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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.

 

Degrees offered

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.

Research

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

 

History

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.

  News
  • Workshop focuses on climate change and poverty

    Workshop focuses on climate change and poverty

    [27-Aug] A two-day inception workshop was hosted by UKZN’s South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) on Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment within the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS).

    Full story

  • German exchange students and staff visit UKZN

    German exchange students and staff visit UKZN

    [20-Aug] Visiting students and staff from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany were officially welcomed by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently.

    Full story

  • UKZN students complete course at US University

    UKZN students complete course at US University

    [20-Aug] Two postgraduate students from the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS), Ms Unathi Beku and Mr Nkeka Tseole, have returned from a month-long intensive course on social research techniques at the University of Michigan in the United States.

    Full story

  • PhD workshop for postgraduate students

    PhD workshop for postgraduate students

    [17-Aug] Professor Dianne Scott and Dr Tamlynn Fleetwood of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) co-ordinated an eight-day PhD workshop attracting 16 candidates, some from as far away as Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Malawi.

    Full story

  • Humanities student helps 101-year-old home fire victim

    Humanities student helps 101-year-old home fire victim

    [30-Jul] Masters student in Development Studies, Ms Alice Morrison, recently took up the challenge of helping 101-year-old Mrs Victoria ‘MaMkhize’ Ntuli rebuild her home in Cinderella Park, Pietermaritzburg, after it was destroyed in a fire.

    Full story

  • Visiting US scholar conducts workshop for Population Studies students

    Visiting US scholar conducts workshop for Population Studies students

    [30-Jul] Visiting scholar, Professor Winfred Avogo of Illinois State University in the United States, conducted a workshop at UKZN examining integrating theory and mixed methods in family demography.

    Full story

  Events

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