International Development Studies
Welcome to the International Development Studies (IDS) program. This site provides more extensive information than that found in the IDS Program's entry in the Saint Mary's University Academic Calendar. We especially encourage you to have a look at the IDS Handbook 201314 and to explore the various links we have provided for your interest and use. To see what our students are doing, see below.
International Development Studies (IDS) enjoys an international reputation as Saint Mary's University's flagship interdisciplinary program leading the university's commitment to a relevant and internationalized undergraduate and graduate curriculum. IDS serves as a major institutional location for teaching and research for faculty members wishing to focus their professional academic work on the perspectives, policies and practices of international development.
Degrees and Faculty
IDS offers a bachelor of arts degree (major, minor, concentration, dual major, and honours), a master of arts degree (thesis), and a doctoral degree in International Development Studies. Linkages with universities, research institutes, and civil society organizations around the globe provide both undergraduate and graduate students with many opportunities to receive credit for studies abroad. The large number of adjunct faculty and Program associates provides students with a wide spectrum of thesis and directed reading supervision. Student numbers are kept at a level which allows individual attention and substantial academic support by faculty members.
Apply to our undergraduate program
Apply to our master's or doctoral program
Please find IMPORTANT FORMS for CURRENT STUDENTS here.
SMU-IDS full-time, part-time, associate and adjunct faculty bring both scholarly and practical field experience to their respective research areas. Many faculty have well-established international reputations as both development scholars and development practitioners. The IDS Program is home to the Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies, a position currently being filled.
With the very generous support of Dr. J. Colin Dodds, President of Saint Mary's University, the International Development Studies Program is pleased to be able to appoint each year a distinguished researcher and public intellectual of international reputation as Distinguished Visiting Professors in International Development Studies.
2013-2014 Distinguished Visiting Professors
Dr. Milford Bateman
Dr. Milford Bateman is currently Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Juraj Dobrila Pula, Croatia, and a consultant on SMEs and microfinance. His books on the critical analysis of microcredit and microfinance have become development studies bestsellers.
Dr. Raúl Delgado-Wise
UNESCO Chair in Transnational and Migration Studies, Research Professor, and former Director of the Doctoral Program in Development Studies, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico, and President, International Network on Migration and Development.
2013-2014 Distinguished Visiting Scholar
Dr. Walden Bello
Congressman, House of Representatives,
Government of the Phillipines
Department of Sociology, U. Philippines, Diliman,
Quezon City, Philippines
Saint Mary’s University IDS offers the Bachelor of Arts (major) and Bachelor of Arts (honours) degrees, in addition to opportunities for a minor, double major and concentration. As an interdisciplinary program, IDS recognizes that many courses at SMU contain substantial IDS content and are often taught, especially in this more internationally oriented and globlaized world, from an IDS persepctive (focus on the global South, examples and cases from developing societies, and so on). Such courses can count as credit towards a major or honours degree in IDS; a sample list of currently acceptable non-IDS courses appears in the Academic Calendar in the IDS section. However, this list is only partial and occasionally outdated, and students should speak to the IDS Program Coordinator (Dr. Anthony O’Malley) or the IDS Undergraduate Advisor (Dr. Kate Ervine) about the relevance of courses not appearing in the Calendar list, of which there are many distributed throughout the University’s various departments and programs.
IDS undergraduates have an active Undergraduate Student Society that is financially supported by the IDS Program, and IDS students have been the initiators and promoters of a number of University-wide projects that have become permanent programs of benefit to all students. For example, the GAP conference (SMU IDS students talking to secondary school students) and the International Development Initiative Fund (financial support for SMU undergraduate student projects overseas) were conceived, developed and implemented by SMU IDS undergraduate students.
IDS students have access, through IDS Program connections with partner universities or through programs managed by the International Activities Office, to student exchanges at universities and academic programs overseas. These exchanges can last for a semester or a full year. Many of these exchanges have been created and reviewed in detail such that IDS students can take courses that they can credit directly to their IDS degree. They thus lose no time in progressing through their IDS major or honours degree, and in addition have many opportunities that studying abroad in a developing society offers. IDS also has a course, “Development Practice”, which has been designed to give credit, under specific terms and conditions, to overseas opportunities available to undergraduates, be these volunteering with an NGO during the summer, participating in community development initiatives while on exchange, and similar projects.
Areas of Specialization
Saint Mary's IDS Program offers major supervisory and curricular concentration in the following areas:
- Development Theory (analysis of the economic, social, political and cultural concepts and perspectives underlying global development dynamics and policies);
- Labour and Development (labour's contribution to change and development; new international division of labour; corporate social responsibility; work and industrial reorganisation; labour conditions and movements);
- Social Movements and Food Security (local and international peasant movements; rural resource management; integrated rural development; rural poverty);
- Environment and Local Development (political economy of natural resource management; ecological economics; rural livelihood strategies; the political economy of food and hunger).
- Transnational Migration and Development (social, economic and political impacts and implications for development of transnational population movements and transnational communities).
- Trade and Development (political economic and sociological approach to assessing the impact of international trade on development, poverty, and global wealth distribution)
The IDS Program encourages and expects students to pursue variations on these major areas of specialization. For example, the Program can provide support and supervision for study and research based on:
- political economy perspectives,
- gendered perspectives, enterprise and private sector-led perspectives, and
- asset-based community development perspectives,
(among others) in these general areas of specialization. Students should also be aware that Saint Mary's IDS also offers supervision and seminars in,
- Latin American literature of social change,
- religion and development,
- history and politics of developing areas,
- project management, and education and development,
through Saint Mary's departmental faculty participating in the interdisciplinary IDS Program.
The general focus of all doctoral research will be the political economy of globalization. However students may wish to further specialize their research within the political economy of globalization by emphasizing gender, the
environment, rural social movements, migration, development theory, labour, or any combination of the foregoing.
Prospective MA and PhD students should note that Saint Mary's IDS supports research focused on the so-called global South. Graduate students are asked to relate their research to development issues in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East (to mention the major regional concentrations).
SMU-IDS and Employment
Our program of study will provide you with a solid education for employment in national, international, and civil society organizations for which a thorough understanding of local, regional, national and international development perspectives and policies is required. Such organizations include many departments, ministries and agencies of the federal government of Canada (CIDA, External Affairs) and those of other national governments, multilateral development agencies (e.g., the United Nations, World Bank Group, OECD, WTO) , refugee and immigration services, non-governmental organizations (e.g., Oxfam, CUSO, IUCN) and professions such as teaching, journalism, development planning, administration, and enterprise development, especially within less-developed regions. Please see the section of our IDS Handbook , "Where They Are Now", for a brief look at where many of our students have found employment after their SMU-IDS education.
We hope you will find the academic and personal opportunities provided by our interdisciplinary program exciting and challenging, and that you will consider a career in the very rewarding field of international development. Working in international development can provide you with employment combining international travel with the satisfaction of bringing together the thinking of analysis and explanation with the doing of everyday practice, all focused on improving rights, social justice and the creation of effective, workable solutions to improve the living conditions of all global citizens without exception.
The Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies and the International Development Studies Program are pleased to announce that they have acquired a special license granting all faculty and student at Saint Mary’s University unlimited access to the UN Comtrade database (the largest trade database in the world) from May 2013 until May 2017. Funding provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT) is gratefully acknowledged.
Please see the attached flyer for information on a free 2-day workshop ! in October 2013 with Samuel Munyaneza, from UNCTAD, on ways to best use the online database. Click here for tentative schedule..
Saint Mary's International Development Studies Program is a founding member of the Critical Development Studies Network, in co-operation with the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico. For more information, see http://www.critdev.org.
IDS has nurtured in me the ability to pursue my dream of one day completing a PhD and starting my own non-profit, for that I can not thank you enough. My education at Saint Mary's has transformed my outlook on life, and provided me with opportunities I never knew were possible.
---Sara Singh, Class of 2011
We do not formally track our graduates (including those who have finished their required residence program) from the MA program, but most continue to keep in contact. To view a sampling of the professional lives of our students, see .
SMU IDS Graduate Students organized an excellent conference on research in progress aimed at international partnerships and collaboration. For more on the Conference, see Partners in Development.
SMU IDS Undergraduate students proposed a campus-wide referendum for students to contribute to an annual small amount to a fund aimed at overseas project activities for international development. This referendum was successful and resulted in the creation of the International Development Initiative Fund which is managed by a Board of Directors consisting of international development students and an IDS faculty advisor. Disbursements from this fund will total approximately $15,000.00 per year. For more information on this excellent student initiative, see IDIF.
The GAP, Global Awareness and Perspectives Project, began in 2010 and was started by the SMU IDS Undergrad Society. It has two main objectives of introducing Nova Scotia Hight School students to world issues and critical thinking. For one day, usually in March, the IDS Society invites the students to join us on the SMU campus while we give 45 minute presentations to the students in small power groups. Everyone enjoys lunch together and at the end of the day the entire group gets together for an activity done by an outside group or presenter and sometimes even a SMU Professor! Past student presentations include: explaining where the minerals for computer instruments are mined and what social issues come with this process, Kony 2012: The good, teh band and the ugly, Water scarcity, sustainable development, global gender issues, environmental issues, conflict and more! The project is completely organized and put on by the SMU IDS Undergrad Society and also incorporates other students from around SMU.
Students are encouraged to become members of the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development
If, after carefully reviewing the information on this site, you require additional information or clarification, please contact:
Dr. Anthony O'Malley, Program Coordinator
Jenny Harrison, Program Secretary
* If there is a discrepancy between any of the information provided by this site and the Saint Mary's University Academic Calendar, the latter shall be considered correct.