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Development Studies at the University of Otago ranked in the top one hundred 2022 QS World Rankings by Subjects.

The Master of International Development and Planning (MIDP) is a 12-month, full-time course work master's degree, that includes a research dissertation. The degree uniquely combines an enhanced understanding of development issues with professional planning skills and competencies.

Note: This degree does not lead to professional accreditation with the New Zealand Planning Institute.

A strong emphasis on relationships between people and their environments

Understanding environmental issues and how people are affected in a developmental context is a key objective of the programme. We place a strong emphasis on people and environment relationships in such areas as urban development, water security, health, food security, hazards and pollution.

MIDP staff have extensive expertise in diverse regions including Africa, the Pacific, Australasia, China, South and Southeast Asia.

Key teaching staff

MIDP graduates will possess a deep, coherent and extensive knowledge of development and planning in an international context, and of the fundamental contribution of research to these disciplines.

Career opportunities may include non-governmental organisations, United Nations programmes, the World and Asian Development Banks, governmental ministries working in foreign affairs, trade, and the environment.

Course outline

Understanding the patterns and processes of international development and planning is becoming increasingly important in the fields of social, economic and spatial development. The world is becoming increasingly connected and diverse, and faces serious social, economic and environmental challenges. There is an urgent need for people who have both the capacity to understand development issues and the skills necessary to be able to plan effective implementation strategies in response.

Core and elective papers

The Master of International Development and Planning requires three core papers (GEOG 401 Theories of Development, GEOG 402 Development Planning and Practice, PLAN 411 Planning Theory) and a dissertation (60 points). GEOG 401 and PLAN 411 provide theoretical grounding in international development and planning, while GEOG 402 considers how planning and development can be delivered in practice.

Additional papers provide elective opportunities to tailor to specific student interests and your career aspirations.  All students are expected to obtain at least 180 points from the combination of elective papers.

Main development and planning issues and regions

The Master of International Development and Planning covers:

  • Environmental and health impact assessment
  • Indigenous planning and development
  • Economic decline and regeneration
  • Environmental management
  • Urban planning
  • International and cross-boundary resource management
  • Food security

Regions we examine include Africa, Australasia, China, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Physical environment elements

The physical environment is also explored to enable students to benefit from integrating expertise related to the social and physical environment together with resource management.

Elements include:

  • Coastal hazards
  • Climate change
  • Groundwater hydrology
  • Water quality and provision

Cross-cultural approaches

A further priority that reflects New Zealand's wider mandate, is recognition of indigenous people's perspectives, and the need for cross-cultural approaches. Marae-based learning activities will be an important engagement and enabling component of this degree.

Programme requirements and regulations

Papers required for the programme and details about regulations

Key teaching staff

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