students walking outside by the HW building

Please find below answers to some common questions from prospective and current students. If you have any further questions regarding our programs please email our GDS Program Coordinator, Arifa Akhter Nitol, at gds-advisor@utsc.utoronto.ca. For questions regarding co-op, please email our IDS Co-op Program Manager, Leah Polonenko, at leah.polonenko@utoronto.ca, or our IDS Program Coordinator, Ghazal Farkhari, at ghazal.farkhari@utoronto.ca.   

For Co-op program-specific questions, please see Co-op FAQs.

Admissions and Enrolment

The Global Development Studies offers five different undergraduate programs of study: Specialist (Co-Operative) Program in International Development Studies (Arts), requires 16.0 credits to complete and has limited enrollment. Specialist (Co-Operative) Program in International Development Studies (Science), requires 16.0 credits to complete and has limited enrollment. Specialist Program in International Development Studies (Arts), requires 14.0 credits to complete and is open to all UTSC students. Specialist Program in International Development Studies (Science), requires 14.0 credits to complete and is open to all UTSC students. Major Program in International Development Studies (Arts) requires 8.0 credits to complete and is open to all UTSC students. When choosing between program types, consider your own interests and future goals. If you already know that you have high level of intellectual and professional interest in one particular field of study, then, pursuing a specialist program will enable you to really explore and gain an in-depth knowledge in that field. Those interested in experiential learning overseas should consider the IDS Co-operative programs. On the other hand, if you are unsure or if you have multiple areas of interest, it might be a wiser idea to pursue the major program. Just remember that for your degree requirements, you need a minimum of one Specialist program or two major programs or one major and two minor programs.

Prospective Applicants: For direct admission from secondary school or for students who wish to transfer to U of T Scarborough from another U of T faculty or from another post secondary institution, please refer to Admissions and Recruitment. Current U of T Scarborough students: Please follow the application procedures listed for your program of interest in the most current UTSC Calendar. Our Specialist and Major programs have open enrollment enrolment limits. However the Specialist Co-Operative programs have limited enrollment which means that you must meet the minimum 2.5 CGPA requirement to apply and submit the Co-op supplementary application form from the Arts & Science Co-op website. An interview will be required.

Program enrollment is facilitated through ACORN, once you log in the menu on the left of your screen will have a “Subject POSt” option, which will allow you to “Add a Subject POSt.” Subject POSt are actually short codes used to identify each programs. POSt actually stands for Program of Study, and a full list of all programs at UTSC can be found at: http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/registrar/choosing-program. IDS Subject POSt's are as follows: Specialist (Co-Operative) Program in International Development Studies (Arts): SCSPE2540, Specialist (Co-Operative) Program in International Development Studies (Science): SCSPE25406, Specialist Program in International Development Studies (Arts): SCSPE2540A, Specialist Program in International Development Studies (Science): SCSPE2540B, Major Program in International Development Studies (Arts): SCMAJ2540

As a way of enhancing the interdisciplinary nature of the IDS programs, students are encouraged to consider complementing their particular program in IDS with a parallel program in a related discipline. For example, those doing a Major in IDS might consider a parallel Major or Minor in any one of anthropology, environmental sciences, environmental studies, economics, geography, health studies, history, political science, public policy, sociology or women's and gender studies. While not required for graduation, Specialist students (co-op or non-co-op) are also encouraged to consider fulfilling the requirements for a Major or Minor program in a related discipline along side their Specialist IDS program. For details about how these joint programs can be worked out, please contact the Program Advisor.

Any courses that deals explicated with themes of Development Studies can be integrated into your Program requirements. To see if a course qualifies, always check with the Program Advisor before enrolling in the course by emailing gds-advisor@utsc.utoronto.ca with the course number, title and description. Also, remember that the Registrar’s office has rules for taking courses on the other campuses and have count towards your degree at UTSC, including a limit of 10.0 FCEs. For many programs, if a UTSG or UTM course is listed in the calendar as an exclusion to a UTSC course, then it can be counted as equivalent to the UTSC course in your IDS program requirements.

Prerequisites provide valuable guidance in course selection and protect you against taking courses for which you are not well prepared. Under exceptional circumstances, however, an instructor may see it fit to allow into a course a student who does not have a prerequisite. If you have a good reason for taking a course without a prerequisite, speak to the course instructor about it.

Yes, degree and program requirements refer to two separate things. De requirements are as follows (and please check Degree Explorer to ensure that you are meeting all degree requirements): 1. Pass at least 20.0 credits. 2. Of the 20.0 credits, at least 6.0 credits must be at the C- and/or D-level, with at least 1.0 credit at the D-level. 3. Of the 20.0 credits, at least 0.5 credit must come from each of the following five breadth categories. (See the course description for the category to which the course belongs): Arts, Literature & Language History, Philosophy & Cultural Studies Social & Behavioural Sciences; Natural Sciences; Quantitative Reasoning For an Honours BA or an Honours BSc, complete: one Specialist program, or two Major programs, or one Major program and two Minor programs. 5. Combinations of programs used to meet the program requirement must include at least 12.0 different full credits. 6. Earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 1.85.

The Global Development Studies is committed to the ongoing assessment and improvement of our programs, so we do makers changes from year to year. Your program requirements are connected to when you declare your Subject POSt on ACORN. Any student declaring a subject POSt must complete the program requirements that are in effect as of April 1, 2013, as described in the 2013-14 Calendar or any subsequent Calendar. However, if you notice that a course is not being correctly accredited towards your program requirements on Degree Explorer, please email gds-advisor@utsc.utoronto.ca for further assistance.

The Registrar’s office uses Degree Explorer to process graduation requests so it is a great tool to help keep track of your progress as you study. It is a web-based program (synchronized with ACORN) that provides both advisors and students up to date information on which courses (both completed and in progress) are being counted towards degree and program requirements and which course requirements have yet to be met. It can also audit hypothetical programs which can be helpful if one is contemplating changing their POSt. DEX will not produce any false positives. That is to say, if the DEX “Current Status” evaluates your degree and program requirements as complete then you can rest assured you are on your way to graduating.

Academic Performance

Please consult the Registrar’s Office for part-time and full-time status and details on course loads. Ultimately, how many courses you opt to take each semester depends on your priorities and ability to handle a heavier course load. Just remember, the fewer courses you take, the longer it will take you to reach the 20.0FCEs needed to graduate. Another caveat is that medical schools highly encourage students to take the maximum course load, so keep that in mind if this is an area of interest for you.

Deadlines are present for when you can drop a course. There are three (approximate) deadline dates you should be aware of for dropping courses (Please check with the Registrar Office or the UTSC Calendar for exact sessional dates):

  • Full refund of your course fees up to the second week of the semester
  • Course removed from transcript up to the last month of the semester
  • Late withdrawal (LWD) status appearing on your transcript if you withdraw your course near the end of that semester. 

Typically, students tend to drop courses if they perceive that they will fail the course and/or it will have a strong negative impact on their GPA. The decision can be based on feedback / evaluations received, declining interest / motivation in course content, or any health or personal issues that severely affect one's ability to maintain current course load. However, we strongly encourage students to consult our Program Advisors or Academic Advising and Career Centre at UTSC to determine if the withdrawal will later affect your ability to complete upper year program requirements or your expected graduation schedule.

For higher academic performance, we recommend all students to:

  • Attend lectures and tutorials as required
  • Find out your best way of note taking - this may not necessarily mean writing down everything in the lecture. Recording the lecture (with instructor's consent) or rewatching it through WebOption (if available) can also be helpful
  • Practice effective time management: It is recommended that students spend at least one hour outside class for every hour of lecture
  • Work with your peers: Not only is this socially rewarding, but this provides you with someone to discuss and share course materials  
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions in class, through e-mail or discussion boards in the course, or to visit the instructor/TAs during office hours (or by appointment). This is also a good way to get to know your Professors at a more personal level, which is useful when it comes time to reference letters or research opportunities
  • Strike a balance between school and extracurricular activities: Broaden your horizons with student clubs, social groups, and volunteering can be a great learning in university; however, we recommend students to prioritize their studies
  • Make use of university services, including the Academic and Advising Centre, Accessability Services, the Health and Wellness Centre, the Centre for Teaching and Learning (including the Writing Centre) and Library Services

The first thing you should do if you have a problem with a course is to discuss the problem with the instructor. You can approach the instructor during a break in class to make arrangements for a meeting, or going directly to the instructor's office during his or her office hours. You may also e-mail the instructor to explain your problem.

If your concern is with program requirements and course selection advice, please consult the Program Advisor through gds-advisor@utsc.utoronto.ca or the Associate Chair of GDS.

If your have concern over inappropriate behaviour by an instructor or staff member (even if you feel slightly unsafe), please do not hesitate to contact the Chair of the Global Development Studies, Professor Sharlene Mollett. If you would like to seek support outside of the GDS, you may file an anonymous complaint through the SCSU.

Every course will outline in its syllabus what the procedure should be for such cases. The Registrar’s Office provides all the details regarding missed evaluations. Typically, if you miss a term test, you are required to notify your instructor and have a physician's declaration that you were found to be too ill to write the term test. For many large classes, make-up exam dates are scheduled in advance and are on the syllabus. If you miss a final exam, you must have the physician's declaration and you must also petition to take the final exam. Deferred exams are written in the final exam period of the following semester, as per the details provided by the Registrar’s. 


The Registrar’s office has a list of future and previous course offerings, and this information should provide you with a general and tentative picture of what might be offered in the future. That being said, changes do occur, so please be cautious and check the finalised lists posted online for each semester

The general courses requirements (as per 2023 Fall/2024 Winter) for 1st Year IDS Specialist Co-op students is shown below (please refer to the latest UTSC calendar for further confirmation) 

 Course Required (offered in FALL)  
IDSA01H3 Introduction to International Development Studies 
EESA01H3 Introduction to Environmental Science
MGEA01H3 Introduction to Microeconomics
One elective course*  (Students may choose from ANTA02H3, HLTA02H3, GGRA02H3, AFSA01H3, GASA02H3, PHLA10H3, POLA01H3, SOCA01H3, WSTA01H3, or consult the Calendar/Program Advisor for more options)


Course Required (offered in WINTER)  
IDSB02H3  Development and Environment
IDSB06H3 Equity, Ethics and Justice in International Development 
MGEA05H3 Introduction to Macroeconomics 
One elective course* (Students may choose from ANTA02H3, GGRA03H3, IDSA02H3, HISA05H3, PHLA11H3, POLA02H3, SOCA01H3, WSTA03H3, or consult the Calendar/Program Advisor for more options)

*Students may also opt to complete either STAB23H3 (offered in both Fall and Winter) or GGRA30H3 (offered in the Winter) to fulfill the 0.5 credit in quantitative methods requirement for the program in place of completing an elective course. Alternatively, students may opt to complete the 1.0 credit in languages requirement in place of an elective.


​Please note that the tools provided above can only be used for planning and reference purposes. For course enrollment and management please use ACORN. Your official timetable will not appear on ACORN until you have enrolled in the course.

This course is open to all IDS students. It is designed as an independent study course that runs parallel to a volunteer position with a Canadian institution working in the field of international development. You may request this course on ACORN, but your status will be INT. You will not be officially enrolled until you meet with a Faculty member who is available and agrees to supervise your project and have them sign the “Supervised Study form,” which is available here or in the GDS Program Coordinator's office in HL226.

Topics courses that offered occasionally depending upon the availability of instructors. 

This course is restricted to students in the IDS Specialist Co-operative programs (Arts and Science). It is designed as a thesis preparation seminar course in the fall term and an independent thesis writing course in the winter term. Students are supervised jointly by the course instructor and by their own individual supervisor. This course is designed as the 'capstone' course of the IDS Co-operative program.

This course is intended for students in the IDS Specialist non-coop programs (Arts and Science). The 2014-2015 academic year had students  carry out a research project and write a research paper under the individual supervision of a faculty member. In 2015-2016, IDSD02H transformed into a seminar course and designed as a 'capstone' course for all students in the IDS Specialist non-coop programs (Art and Science). 

This course is open to all IDS students. It is designed as a directed reading and independent study course supervised by an individual faculty member. You may request this course on ACORN, but your status will be INT. You will not be officially enrolled until you meet with a Faculty member who is available to supervise your project and have them sign “Supervised Study form,” which is available which is available here or in the GDS Program Coordinator's office in HL226.

The Way Forward

With the depth and diversity of knowledge acquired through the IDS programs, our graduates have thrived in multiple fields - both development-related (including overseas development project management, social justice advocacy, social work in Canada, etc) and non-development-related (including medicine, law, teaching, international commerce, and much more).

A good percentage of IDS students also go on to complete a post graduate degree in relevant fields. Our alumni have continued to express that the strong critical thinking, analytical, writing, and research skills emphasized by the IDS program are proven crucial in all career paths. The chance of working abroad (through our co-op program) for an 8-12 month period, along with the IDS curriculum, also provides our students with a critical world view and a global lens that is indispensable in today's employment market.

Read more from the UTSC Academic Advising & Career Centre about Career Options for an International Development Studies Degree

Read about what our Alumni are doing

A good place to start is the handbook for prospective students prepared by The Canadian Association of Graduate Studies, designed as a resource for those exploring next steps. You may also want to research the types of jobs available to those with advanced degrees to ensure graduate school will help you reach your career goals. To find out what particular graduate programs require of their applicants, you should visit their websites. You may also visit the Further Studies link under the "From Students to Students" in the Student menu item on this web site for a list of some graduate programs in Canada that may be of interest to IDS students.