International Development Studies
Location: Marion McCain Building
6135 University Avenue
Room 3038
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS
B3H 4R2
Telephone: (902) 494-3814
Fax: (902) 494-2105


International Development Studies is an interdisciplinary program involving the study of poverty, inequality, social change and justice in a global context. The IDS program is structured around two broad axes: development theory/practice, and the global/local. Areas of teaching expertise among the core faculty in IDS include development theory, gender, activism, culture, human security, rural development, migration, health, Indigenous peoples, participatory development and global citizenship. Additional areas of expertise are drawn from over 40 cross-appointed and adjunct faculty members who teach IDS approved courses and/or supervise our honours thesis and graduate students.

The department's areas of expertise include many of the key regions of the developing world, particularly Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. We take a broad view of development - including development issues within Canada as well as the global South.

We offer a diverse set of opportunities for students to participate in experiential learning in both Canadian and international contexts. Experiential learning enables students to focus on skills development in a range of areas: language development, research, writing, managerial, etc. Through our experiential learning opportunities, students can volunteer or intern in Halifax, East Africa, Cuba, and many other locations. Students are encouraged to draw upon international development experiences from overseas linkage programs through Dalhousie and local Halifax community organizations.

The IDS program offers a study abroad option in Cuba (Winter) with FLACSO (Facultad Latino Americana de Ciencias Sociales Program Cuba) in the University of Havana as well as an intensive spring program in Cuba.

As an interdisciplinary program, IDS recommends students consider combined degree programs. Students are therefore encouraged to enter the combined honours, double major or minor programs, which provide opportunities that further integrate their IDS studies with those of an approved arts or science field, e.g. IDS and History, IDS and Biology. Double majors and combined honours degrees provide additional opportunities for students to pursue graduate studies in more than one area.

Students with backgrounds in sciences are also welcome in this program as topics in international development cut across all disciplines from anthropology to animal science.

The interdisciplinary nature of the program requires that students take a number of credits outside the IDS department as IDS approved courses in other departments. The first year of study at Dalhousie is dedicated to completing first year requirements. IDS students are encouraged to take a broad range of disciplines in their first year to prepare them for the interdisciplinary format of the program. First year students are encouraged to participate in numerous student-led organizations related to International Development. Other events and activities are advertised on the IDS website and information can be obtained from the IDS office.

Students are encouraged to acquire competence in a relevant language in addition to English (e.g. Arabic, French, Spanish) and Economics. Research design and basic statistics courses (e.g. POLI 3492/POLI 3493 or SOSA 3402/SOSA 3403) are also useful skills to acquire throughout the IDS degree.

Degree Programs

In addition to the departmental requirements listed below, students must satisfy the requirements outlined in the Degree Requirements for College of Arts and Science.

The IDS Department offers the following undergraduate degree options:

IDS as the second subject of study

  1. Minor in IDS (18 IDS credit hours required)
  2. Double Major with IDS as the second subject (30 IDS credit hours required)
  3. Combined Honours with IDS as the second subject (30 IDS credit hours required)

IDS as the primary subject of study

  1. BA (90 credit hours) Minor in IDS (18 IDS credit hours required)
  2. BA (120 credit hours) Double Major in IDS as the primary subject (30 IDS credit hours required)
  3. BA (120 credit hours) Major in IDS (36 IDS credit hours required)   
    1. BA (120 credit hours) Combined Honours in IDS + a second subject: Thesis stream (42 IDS credit hours required)
    2. BA (120 credit hours) Combined Honours in IDS + a second subject: Coursework stream (42 IDS credit hours required)
    1. BA (120 credit hours) Concentrated Honours in IDS: Thesis stream - (54 IDS credit hours required)
    2. BA (120 credit hours) Concentrated Honours in IDS: Coursework stream - (54 IDS credit hours required)

First Year Recommended Courses

To enter any of the IDS undergraduate degree programs, students should have completed 30 credit hours and are strongly recommended to fulfill the first year requirements outlined in the Degree Requirement section of this calendar. Students who intend to pursue degrees in IDS are encouraged to take first year courses that will both fulfill their first year requirements and contribute to their broad understanding of international development issues. Students are highly encouraged to take INTD 1102.03/CANA 1102.03 (Halifax and the World) INTD 1103.03/CANA 1103.03, which can be used to satisfy either the first year social science or humanities requirement. Students who are considering a double major or combined honours program in IDS and another discipline are also encouraged to take any pre-requisite courses for upper level courses in the other discipline. The following courses provide background to key issues or basic skills related to International Development Studies, but are not pre-requisites for upper level IDS courses:

Social Science Requirement: INTD 1102/CANA 1102, INTD 1103/CANA 1103, ECON 1101/ECON 1102; GWST 1010/GWST 1015; HIST 1501/HIST 1502, HIST 1701/HIST 1702; POLI 1010, POLI 1015, POLI 1050, POLI 1055, POLI 1103, POLI 1100; SOSA 1002, SOSA 1003, SOSA 1050, SOSA 1100, SOSA 1200; King's FYP.

Humanities Requirement: INTD 1102/CANA 1102, INTD 1103/CANA 1103, HIST 1501/HIST 1502, HIST 1701/HIST 1702; GWST 1010/GWST 1015; RELS 1001/RELS 1002; PHIL 1000; ENGL 1000, ENGL 1040, ENGL 1041; RUSN 1020/RUSN 1070; King's FYP.

Physical Science Requirement: SUST 1000, SUST 1001; ECON 1101/ECON 1102; ENVS 1000; ERTH 1060; PSYO 1021, PSYO 1022.

Language Requirement: French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Russian.

Writing Requirement: HIST 1005; POLI 1103; SOSA 1050; SUST 1000; PHIL 1010; ENGL 1010, ENGL 1020, ENGL 1040, ENGL 1045, ENGL 1050, ENGL 1100; King's FYP.

IDS Honours Program

The IDS Honours program is designed for students with a demonstrated aptitude for advanced study in the field.

  • Admission to the IDS Honours program is based on academic performance and, in the case of the thesis stream, a thesis proposal. Applicants normally should have achieved an overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.30 (B+) or better and a minimum B+/A- in all IDS and IDS-approved courses to be considered for admission. In the case of a combined degree, these same requirements must be met in the second major subject
  • The deadline for Departmental Honours Applications is January 31 of a student’s third year of study. Consult the IDS Department website for information on how to apply to the honours program.
  • For entry into the thesis stream, successful applicants must be registered in both the Fall and Winter Honours Thesis courses, INTD 4401 and INTD 4402. These are two classes that constitute a multi-term course and both must be successfully completed to earn an Honours degree in International Development Studies by way of a thesis. The Thesis courses are restricted to students pursuing the thesis option.