University Of Cape Town Development Studies
Development Studies at UCT
Development studies at UCT has been around for a while.
Students have long been able to seek knowledge related to development in their own faculties and departments, from economics to sociology. But on 3 March 2017, the university offered a one-stop shop for development studies within its halls for the first time, when the Studying Development website and handbook were launched at the School of Economics.
The publication of the handbook is a way to recognise that higher education is not just about producing graduates who are ready for the job market, said Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, UCT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation.
“It’s also making sure that we produce graduates who are relevant to the context,” she said. “For us in Africa, it’s even more important.”
As the country grapples with issues of decoloniality and so on, students that can tussle with development problems are crucial, Phakeng added.
“It is important that all our graduates understand and appreciate the role that historical, social and political analysis plays in interpreting complex development problems. [It] doesn’t matter which faculty they come from.”
Development Studies in the Sociology department
The Department of Sociology’s Development Studies Programme prepares postgraduate students for entry into the professional development community. This community straddles many spheres including community and other non-governmental organisations, research organisations, agencies at various levels of government, media organisations and possibly corporate social responsibility offices. It is envisaged that MPhil (Development Studies) graduates will eventually take leading positions in this community; developing and disseminating knowledge about those sectors of society worst affected by socio-economic inequity, and devising strategies for them to gain access to resources and grow their capacity to optimise these resources.
The Development Studies Programme exposes students to current theoretical trends and it immerses them in the practicalities of development work. The MPhil has at its core an internship where students are expected to apply themselves in a relevant development agency.
Two full-time degrees are offered in the Sociology department, namely the Honours specialising in Development Studies and the MPhil specialising in Development Studies.
The Honours degree should not take more than an academic year to complete. Master’s students typically take more than a year; the expectation being that they complete the degree within 18-24 months.
For more information on the Sociology department’s Development Studies Programme, including the admission requirements and curriculum, please see the programme brochure.
Click here to see the outlines of postgraduate courses offered by the Department.