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About Us

About Us

The Institute for Social Development is a research and post-graduate centre providing degrees in development studies. The Institute offers structured course-work Honours and Masters programmes in Development Studies as well as Masters and PhD by thesis. 

Development Studies is a field of critical inquiry concerning the contemporary dynamics of social, economic, political & population change.

Development Studies makes use of inter-disciplinary conceptual frameworks and methods to identify development options that are possible and desirable, asking for whom & at what cost. In their course-work and research, post-graduate students explore the ways in which such options are prioritised & implemented, and the intended & unintended consequences of these choices. ISD graduates work in government departments throughout Africa, international development agencies, as well as in rural and urban development NGOs.

These policy orientated post-graduate programmes are designed for those planning a career in the field of economic and social development as policy-makers, activists, administrators, developers, researchers or lecturers at universities. Annually about 60 students from up to 20 different countries register in our Honours or Masters programmes in Development Studies.


Through our South African-German Centre for Development Research (, the Institute has a long standing collaboration with the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE) ( at the Ruhr University of Bochum in Germany, which offers a Masters in Development Management and a structured PhD  programme in International Development Studies. Selected students have the opportunity to take modules offered by the IEE in both South Africa and Germany. The recent award of an Erasmus Mundus grant for Development Studies (EUSA-ID) has expanded this collaboration to include 

1. Erasmus University Rotterdam, International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands ( , 

2. University Duisburg-Essen, Institute for Political Science, Germany (,

3. Palacký University, Department of Development Studies, Czech Republic (,

4. University of Bordeaux IV, Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux France (,

5. University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (

6. University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Departments for Economics, Development & International Cooperation (​).

7. University of Kwazulu Natal, Population Studies and Development Studies.


This provides opportunities for selected students to spend up to two years at one of the collaborating partners.

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