Three young people talking around a table
Areas of interest

Study development studies , Ākona te mahi whakawhanake

Study at Massey to get the knowledge and skills that help communities overcome poverty and inequality, to gain more choices, better lives and social justice.

Need help or know what you want to study?

Stand out

Study This Unique Qualification in Australasia and Take Action Against Climate Change.

Go with experience

Experience meets Innovation. Since 1989 Massey offers postgraduate qualifications in development studies in New Zealand.

The heart of the matter

Humanities and Social Sciences at Massey. Explore what it means to be human, why we act like we do and the ways we create meaning.

Make a contribution

Make sense of the world from different perspectives through Massey. Contribute to education, defence, sustainability and more.


Understand how global economic, social, political and environmental forces affect people and shape different parts of the world. Work with people from different backgrounds to help improve their lives.

Learn from leading lecturers and researchers with expertise such as:

  • links between developing natural resources, like oil or water, and conflict
  • measuring complex development problems
  • making business investment more inclusive, sustainable and responsible.

Our staff have direct experience of development policy and practice all round the world, including the Pacific, Asia and Africa. Examples include health and international development, and post-pandemic tourism in the South Pacific.

Development studies is a good fit if you:

  • enjoy geography, sociology or social studies
  • are interested in other cultures and views of the world
  • like thinking analytically, solving practical problems or taking a strategic view.

Development studies courses may cover:

  • globalisation and development
  • gender and development
  • global environmental issues
  • development and inequality
  • endangered cultures
  • contemporary international conflict.

Hunger and poverty

Examine how global forces such as war, business models or climate change can cause hunger and poverty, especially in developing countries.

Learn about contemporary international development theories, policies and approaches. Understand how governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like the UN, Oxfam and the Red Cross:

  • manage disaster situations such as famine and refugees
  • approach complex long-term situations leading to hunger and poverty.

Social injustice

Social injustice is when some people do not have equal access to wealth and opportunities in society, including food, shelter, education or healthcare. As a result, they do not have what they define as hopeful and fulfilling lives.

How to study development studies

Discover what we offer if you’re interested in development studies – whether you’re coming to university for the first time, changing direction or returning to advance your study or career.

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is generally the first thing you’ll study at university.

Graduate certificates

Graduate certificates let you study in a subject you're interested in without doing a second bachelor's degree. Or you can use it as a bridge to postgraduate study if you already have an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate diplomas

Undergraduate diplomas let you try university study before you commit to a degree. They’re also useful if you need to advance your career.

Graduate diplomas

Graduate diplomas can help you advance to postgraduate study or research in a subject you haven’t majored in for your undergraduate study.

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equivalent experience – you’ll be ready to take on postgraduate study.

Master's degrees

A master's degree normally builds on a main subject of study from your undergraduate degree.

Postgraduate certificates

Postgraduate certificates give you an introduction to postgraduate-level study. They’re shorter than postgraduate degrees. If you’re successful, you may be able to use the credits towards a postgraduate diploma

Postgraduate diplomas

Postgraduate diplomas are postgraduate-level qualifications that are longer than a postgraduate certificate. If you’re successful, you might be able to use the credits towards the longer master’s degree.

PhD and other doctoral degrees

Doctoral degrees, including PhDs, are the highest degrees we award. They’re very demanding and their entry criteria reflect this.

What our students say

“I have had life-changing learnings and experiences in my Master of International Development.”
Geeta Reddy

Master of International Development.

“That’s the key message in development studies – rejecting this idea that west is best”
Hayley Morrison

Master of International Development

“Academic staff are internationally renowned for their great expertise in various leading-edge research fields.”
Ta Thi Tam Ha

Master of International Development

Jobs in development studies

Many careers need skills gained through development studies, such as creative and critical thinking, problem-solving and communications.

Careers in international development means providing people with the tools they need to enhance their quality of life. Our graduates often work for organisations such as:

  • Caritas
  • New Zealand Aid Programme
  • Red Cross
  • World Vision
  • UN programmes.

Other graduates work in New Zealand industries such as agriculture, community affairs, education, healthcare and tourism.

Careers related to development studies include:

  • aid workers, who carry out humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and peace-keeping for international aid and humanitarian organisations
  • advocacy officers or community affairs officers, who represent communities to government and organisations
  • development officers, who develop policy and projects, often working within communities
  • foreign policy officers or diplomats, who represent a government to other governments or international organisations
  • human rights advisers.

Annual salary ranges for jobs

Salary ranges disclaimer

Indicative pay rates are:

Which development qualification?

Examples of where our qualifications may take you.

Table showing jobs and what you could study to enter them.
Jobs Examples of what you could study
Development officer Master of International Development
Master of Sustainable Development Goals
Humanitarian officer Master of Sustainable Development Goals (Disaster Management)
Foreign policy officer or diplomat Master of Sustainable Development Goals (Global Development)


QS Ranking - Development Studies

Massey is ranked in the world's top 50 universities for development studies in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.

Get an information guide

Download our guide to find out more about development studies at Massey.

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