7 Reasons Why Development Studies Is A Good Degree

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Choosing what degree to study is a big decision! Degrees are significant financial and time commitments, so you definitely want to choose a good one. Many people who are interested in world events and looking for careers in humanitarian aid or human rights consider doing degrees in development studies. However, is development studies actually a good degree?

Many employers, including NGOs, governments and the UN consider Development Studies as a good degree. Development studies gives you a theoretical understanding of the causes of unequal global development whilst training you in practical skills to address poverty, crises and disasters. 

With that said, let’s explore further what makes Development Studies a good degree…

It Can Lead to Many Different Careers

The first reason Development Studies is a good degree is that it can lead to many different career areas. Development Studies provides a broad understanding of the social, political and economic causes of global inequality. As a result, it lays a strong foundation for lots of a career paths, including in the NGOs, governments, international organisations and businesses that work to address world issues. The amount of career options open to Development Studies graduates is definitely one of the reasons it’s a good career.

Some of the career areas that a Development Studies degree can lead to include:

  • Human Rights
  • Humanitarian Action
  • Poverty Reduction
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Global Security
  • Public Policy
  • Economic Development
  • International Diplomacy
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Gender and Women’s Empowerment
  • Community Development

As you can see, a Development Studies degree provides a strong foundation for many careers working to address global challenges. The advantage of doing an International Development degree is that you can use the knowledge gained to go into a wide range of careers, all of which work to improve the lives of people around the world, especially those in poorer countries.

You Engage with Current World Issues

Another reasons Development Studies is a great degree is that it allows you to engage with global issues. On an International Development degree, you will investigate historical world events that have led to unequal development across the world.

You will also be able to explore contemporary events and evaluate their causes, impacts and wider ramifications. The chance to engage with global issues is definitely a reason a Development Studies degree is a good choice.

Development Studies is a good degree is you are interested in learning more about what is happening in the world, the ongoing global trends and the root causes of disasters and conflicts.

By allowing you to research world issues, a degree in International Development gives you the chance to build a strong understanding of the challenge’s different countries and regions face. This knowledge can be invaluable as you move into careers with international organisations, NGOs and governments and is definitely a reason Development Studies is a good degree.

International Development Online Courses

If you are looking to study international development, taking an online short course can be a great way to boost your application. We highly recommend the course Management of International Development: Towards Agenda 2030. It looks at the current international development model as well as the trends that will be key to global development in the near future. Follow the link to the course’s page for more information.

We also think the online course Sustainable Development in the 21st Century by Yonsei University to be one of the best for those interested in international development. Delivered by former UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, the online course would be a great addition to the CV of anyone looking to study international development. The link is to the course’s page.

If you are interested in the practical methods used on international development projects, we recommend the online course How To Design & Fund International Development NGO Projects. The course teaches students the tools needed to establish and run impactful development projects. Click the link to visit the course’s page for more information.

You Gain Practical Skills to Run Development Projects

International Development is strong degree choice because it provides you the practical skills needed to run development projects around the world. Many organisations, including the United Nations, humanitarian NGOs and governments run projects all around the world tackling specific development problems.

A degree is Development Studies gives you the technical expertise needed to manage these projects. The practical skills you can develop is a key reason Development Studies is a good degree.

A degree in Development Studies trains you on the methods and tools used to practically address development challenges. These skills are in high demand in many international employers who work to tackle global issues.

A degree in International Development is a great choice as you can learn how measures can be taken to mitigate the impacts of disasters, crises and conflict and tackle poverty. By providing the skills international employers want, Development Studies is considered a good degree.

It Teaches You the Theory to Fight Global Inequality

One reason a Development Studies degree is a good is because it allows you to gain a good theoretical understanding of global inequality, the root causes of poverty and how crises in the world develop. A degree in International Development will cover a wide range of theoretical basis, including historical, economic, political and social, to explain how the modern world was created and how inequality in global development occurs.

Gaining this theoretical understanding of world development is a key reason why International Development is a good degree.

Another reason why Development Studies is a good degree is that you can conduct independent research into development issues that you are passionate about. This chance to investigate real world problems and develop your own solutions is a fantastic opportunity.

The knowledge gained by exploring development issues and conducting research is highly valuable to future employers in the development sector and humanitarian industries and is a key reason Development Studies is a good degree.

You Can Build Worldwide Network

Development Studies is a good degree as you it gives you the chance to study with people from all over the world and build a truly global network. Most International Development degrees have a mixture of students from developed and low- and middle-income countries. This diversity allows for a great exchange of ideas, as well as for students to learn together to create solutions to unequal global development.

The diversity of students is definitely a reason Development Studies degree is good.

The great thing about doing a Development Studies degree is that you will build a network of like-minded graduates who go on to work in governments, NGOs and international organisations. Students on International Development degrees are highly driven and passionate about working to make the world better.

The professional network you can build through your Development Studies degree will help you immensely as your career progresses and is one a of the real reasons an International Development degree is good.

You Often Get to Travel

A big reason Development Studies is a good degree is because of its international outlook. Development Studies teaches students the causes, impacts and potential solutions to global issues, and so encouraging students to gain first-hand experience is a core part of International Development degrees.

Most Development Studies degrees encourage students to travel, study, intern and research abroad and these opportunities are a real reason an International Development degree is great.

The possibility to gain international experience is a definite reason Development Studies is a good degree. Nowadays employers look for graduates who can operate effectively in international settings, and many jobs in NGOs, governments, and organisations such as the UN require their staff to work abroad.

Doing an International Development degree often allows you to gain extensive first-hand experience, especially in developing countries, and this is another reason Development Studies is a good degree.

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The Future Will Need Development Studies Graduates

The final reason Development Studies is a good degree is that as more governments, companies and institutions see that global inequality must be addressed they require graduates with a knowledge and understanding of development.

As the world becomes more inter-connected, crises and events around the world have a greater impact on all regions. Having an understanding of global issues, possible mitigations and policies that can be used to address them will become ever more important. A Development Studies degree provides this and it’s definitely a reason is a great degree to choose.

The skills, knowledge and experiences gained doing a degree in International Development are highly prized by employers. As Development Studies gives you a broad understanding of global challenges, as well as the opportunity to critique political and economic policies that their impacts on worldwide development, graduates from International Development degrees are able to give valuable insights to companies, governments and international organisations.

As globalisation continues, more institutions will require a global outlook, and as a degree is Development Studies provides exactly that, it is for sure a good degree.


Duncan is the founder of Humanitarian Careers. With over ten years experience in the aid industry across fifteen countries, Duncan set-up Humanitarian Careers to help people launch their own career in international aid.