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International Development Studies 


International Development Studies (IDS) seeks to understand and address problems facing developing countries. It is an inherently interdisciplinary field that examines issues through a range of lenses like political science, economics, science, anthropology, sociology, environment, and many others.  

As an IDS student, you can focus on your interests within the following streams:  

  1. Economic Development and Living Standards: You will study factors contributing to economic growth, the trade-offs associated with different ways of achieving it, and the distributional issues that arise. This stream explores what ‘development’ means in different contexts.  
  2. States and Governance: You will focus on how political institutions shape developmental processes.  
  3. Culture and Society: You will learn how the social structures, history, and culture of populations affect development processes.  
  4. Environment and Agricultural Resources: Within development studies, the environment has long been recognized as a vital determinant of development. This stream highlights the delicate balance that must be attained between humans and their environments to make sustained livelihoods possible.  

  McGill’s IDS program is truly flexible – chose from these streams and tailor an education to your specific interests and skills.


Your career path in this field can change depending on your chosen stream. If you focus on States and Governance, you might work with government officials to study and improve development through public policy. Whichever stream you choose, you will stay up to date on current events and work closely with other specialists, both national and international.  

You could become a:  

  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Government Administrator 
  • Legislative Aid 
  • Analyst 
  • Public Affairs Consultant 

Possible minors

Minors are a great way to customize your academic experience. Many students use minors to pursue interests outside their major, while others choose minors to complement their degree.

Discover these potential minors:  

Related majors

Discover these related majors: 

Ready to apply?

For this program, you'll need to apply to the Faculty of Arts.

See the full eligibility information for more information about deadlines and required documents for your application.

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