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Development is everywhere. Everyday, all over the world from small villages to entire regions, social, political, and economic changes take place in the name of local and global development. Yet, what is development and why does it matter? In this course we think of development as change; change driven by particular ideas about what a good life should be. Communities all around the world are subject to policies and projects that seek to change their lives for the better. Some succeed, some do not. Some are designed locally, some are designed much further away. Some are the result of shared ideas about what makes human life better while others are challenges to the way things are and call for dramatic changes to society. In this course we explore what drives development interventions, the ways it impacts communities, and the ways they respond. We explore also the processes and influences that operate at a global level and that impact such fundamental concerns as human rights, environmental and climate change, and migration. 

Through a series of 10 key topic areas that form the content of the 10 week course, you will learn why development thinking – and by extension development practices – has changed over time, and the extent to which its architects have learnt from past failure and successes. You will be exposed to a variety of geographic case studies to see how development works (or doesn't) on the ground. You will leave this course with an appreciation about the complexities of development and with a solid foundation of what issues and concerns around development manifest and ought to be addressed at local, national, international and global levels.

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 1



Delivery Mode

Partially online

Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Additional Information

This course is offered as General Education.

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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