Sep 30, 2023  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2017-19 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2017-19 [Archived Catalog]

International Development Studies - MA

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Degree Title: Master of Arts

Program Name and Number: International Development Studies, MA4209

Department/Unit: Center for International Studies

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: [Fall]

Program Mission: The goal of the International Development Studies Program is to produce graduates who will become development practitioners - catalysts and facilitators for change in developing contexts. We approach the study of international development from a multidisciplinary perspective, combining theory, methods, practical application, and technical concentration. Students build upon a required core while specializing in one of five concentrations: environment, gender, health, social sciences, or conflict. Additional specialization is possible with numerous certificates (gender, GIS, and environment for example). In addition, students choose one of the three broad tracks to complete their degree. These include (a) a thesis; (b) a professional project; or (c) the completion of a comprehensive examination.

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Understand history of theories of development and their uses,
  • Be knowledgeable of the data used in development and at least one method of analysis,
  • Learn at least two different disciplinary perspectives of development,
  • Develop a technical concentration in one discipline of development, and
  • Integrate the methods, disciplinary perspectives, and concentration into an integrated capstone project.

Program Overview:  Founded in 1977 as the Development Studies Program, the International Development Studies (IDS) Program at Ohio University offers a diverse and stimulating atmosphere for students who have a background and interest in the social, natural, and health sciences, and wish to apply this interest and learning to international development. The program provides a supportive environment for examining the issues and challenges of social, economic, and human development in varied contexts. It is multi-and inter-disciplinary with flexibility to meet individual needs and interests while providing specialized training. It provides opportunities to develop new skills and perspectives that cross disciplinary and geographic boundaries and to reflect on development goals and issues with the support of a diverse community of scholars. It is international in scope with more than fifty percent of students from outside the U.S. and global in reach with alumni of the program in countries from Japan to Moldova, from Indonesia to Pakistan, from Guatemala to Chile, and from South Africa to Morocco.

Concentrations: Students build upon a required core while specializing in one of five concentrations: The student will complete 20 semester credit hours of class and field work in one of the technical areas below to build a greater understanding how each approaches development.

  • Development and Environment
  • Development and Gender
  • Development and Health
  • Development and the Social Sciences
  • Development and Conflict

Opportunities for Graduates:  Graduates from the IDS program pursue careers as development practitioners. The most frequent positions are with non-governmental organizations (NGOs such as CARE, CRS, ACDI/VOCA, etc.), international consulting companies (DAI, Chemonics, Abt Assoc., etc.), federal government (USAID, MCC, JICA, DFID, etc.), and international donor agencies such as the United Nations and its subdivisions (UNHCR, UNICEF, IFAD, etc.). Alternatively, some pursue further graduate degrees in fields such as public health or administration, law, and education.

Link to Program:

Graduation Requirements:  

To be conferred the Master of Arts in International Affairs in International Development Studies, each student must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 48 hours of approved course work successfully with a overall minimum 3.0 GPA or better
    • No grade below C, no more than 2 grades below B
  • Preparation of a Capstone Project: Comprehensive Exam, Professional Project, or Thesis Option
    • Up to 6 credit hours of professional project or thesis course work hours can be counted toward the minimum 48 hours needed to graduate
  • Demonstrated Proficiency in a Second Language
    • Up to 6 credit hours of language courses can be counted toward the minimum 48 hours needed to graduate
      1. The requirement may be met through: Two years of university study of a modern language
      2. One year of university study of a Less Commonly Taught language
      3. Native speaking ability
      4. Testing through another agency, such as the Peace Corps

Course Requirements: IDS students must complete a sequence of required and elective core courses, as well as a series of courses in one of the five disciplinary concentrations. Core courses and disciplinary concentration courses are to be combined so as to provide the most appropriate set of intellectual and professional reference points for the student’s examination of the development process. Each program/course of study must be approved in advance by your program advisor, normally the Program Director.

Course work is broken down as follows:

  • 8 Hours Foundation Courses
  • 12 Hours Development Core
  • 8 Hours Methods Core
  • 20 Hours Concentrations Elective - Up to 6 credit hours of language courses can count toward the 20 hours if language proficiency is not met.  This must be approved by the program director. If the student is completing a professional project or thesis, up to 5 credit hours of professional project or thesis hours can count towards the 20 hours.
    • International Development and the Environment
    • International Development and Gender
    • International Development and Health
    • International Development and Social Sciences
    • International Development and Conflict

Completion of this program normally takes two years or 4 semesters.

Culminating Experience: A capstone project will be due in the final semester of the program. The capstone can take the format of a comprehensive exam, professional project, or a thesis.

  • Comprehensive Exam: The examination permits a final synthesis, asking students to relate course work, research skills and literature. It is a final review of the student’s progress and an opportunity for students to draw together their disciplines. One of the major purposes of the comprehensive exam is, in fact, to cause the student to reflect upon the interdisciplinary dimensions of their program. Three possible overall results may emerge from the exam; Pass, Partial Pass where the student will have to follow-up with an oral exam; and Fail.
  • Professional Project: Students who are not planning to continue their education at the doctoral level may opt for a more practical educational experience. The professional project, typically in the form of a final paper intended for submission to an academic journal or a grant proposal intended for submission to a granting agency, allows students to prepare to enter the workforce by developing a submission quality grant proposal that may or may not be submitted to an actual organization. A committee of three faculty members must be chosen by the end of spring semester of the student’s first year of study.
  • Thesis: Students who wish to pursue this option should see the program director early in their first semester to discuss the possibilities and also consult the Electronic Thesis Guidelines provided by the Graduate College

Admission Requirements: Admission requirements, beyond the university minimum of a 4-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and a TOEFL of 80 or above for non-native English speakers, are 3 letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose which addresses why this program, and a resume/CV which provides background on the applicant.  A short biography is optional, but useful. We do not require the GRE exam for admission.

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