A collaborative specialization is intended to provide an additional multidisciplinary experience for students enrolled and completing the requirements in one of a number of participating graduate programs” (OCGS Report of the Working Group on Collaborative Programs, May 2001).


A collaborative specialization aims to: –  provide students with a broader base from which to explore a novel interdisciplinary area or special development that crosses a number of disciplines – create common experiences, such as a core course, seminars, and other intellectual activities – assist students with an interest in this field to connect with other professors and graduate students – offer an organizational home within the University for students and professors who focus on community development processes within their various disciplines and professions.


Students register in degree programs in their home units. They must meet the home unit’s admission standards and complete its degree requirements, as well as those of the collaborative program. Students may be admitted to collaborative programs either at the time they begin their graduate studies in one of the collaborating departments or faculties, or later during their program.”

Development Policy and Power (DPP) Collaborative Specialization

The DPP specialization critically explores a range of ideologies, institutions and practices related to development policy making and implementation – and various forms of contestations and resistance. The synergies and tensions among development politics, policies, research, and practice will be analyzed using critical development theories (Marxian, Gramscian, anti-oppression, anti-imperialist, feminist, anti-racist, post-colonial, liberation geography, decolonization perspectives etc.) that put power asymmetries and social justice aspirations at their core. Central to this approach will be active engagement with a diversity of critical scholars and epistemologies from the Global South.


Participants will be immersed in thematic discussions around a range of development policies and such pressing issues as: trade and financialization; food, agriculture, and land struggles; inclusive social policies; health inequity; displacement, immigration, and citizenship; aid, taxation, and (illicit) financial flows; political economy of knowledge production; global governance and the exercise of state power; Indigenous resistance and popular mobilization against racism, patriarchy, and class oppression; and neoliberal globalization and corporate power writ large.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Acquire an in-depth understanding of the main historical and theoretical approaches to the critical study of development processes and policy making (and their intersections across a variety of development policy areas).

  • Develop a critical, historicized understanding of the nature of some of the main policy areas/domains within the field of development. 

  • Increase the ability to constructively reflect upon and engage with scholars and policy makers on the complex relationship between critical research on development policy and the policy making process itself.

  • Hone professional research capacities in critical development studies including: the identification of research problems; oral discussion, debate, and writing skills; and exposure to development policy engagement methods and critical approaches to knowledge translation.

This course will be completely online for the 2022-2023 year.