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Queen's University

Department of Global Development Studies

Admission Requirements for the DEVS MA Program

Before applying you should consider the following:

  1. Am I looking for a research-based program?

    The DEVS MA program is academically oriented: its primary goal is to provide students with important conceptual tools and knowledge for undertaking academic research in the broad field of development studies. Our program is therefore not designed for students seeking direct professional training in development administration and/or practice. In the past our graduating students have gone on to a range of professions, including further academic studies and/or careers in government, law, media, social justice and NGOs, international business and other fields.
  2. Do I have sufficient academic background to work in this field?

    Global development studies is a social science field and the core courses we offer are based upon social science approaches. As such, we requirea minimum B+ average from a recognized four-year undergraduate program (or equivalent) in a social science field or discipline relevant to the area of development studies. Relevant degrees include: development studies, politics, sociology, geography, economics, gender studies, environmental studies and aboriginal studies. Those with humanities-based backgrounds – for example in history, film, religion and literature– may also be suitable candidates provided they have pursued course work in social science fields during their degrees. Students from traditionally unrelated fields (such as engineering, education or nursing) may also be considered for admission if they have completed sufficient course work in relevant social science fields. For more information, please contact the Graduate Assistant.
  3. Do my interests coincide with the department’s core strengths?

    We do not necessarily expect students to enter the MA program with an established research project, but rather we expect you to have a keen interest in exploring research in some specific development themes. If you are keen to pursue research on a specific topic, you should examine the range of faculty we have in Global Development Studies to be certain that we have suitable expertise to help you conduct research in that areas. More broadly, our core courses are organised around two themes:

    (1) political economy of development
    (2) the cultural politics of development

    We supplement these with a range of topics courses that change from year to year. When applying,
    make sure you indicate clearly on your application why you consider Global Development Studies at Queen’s a good place to pursue research in your main interest areas.  

How do we make our decisions about who to admit?

Entry into our program is highly competitive. We look to admit students who demonstrate strong research potential and are a good fit with our areas of expertise and who fall within our areas of supervisory capacity. Transcripts and academic letters of reference will be used to determine the most qualified and suitable candidates. While we run an academically-orientated program, additional selection criteria may include: experience in practical development or community-orientated programs; written and/or spoken language skills other than English (particularly languages spoken in the global South or in aboriginal communities in Canada).

International Students - Proof of English Language Competency

At Queen's, English is the language of instruction and communication, except for the language departments. For international students, proficiency in English is a prerequisite for admission. Those applicants whose native languages do not include English, and who have not recently studied at an English-language university, will need to demonstrate satisfactory standing in an English Language Proficiency Test as part of the application process, and before final acceptance is granted. All required test scores must be received by the School of Graduate Studies directly from the testing agency, before your application is complete.

Paper-based TOEFL scores must be 600 or higher, while the TOEFL internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) must have an overall minimum score of 88 (out of 120). For more information, including how to request a waiver of the test if applicable, visit


    Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000