What is International Development Studies?

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The International Development Studies programs at the University of Toronto Scarborough provide students with a critical understanding of international development issues through exposure to a variety of academic disciplines, cultures, and, in the case of the specialist co-op program, an overseas work experience in the field of international development. The IDS programs are challenging and intended for bright and self motivated students who are interested in both excelling academically and actively engaging themselves in the pursuit of social justice around issues such as poverty, inequality, and oppression. The students in IDS programs take initiative, seek empowerment, are driven to solve social and environmental problems, understand the importance of teamwork and coordination, and are responsible and accountable. They have diverse interests that span the social sciences, humanities, and environmental science, all of which is underpinned by a strong sense of social responsibility.

The specific objectives of the IDS programs at UTSC are to:

  1. Introduce students to the broad and inter-connected range of issues and disciplinary approaches within the field of critical development studies.
  2. Provide students with a critical understanding of development theories – their origins and their purposes in addressing problems of poverty, inequality, and oppression.
  3. Stress the crucial importance of context and power - historical, social-cultural, economic, and political - when critically analyzing development theory and development practice.
  4. Promote the development of strong analytical, writing, and professional skills and, where possible, experiential learning opportunities in the field of critical development studies.
  5. Promote the development of a vibrant intellectual community - that includes students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and development partners – that is committed to active involvement in the critical debates within the field of development studies and to critical engagement in development practice.