Our Aims and Objectives

We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is Development Studies

What is development studies, why it matters, how you can study and career prospects

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Our Members

We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

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Find out about our constitution and how we are run

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Meet our Council members and other stuff who support the running of DSA

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The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

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Our conference this year is themed "Just sustainable futures in an urbanising and mobile world"

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Past Conferences

Find out about our previous conferences

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Study Groups

Our Study Groups offer a chance to connect with others who share your areas of interest

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Students and ECRs

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

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Our book series with OUP and our relationship with other publishers

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North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

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Membership Directory

Find out who our members are, where they are based and the issues they work on

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What is development studies?

Development studies concerns the global challenge of combatting poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation

Sierra Leone, Annie Spratt

About development studies

Through development studies, we seek to bring a critical perspective to applied real world problems, and the policies, programmes and practices behind these. Historically, our focus was on poorer countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This now extends to development issues worldwide. We particularly aim to understand the interconnections between global, regional, national and local processes of change.

Because real life is complex, development studies brings together diverse disciplines. With roots in anthropology, economics, sociology, politics and geography, it may also combine with others such as psychology, law, management, natural science, history, agriculture or engineering.

Development research aims to build partnerships between the people most directly affected by social, economic, technological and environmental change, and academics, policy-makers and practitioners. Equitable collaboration between those based in the global South and global North is particularly important. Working in partnership leads to more insightful and creative theory and more sustainable and equitable practice.


Decolonising development studies

The roots of development lie in colonialism. Development studies still bears the marks of this history. As such, the broader moves to decolonise the curriculum have a particular resonance for us. But it is not only our curriculum that needs to be decolonised, but our institutions, procedures, practices, and default ways of thinking and acting. The commitment to equitable research partnerships is one way we aim to move this agenda forward.

The DSA is actively committed to decolonising development studies. If you would like to get involved, contact DSA Council member, Rama Dieng.

Dhaka, Bangladesh by Adli Wahid

Why study development?

  • Why does economic growth so often bring greater inequality?
  • Can standards of living improve without costing the earth?
  • What will happen to jobs in the digital revolution?
  • How does race, gender, age, ethnicity or sexual identity make a difference to the impact of policies or programmes?
  • Why is authoritarian nationalism on the rise, and what can be done about it?
  • How should international migration be managed?

If these are the kinds of questions that interest you, then development studies might be the subject for you.

You can study at both undergraduate and masters level.  Alongside straight development studies, you will find a wide range specialisms, such as media, conflict, sustainability, economics, education, management, social justice, global health or climate change.

Jobs in international development span NGOs and charity organisations, social enterprises, international companies, local and national government, aid agencies, policy think tanks, United Nations organisations, global and regional development banks, and regional bodies like the European Union or the Economic Community of West African States.

Search our institutional members’ page for more ideas of development studies courses available in the UK