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    Theories and Issues in Development

 Version 1.0, August 2020

    For an always up-to-date online version, please visit the course site (check regularly for updates)

  • Welcome!


    Welcome to the Autumn term’s course Theories and Issues in Development This course is about development and sustainability in times of poverty, inequality and climate change. It is interdisciplinary and attracts students from several social science disciplines and teachers from several departments at Lund University.

    A major question addressed throughout the course is why there is poverty amidst plenty despite numerous development policies and comprehensive knowledge about inequality.

    In the course we will highlight, discuss, and analyse current key issues in and for development and sustainability such as climate change, food production and distribution, global health, work and labour, democracy and governance, and intersectional inequalities based on age, class, gender, ethnicity, sex, and space.

    Beyond these issues, the course offers an overview and critical scrutiny of development theory and the development discourse in a historical and social context. In the light of theoretical perspectives you will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of a range of current and longterm development issues and new sustainability challenges.

    The overall aim in this course is to acquire knowledge and skills to critically examine, assess and understand theories, current issues, and long-term debates in development as well as changes over time in relation to various human-environmental conditions. In your own work, and informed by theory and history, you will explore aspects of the issues and their interconnections in further detail. This will promote self-directed and inquiry-based learning and enhance your understanding of development in theory and practice.

    The course educates students for research and for professional development work in government agencies, business, NGOs, think tanks, etc. A critical social science approach should prepare you not only for third cycle studies but also for contributions to human development and sustainability, be it as a researcher or as a policymaker, practitioner, or trainer.


    About Lund University and Graduate School

    Lund University Lund University seeks to be a world-class university that works to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition. The University is ranked as one of the top 100 in the world. We tackle complex issues and global challenges and work to ensure that knowledge and innovations benefit society. We offer education and conduct research in engineering, science, law, social sciences, economics and management, medicine, humanities, theology, fine art, music and drama.

    Our 40,000 students and 7,600 employees are based on our campuses in Lund, Malmö and Helsingborg. The University has a turnover of approximately SEK 8 500 million (EUR 804 million), of which two thirds is in research and one third in education.

    We are an international university with global recruitment. We cooperate with 500 partner universities worldwide and is the only Swedish university to be a member of the strong international networks LERU (the League of European Research Universities) and Universitas 21.



    1. Graduate School
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    2. Student Union
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    3. Lund University
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    The historic main university building, sometimes informally referred to as the White House, from 1882.,13.1867616,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xdf814cd772690564!8m2!3d55.7071807!4d13.195471?hl=sv-SE,13.1867616,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xdf814cd772690564!8m2!3d55.7071807!4d13.195471?hl=sv-SE

  • Graduate School Graduate School at the Faculty of Social Sciences offers interdisciplinary programmes and courses at Master’s level. We coordinate four interdisciplinary programmes in Development Studies, Global Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Social Studies of Gender, and offer courses in theory of science, research methodology and in interdisciplinary themes.

    Graduate School was founded in 2007 in response to the Faculty of Social Sciences’ need to offer interdisciplinary programmes in areas not covered by specific departments. There are currently about 180 programme students roughly distributed in groups of 20 to 30 students per programme. In addition, Graduate School has approximately 300 students taking our classes in theory of science and scientific methodology. We have students from six continents, all with a background in different disciplines, most of them in the social sciences. Our international teaching staff comes from different departments at the Faculty of Social Sciences, as well as from outside the Faculty.

    The Graduate School office is located on the 2nd floor in Gamla Kirurgen, Sandgatan 13A.

    Director of Studies Mikael Sundström

    Graduate School administration Email:

    Phone: +46 (0) 46-222 00 00


    Student Reception (open Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10-13) 

    Postal Address

    Programme Administrator
 Graduate School 
 Faculty of Social Sciences
 Lund University, Box 117
 221 00 Lund, Sweden


    The home of Graduate School used to be part of the city’s Old hospital – and its bed wards and operation theatres have duly been transformed into (rather less blood-spattered) lecture theatres and meeting rooms (our classrooms used to be bed wards). The old mortuary is in the basement (we’ve been thinking about

    organising a Halloween tour one of these years… maybe it’s time?)


    Course overview Teaching and Examination Lectures, seminars and assignments will cover theory and key issues in contemporary development studies.

    Lectures are thematically linked to the seminars where students present, discuss and assess relevant, interesting and significant development issues, theories and current debates, also relating to sustainability challenges.

    To broaden the basis for seminar discussions and written assignments, students will be encouraged to search for data, information and material also beyond the course literature.

    The seminar format is varied. It includes prepared debates, poster sessions, group presentations, discussions, peer-reviewing and concluding remarks from students and teachers. The course ends with a series of seminars where the final individual course paper is outlined, discussed and reviewed by students and examined by teachers.

    Formal student learning outcomes Knowledge and understanding

    On completion of the course, students shall be able to:

    ๏ locate, understand, and critically review development theories and research within their respective disciplines and within the interdisciplinary field of Development Studies

    Competence and skills

    On completion of the course, students shall be able to:

    ๏ formulate complex research questions regarding development

    ๏ give informative oral presentations on development issues

    ๏ communicate scientific issues and follow the development of knowledge within 
 their field of study

    Judgement and approach

    On completion of the course, students shall be able to:

    ๏ identify and critically reflect upon issues and theories of poverty and human development: causes, interrelation, feedback, and possible solutions


  • ๏ analyse relevant development phenomena in a complex manner using key concepts and theories studied during the course Assessment


    Assessment is based on:

    ๏ individual reflective reports on the student’s learning process, written throughout the course

    ๏ group presentations and active participation in seminars

    ๏ an individually written course paper in which the student chooses a specific 
 development issue and analyses it using one (or more) theoretical perspectives.

    Re-examination is offered after the end of the course. If necessary, a second re-examination is arranged at a later date. 

    Grades Marking scale:


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