Available in 2022
Course code



20 units


4000 level

Course handbook


This course builds knowledge and understanding about the history and philosophy of research in the social, environmental and natural sciences. This knowledge and understanding is used to develop insights into the ways that the development problem is conceived and acted on. The course enhances skills and capacities in reading and literature reviewing, critical reasoning and argument, essay writing and verbal communication. The course includes: discussions of theoretical and applied directions in development studies; student-based presentations of key issues; and training workshops in computing skills, on-line bibliographic searches, statistical analysis, writing techniques, and cartography.



  • Semester 1 - 2022
  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. An advanced comprehension of contemporary development issues and their historical, socio-cultural and geographical dimensions.

2. An advanced understanding of cross-disciplinary approaches to demographic, socio-cultural, economic and environmental factors and structures, uneven development and its impacts at local, regional and global scales.

3. An advanced comprehension of the variety of theoretical approaches with which to examine and evaluate development processes and problems.

4. A wide range of skills and methods necessary to undertake a complex analysis and communication of development issues and to critically analyse development measures, indicators, reports and policies.


  1. Approaches and Definitions of:
  • First World/Third World and North/South- paradigm
  • Economic and cultural interpretations of progress and growth
  • Holistic interpretations
  1. Critical analysis of development theories and their paradoxes:
  • Economic and political development theories
  • Development models, indicators and measurements
  • Alternative approaches
  1. The history and philosophy of research approaches in development studies:
  • Social science epistemologies
  • Environmental approaches
  • Ideological contradictions
  1. Advanced skills development:
  • Oral presentation and discussion
  • Essay writing

Assumed knowledge

Completion of Bachelor of Development Studies with credit grades or above in core 2000 and 3000 courses.

Assessment items

Essay: Essay

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 8 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Each GEOG Honours student will present a short 15min seminar in their first semester and 1/2hr seminar in their second semester.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.