, political and social concerns - inequality and poverty, uneven or inadequate economic growth, maldistribution of resources and institutional failures. Development Studies critically examines the role and efficacy of state policies, and interventions by other social actors, in addressing these problems. The field of Development Studies focuses especially, but not exclusively on these concerns, as they apply to developing countries.
What is Population Studies?
Population Studies is a broad social science discipline concerned with the study of human populations in relation to their size, composition and geographical distribution, the changes which occur in these over time and the factors associated with these changes. The discipline emphasises the empirical investigation of population processes, including the conceptualisation and measurement of these processes and the study of their determinants and consequences. Population studies is also concerned with the broader nature of social and economic change, and with the impact of demographic change on the natural environment. The concepts of population studies have an important role to play in understanding of social change. Population Studies is an essential component of many activities, social and market research, physical and environmental use planning, administration, and in particular people-centred development planning.
Specialising in critical, interdisciplinary analysis of development theory, policy and practice, we offer several post-graduate degrees - by coursework and research - with the rigour, flexibility and currency matching any comparable programme. Programmes offered are a course-work or dissertation Masters degree in Development Studies or Population Studies. In addition, the School has a thesis-based PhD programme. For an on the ground glimpse at what it is like to study in our programmes, see our YouTube clip.
With expertise in political economy, political ecology, population studies, social policy and civil society, Population Studies and Development Studies staff are positioned to critically engage in debates and strategy over development theory and practice, as well to provide critique and alternatives to current orthodoxies. Our orientation to engaging state agencies, NGOs, labour and social movements, business and international institutions makes us one of the world's strongest educational sites for development studies, with unprecedented opportunities for the professional and advocacy training required to engage the world's major problems.
A leading centre for research and teaching on development in South Africa, it historically holds an international reputation for the quality of its work and the intellectual rigour with which it applies academic skills to policy challenges.
For further information about our research, see research themes and Centre for Civil Society
Our antecendents date to the Institute for Social Research established in 1954. In 2004 we celebrated our 50th anniversary by hosting a major international conference on South African development challenges.
As part of a larger re-organization of academic schools in 2012, the then ‘School of Development Studies’ was incorporated into the School of Built Environment and Development Studies together with the schools of Community Development, Architecture Planning and Housing.
A large percentage of the reports produced here, including the most recent publications series (Research reports and Working Papers) is available online at British Library of Development Studies Digital Library http://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/123456789/1662 These can be downloaded at no charge under a Creative Commons License.