Development Studies A

30 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 2SK021

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Development Studies G1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 23 February 2022
Responsible department
Department of Government

Entry requirements

General entry requirements and Social Studies 1b or 1a1+1a2, English 6

Learning outcomes

After completion of Development Studies A the students are expected to:

  • be able to describe the most central global development problems
  • be able to independently formulate and discuss problems within the area
  • have some knowledge of basic perspectives, theories, concepts and discussions, especially regarding:

- development, democracy, and the state

- sustainable development

- gender perspectives on economic development

  • be acquainted with some current research and research discussions
  • independently and critically analyse and discuss central problems in development
  • connect the theoretical studies to a practical reality and a possible future job market


Introduction to Development Studies, 7,5 credits

This course is an introduction to Development Studies as a subject, including the discipline's central debates. The course introduces major trends and changes in development theory and their bearings on development policy and practice, critically discussing concepts of development and the emergence and evolution of paradigms in development thinking. Exploring development trajectories in a comparative perspective, the course discusses the role of states and markets in development (and under-development) and the political economy of development aid interventions. Further, the course examines challenges and critiques posed to dominant development theory and practice, presented for example by feminist theory, problems of climate change and environmental sustainability and patterns of global inequalities.

Learning outcomes

After the course, the students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand and account for different basic perspectives (both orally and in written form), concepts, discussions, and theories about development
  • Understand and account för different perspectives on the role of the state and the market for economic and social development (both orally and in written form)
  • Discuss and reason about implications of different theoretical perspectives for development policy in practice, including the role and purpose of aid
  • Show basic knowledge of development problems and opportunities in the areas of democracy and governance, sustainable development, economic development and gender equality in different geographical regions of the world
  • Account for the Sustainable Development Goals and discuss in what way they signify a paradigm shift in development policy (both orally and in written form)


The course has three themes. The first theme introduces central debates about the contested concept "development" - what it is and what it should be. It presents dominant development theories and critique against these as well as a historical overview of how development theory and practice have changed over time. The second theme focuses on economic and social development trajectories with special attention paid to the role of the state and markets in shaping development processes The third theme addresses the issue of aid and how theory/research and practice/aid affect each other. A historical overview of aid and development cooperation is presented to illustrate changes over time. The theme also discusses the organization of development cooperation and the present focus on sustainable development and measurable goals, including a discussion of the Sustainable Development Goals.


The teaching consists of lectures and mandatory seminars. The course is given in English.


To pass the course requires active participation in seminars, which includes a writing assignment, and a written exam. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction".

Seminar examination is based both on the submission of written assignments and the active participation in seminar exercises (roll play, opposition & defense seminar, project design seminar)

Development and political institutions 7.5 credits

Learning outcomes

After the course, the students are expected to be able to

Knowledge and understanding

  • Account for key theories of democratization and development towards authoritarian rule
  • Account for key theories of how political identities and institutions are related to conflict and stability

Skills and abilities

  • Orally as well as in writing apply key theories and concepts related to the main topics of the course to concrete empirical cases

Judgement and approach

  • Critically compare and assess different theoretical perspectives related to the main topics of the course by setting them against each other


The course consists of two themes that are derived from connected dimensions of the relations between the exercise of state power and various identities and forms of organisation in society in different regions in the global south: i) democracy, ii) political identities. The course discusses both these themes in relation to economic and social development.

The first theme discusses forms of political rule, and introduces different explanations of democracy and authoritarian rule. The theme also discusses theories of how these forms of political rule are related to levels of development. The second theme discusses how different political identities are connected to the organisation of political institutions. This theme pays special attention to the question of how national identities are linked to other political identities based on gender, class, ethnicity and religion, how identities affect and are affected by the organisation of state institutions, and how this in turn is linked to issues of conflict and stability.


The teaching consists of lectures and seminars.


Students are examined through seminar participation including written assignments, and a written exam. Grades for the seminars and assignments are awarded according to the scale Fail and Pass. Grades for the written exam are awarded according to the scale Fail, Pass and Pass with distinction.

Further instructions

Further instructions will be given at the start of the course.

Global sustainable development 7,5 credits

This course provides insights into how development is connected to environmental problems. Thereby, it introduces the students to the multidimensional aspects of sustainable development and their link to environmental challenges on global, national and local levels. A special focus is put on the sustainable management of common pool resources. In addition, specific environmental challenges are put into the spotlight for illustrating the complexity of the issues and their implications for sustainability.

Learning outcomes

After the completion of the course, the following learning objectives will be fulfilled

Knowledge and Understanding

  • To account for and describe the relevant history and discourses of sustainable development.
  • To place current environmental challenges in the context of important theories, concepts and topics.

Skills and Abilities

  • To apply different theoretical and empirical perspectives in the analysis of global sustainability and environmental discourses.
  • To identify research problems, using theoretical and empirical perspectives within development studies.

Judgement and Approach

  • To critically discuss and apply different approaches to the management of common pool resources and their implications for sustainability.
  • To articulate and evaluate how sustainable development is related to global, national, and local levels of governance.


This course focuses on environmental issues and sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development was established in 1987 when the World Commission on Environment and Development determined that the world was facing an enormous challenge: To make development sustainable on global, national and local level, and to ensure that the needs of both present and future generations are provided for. The course covers three themes: (1) the historical roots of and current discourses on sustainable development, (2) the theories of managing common pool resources and their implications for sustainable development, and (3) connections to specific environmental challenges.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars, and a film. The course is given in English.


Students are examined through a written exam. Assignments, attendance and active participation in seminars award credit points for the written exam. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction".

Further instructions

Further instructions will be given at the start of the course.

Gender and Economic Development 7,5 credits

Learning Outcomes

This course focuses on development economics with a feminist lens. It surveys various gender dimensions of economic development with the aim that students will gain a fundamental theoretical understanding of development economics as well as feminist economics. The course should also improve the students' knowledge about policy and practical economic development cooperation in the field. Having completed the course, the students should have attained gender-aware literacy and be able to critically examine economic development from a gender perspective.

After having completed the course, the student is expected to

  • Understand and be able to explain the differences between economic growth and human development.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of theory on feminist economics and the challenges it poses to theories of economic development.
  • Thoroughly understand common economic problems in developing countries and how they affect different groups in society.
  • Be able to describe and critically discuss how gender equality shapes economic development and how economic development impacts on gender equality.
  • Know of, be able to interpret and be able to compare different measures and indicators of development and gender equality.
  • Be able to critically discuss and assess the relevance of different policy measures from a theoretical and empirical perspective.


This course examines development economics with a feminist lens. It describes how economic growth and economic development have differential impacts on men, women, intersectional groups, and on gender equality. Based on theoretical perspectives from feminist economics and on human development, the course will describe and assess the impact of policy solutions and aid projects.

The first part of the course introduces the concept of gender in general and in relation to the development discourse in particular. It describes how policy has moved from Women in Development to Gender and Development and the emergence of post-colonial feminist approaches. Main features of mainstream development economics are contrasted with feminist economics. Labor market and employment is discussed in relation to concepts such as productive/reproductive and formal/informal, with an emphasis on the relevance of these concepts for the Global South in particular. Various indicators of economic inequalities are presented and gender disaggregated data is introduced to enhance the understanding of concepts such as the feminization of poverty and multidimensional poverty both theoretically and empirically. A social provisioning approach to the gender dimension of economic life is discussed.

The second part of the course seeks to deepen the understanding of the underlying power structures of economic and gender inequalities. It brings in the broader concept of human development and capability approaches. It discusses ways of conceptualizing and practically working with critical perspectives on men and masculinities in economic development. This part of the course discusses and problematizes the relationship between economic growth and gender equality: to what extent does economic growth impact on gender equality? Does gender equality spur economic development?

The third part of the course looks at more practical policy solutions to the problem and brings up policies, methods and strategies for reducing gender inequalities. It gives a short theoretical background to each of the strategies. Examples of strategies that are discussed include (but are not limited to) women's movements, gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting, micro-credits and gender and corruption.


The teaching consists of voluntary lectures and compulsory seminars. The language of instruction for this course is English.


Examination is based upon participation in compulsory elements of the course and a take-home exam. Grades are awarded according to the scale "failed" (U), "passed" (G), or "passed with distinction" (VG).

Further instructions

Further instructions will be given at the start of the course.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars, video films, and study visits. This course is taught in English.


The various parts of the course are examined by means of written tests. An opportunity for a re-test is given ca 3-4 weeks after the first exam. Each of the four courses also has seminars. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction". To get the grade "pass with distinction" for the whole A course that grade is needed for at least 15 points of the totally 30 points. If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Other directives

No prior formal qualification is required except general entrance requirements. To be able to pursue this course in a satisfactory way good knowledge from the courses in social science and history from high school is probably needed. Since most of the course literature is in English a good command of English is required. Note that the courses are taught in English. If you would like to have further information about suitable prior knowledge or experience, please contact the department.