Development Practice

Why choose Development Practice

Our Development Practice Program offers a unique, multidisciplinary approach to advancing the knowledge and skills of students, who seek to obtain a better understanding of the challenges of development in the contemporary context.

The program is designed to enable students to appreciate the multifaceted nature of development, draw connections, identify challenges, and devise critically informed problem-solving strategies.

Taught by internationally recognised researchers, our courses bring together aspects of community level development, urban and regional planning, social planning and evaluation of development projects, and political as well as political economy analysis from local to global levels.

The postgraduate coursework programs also provides a solid foundation for students inclined to pursue further academic research beyond the Masters Program.

Students of Development Practice will find a vibrant student community, with participants from all corners of the globe contributing rich and diverse experiences to an intellectually and practically challenging and stimulating program. Current and past students as well as lecturers from the program regularly post to the Development Practice UQ Facebook Group. While offering a rigorous multidisciplinary foundation for the study of Development Practice our program also offers students the opportunity to choose courses from the four fields of study:

Community Development

This field of study is focused on developing fundamental practice wisdom, skills and methodologies that a community worker requires to work face-to-face with communities. These wisdoms, skills and methodologies include key dimensions of practice such as micro-dialogue and communication skills, processes that sustain community livelihood, narrative approaches to community based learning processes and approaches to community cultural development. Informed by theory, and grounded in practice, the learning experience is facilitated by dynamic teachers who seek to mirror community training processes and challenge students’ ideas of learning in development.

The School of Social Science also offers a Graduate Certificate in Community Development.

Politics of Global Development

Development is inherently political and involves relations of power in all its aspects. This field of study is concerned with the relations between and among actors in development, how these relations are experienced, and in which ways they are attended by struggle, contestation and conflict in contexts of social and political change. In working towards analyses dealing with such central questions, we continuously foreground and emphasize the intricate link between theories and practices.

The courses offered in this field introduce students to the analytical tools required to examine political challenges of global development. They examine dilemmas, struggles and strategies shaping development globally; the international political economy of globalisation and development; challenges of reconstruction and restoration in post-conflict development contexts; theories and practices of mediation and conflict resolution; the role of culture, and questions of identity in development; struggles to enhance gender equity; and the ethics and politics of Human Rights. These are central issues in contemporary global development and students will gain knowledge, understanding and practical skills essential for working in this field.

Development Planning

This field is oriented towards planning practitioners in developing countries who wish to upgrade their qualifications to include the most recent advancements in the concepts, philosophies, theories and techniques in urban, regional and environmental planning. The program includes a research component which provides students with an opportunity to apply this knowledge to real-life planning issues and problems in their own countries. Academic staff involved in this area have extensive experience in developing countries and courses are oriented towards the needs of developing countries. Many students entering the program are sponsored by their employers who are involved in planning in developing countries. Further professional study provides openings for accelerated advancement and assumption of greater responsibility in the workplace.

Social and Cultural Dynamics of Development

Working as a development practitioner requires analytical and technical abilities. This field of study provides students with knowledge and skills necessary for a career in social planning and international development. Courses in this field provide a theoretical overview and critical analysis of key issues in development including gender, the problematic of indigeneity, and health. This field also teaches practical skills enabling graduates to participate in all aspects of the programme cycle from planning to management to assessing impact. Students learn to analyse development indicators, utilise gender analyses, conduct participatory rapid appraisals (PRA), conduct social surveys, compile community profiles, and design and assess the impact of social and development projects. Graduates of this field are equipped both with the critical skills to understand broader implications of development initiatives and a ‘tool kit’ of methodologies to apply in a variety of work settings.