The Department of Development Studies at the Nelson Mandela University, building on its successes, enjoys national, regional and international recognition, based on its internal staff, its network of research associates and visiting scholars, the quality of its work and its commitment to applying its real world challenges. The DDS is home to a number of contract researchers and project staff, internal and associate faculty, a range of research associates and visiting professors, ten fulltime staff, and about 300 graduate-level students and a growing number of undergraduate students. The Department has a number of strategic alliances with regional and international universities and development organizations.

The Department also hosts a growing number of national and international, multi-partner research and development projects. Through a collaborative approach the aim/vision is to establish a world-class facility for advanced and innovative work in development.

The suite of advanced postgraduate programmes in development studies are designed for students to combine academic potential with first-hand developing country experience.

The programmes encourage students to reflect upon and deepen their knowledge, innovation and practice through an inter-disciplinary perspective.  The course has an applied approach.  Students are provided with structured opportunities for study, dialogue, application and critical reflection.  A wide range of teaching methods are employed to vary the learning experience.  These include lectures and seminars, workshops, project-work in small groups and the use of videos. Supervision is offered in small groups and individually.

During the Honours year, students develop analytical capacity in development theory and in contributing economic and social science discipline approaches including, economics, conflict management, politics, geography and sociology, by examining a wide range of current development issues and their contexts. With more courses available in rural development practice, transformational management, project management, conflict management, issues in economic development, geospatial methods, Local Economic Development perspectives, as well as business in developing economics. By doing their own research project, students become more skilled in writing reports and must write a treatise to complete their Honours degree.

Continuing to the Masters (MA) level, each student is encouraged to develop their particular focus of interest with the assistance of supervisors. Along with the coursework modules the preparation of their research project serves as the main vehicle for developing these interests as well as being the key mode of assessment.

A number of students have registered for the Masters by Dissertation and PhD degrees in the field of Development Studies.  The Department of Development Studies research areas encompass many of today’s most important challenges. These range from globalization, maritime development, diversity and identity, poverty alleviation, social capital, human security, peace and development, counter-trade and industrial development, HIV/AIDS and cross-cultural management.

Students who leave with a postgraduate qualification in Development Studies will be equipped with:

  • A practical, multi-skilled approach to development issues for careers in regional, national and international organizations as well as private and public sectors.
  • An understanding of conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches to participation.
  • Abilities of critical thinking, analysis and reflective practice, and personal development of values useful in pursing participatory approaches.

The M Phil in Development Finance and PhD in Development Finance provides a broad unique platform for postgraduate research and training in the fields of development finance, in developing and transitional economies. It is especially designed to equip government employees at central, provincial and municipal levels as well as parastatal, NGO and private sector employees in development finance institutions with the knowledge, competencies and ethical value systems required in the field of development finance.

This programme draws on the expertise of lecturers/supervisors who are specialists in their respective fields.  The staff members on the programme have between seven and thirty six years of experience in teaching and learning and supervision at a postgraduate level.  They have conducted extensive research in development finance and complementary fields.

Upon completion of the M Phil in Development Finance, students will demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge, insight and understanding of the principles, practices and procedures prevalent in infrastructural development, project finance, micro-enterprise and international finance for development
  • The ability to critically analyse the theories, techniques and procedures for financial sector development, financial management and finance issues for development in a developing and emerging market context
  • The ability to apply these techniques and procedures in a professionally competent manner
  • The ability to undertake independent research and to present research findings in a form that can be disseminated effectively to users.

The Postgraduate Diploma Programme in Maritime Studies, which has the School of Marine Affairs of the University of Washington as one of its key institutional participants/partners, is designed to equip students for exciting career options and/or advancements in the booming fields of marine, maritime and coastal development, port management and development, as well as the associated areas of coastal and marine tourism.  More particularly it seeks to:

  • Equip students with knowledge of socio-economic and economic aspects of marine and maritime affairs so as to provide them with the skills necessary in understanding a coastal economy;
  • Provide qualified professionals with additional skills in marine and affairs and maritime studies;
  • Meet the growing national need for marine and maritime studies professionals;
  • Respond to the need for competent maritime specialists particularly in regard to the sustainable development and beneficiation of coastal economies; and
  • To respond to the national and international demand for specific skill sets to diagnose and resolve policy issues in
  • Marine, maritime and coastal economies; and
  • To provide the analytical skills necessary to respond to emerging options and projects in the area of port management, development and security.
Contact information
Dr Amanda van den Berg
Tel: 27 41 504 4275