Center of Excellence in Higher Education
The First Private University in Bangladesh

Program : Master in Development Studies (MDS)


The Master in Development Studies (MDS) program is designed keeping in mind the needs of the public sector and the NGOs in managing and implementing development projects efficiently. It is a multi-disciplinary program aimed at producing graduates who understand development theories and practices and are able to analyze problems of underdevelopment, conceptualize development problems, design need-oriented development projects, negotiate development funds with donors, and manage development projects with confidence. Students come from a variety of backgrounds including business, economics, engineering, humanities and social sciences.

The MDS program includes courses on theoretical approaches to development, key development issues at national and international levels and applied courses on development management with policy-oriented focus, as well as internship for field experience.


Master in Development Studies: 39 Credits

(Minimum CGPA requirement - 2.75) | (Minimum requirement – 33 credits)

Waiver: Maximum 2 from foundation | Transfer: Maximum one from core/foundation


Foundation Courses: 6-12 Credits (As required)

Foundation courses code

Course name

Credit hours

DEV 501/ EMBA 502

Basic Economics


DEV 502

Basic Sociology and Social Anthropology


DEV 503

Economic Analysis for Development Practitioners


DEV 504

Research Methodology in Social Science



Core Courses: 18 Credits

Core courses code

Course name

Credit hours

DEV 563

Economic Development


DEV 564

Dynamics of Rural Development


DEV 565

Issues in Sustainable Development


DEV 566

Studies of Development Organization


DEV 567

Program and Project Analysis



Issues in Urban Development



Elective Courses: 6 credits

Elective courses code

Course name

Credit hours

DEV 569

Development Organization Management


DEV 570

Advanced Methods in Development Research


DEV 571

Gender and Development


DEV 572

Microcredit and Small Enterprise Development


DEV 574

Healthcare Management


DEV 575

Environmental Management


DEV 576

Poverty and Hunger


DEV 577

DEV 578

Corruption and Governance

Education Management 



DEV 592

Special Topics in Development Studies


Note: At most one open elective may be taken from NSU MBA Program.


Research Paper/ Internship: 3 Credits

Research/ internship code

Course name

Credit hours

DEV 595

Research paper 


DEV 596



Course Description
Foundation Courses:

Basic Economics: This is an introductory course in Economics. The primary objective of this course is to introduce basic economic concepts, theories and applications to students with little or no background in Economics. Topics include fundamental principles of both micro and macroeconomics with a focus on the most relevant concepts suitable for practitioners of development. The topics included will explain the behavior of economic agents, consumers and producers, through demand, supply, market mechanism, price control, and market structures. Emphasis will be on understanding externalities and property rights that are crucial for the students of Development Studies. The course will also teach the concepts of national income, unemployment, savings and investment, aggregate demand and supply, monetary system, inflation, and fiscal and monetary policies.


Basic Sociology and Social Anthropology: This course is designed to provide a general overview of the concepts of anthropology and sociology so that they can relate and understand developmental issues from multidisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives. The aims and scope of anthropology and sociology, its object of study, and some of its basic concepts such as, marriage and family, society, culture, gender, social inequality, mechanism and the factors contributing to culture change and social structure are discussed. Attempt will be made to relate these to development issues citing examples from various societies.


Economic Analysis for Development Practitioners: In this course emphasis will be placed on explaining how the applications of various economic tools form the basis of formulating sound public policies. Topics include: markets in action like housing market and rent ceiling, black market, labour market and minimum wage, stabilizing farm income, market failure and government, economic regulation, externalities and government action, fiscal policy, monetary policy, and trade policy for development in the context of Bangladesh. Prerequisite: DEV 501 


Research Methodology in Social Science: The objective of this course is to equip students with necessary knowledge and skill required to undertake development and other social science research. It covers the following aspects: principles and methods of research; collection, measurement, and presentation of data; report writing and presentation of findings. It includes learning of the basic and most commonly used statistical and other tools used in social science research. It also includes study and use of action research, Rapid Rural Appraisal, and participatory rural appraisal.

Core Courses:

Economic Development: This course provides a basic grounding in both the theory and practice of development. The key theories that have evolved are discussed with a particular emphasis on the relevance and applicability of these theories within specific real life contexts. As a broad based course, it is by nature interdisciplinary drawing from not only Economics but other relevant disciplines. By the end of this course, students should have gained a critical understanding of the emergence of development as a discourse, the salient theories that have come to define development and the implications for policy and practice.


Dynamics of Rural Development: Rural development and agricultural transformation constitute an overarching issue all around the globe. Alongside urbanization has become a “compelling new reality” and has added a new dimension in the development scenario of the developing countries. Considering the changing scenario this course aims to provide a general overview on rural, agricultural and urban development and its underlying dynamics. The course also focuses on the political economy of rural development, interrelationship between social groups and social institutions.


Issues in Sustainable Development: The concept of sustainable development is development that is able to meet the present needs without compromising the needs of the future generations. The idea of sustainability mainly grew out of over-population, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. This course will try to address the problems of sustainability by understanding the complex interaction among economic development, environmental sustainability, and social inclusions as well as the importance of good governance. Along with some key ideas and tools of sustainable development this course will also look into poverty, income distribution, population, environmental issues, international cooperation (Rio Conference, COP21, COP22, SDGs) to further understand sustainable development in a holistic manner. This course will offer synergies among efficiency, equity, and sustainability rather than trade-offs.


Studies of Development Organizations: This course focuses on philosophical aspects of governance and development - participatory development and local governance. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of the 3 distinct forms of development organization: market, hierarchy (bureaucracy), and community (PVDO). It also examines the dynamics of the political economy of development - causes & effects of government intervention in development process, how state can sustain as well as replace markets and how non-government organizations (NGOs) / private voluntary development organizations (PVDOs) relate to state, i.e., when government uses NGOs / PVDOs to deliver public services. This course will also use case studies of leading PVDOs.


Program and Project Analysis: This course deals with project choice, institutional framework and cost-benefit analysis. It also covers measuring of profitability of a project under different goals, framework of project proposal, logical framework analysis, and project monitoring with special reference to project proposal system used in Bangladesh. It also deals with approaches and tools for evaluation.


Issues in Urban Development: The topics of this course includes: looking at cities – what makes a city ‘urban’ – paths to understanding cities; Urbanization – global context – world cities and development – globalization – core-periphery- cities in transition – urbanization of the countryside; City and power – urban structure – social, political and economic power and urban order; Sense of space – women, youth and children – meaning of community and neighborhood; Question of identities – housing, poor and urban economy and contribution of poor to urban economy ; Governance – managing urbanization with equity.

Elective Courses:

Development Organization Management: Private Voluntary Development Organizations (PVDOs) have become major players in development and social change in developing countries.. This course deals with issues of effective management of the PVDOs. It includes management system of PVDOs and explores issues in organizational design, accountability, governance and public participations. It aims at developing administrative skills for planning, organizing, staffing, coordinating and controlling skills for management of PVDOs. It also includes construction and interpretation of basic financial statements of cash flow, internal external reporting, identification of development projects, funding and revenue generating activities.


Advanced Methods in Development Research: The main objective of this course is to lay the philosophical and methodological foundations of development research, both qualitative and quantitative. The course focuses on the bivariate and the multivariate analysis such as multiple regressions, analysis of variance and experimental designs, canonical correlation, multiple classification analysis and path analysis in the context of development research. Furthermore, stochastic statistical method such as Markov Chain Analysis and Cohort Analysis will be covered. For qualitative methods, the course begins with a critical appraisal of participatory method and focus group discussions, and focuses on thick narratives, case study method, and content analysis. Other recent methodologies used in development research will also be covered.


Gender and Development: This course focuses on the concept of gender and its definition, gendered roles and responsibilities, gender in macroeconomic framework, gender: culture and socialization, gender profiling, gender and development objectives, gender and development as crosscutting issues, gender and development in a mainstream framework, gender, development, and the national budget of Bangladesh, gender, development and sectoral issues, and sex design data.


Microcredit and Small Enterprise Development: The basic objective of this course is to introduce students to the achievements and challenges of microfinance as a development tool. Major features of this course include - providing idea about successful microfinance practitioners and institutions around the world, understanding how microfinance is different from traditional banking and the key features of microfinance that made these institutions successful, discussing challenges like low level of participation of hard-core poor. While focusing on these issues, empirical evidence from current literature is provided along with theoretical discussion. Throughout the course, primary focus is on the experience of the ever-expanding microfinance sector in Bangladesh but comparative experience from other countries are brought in when relevant.






Healthcare Management: The topics of this course includes - what is health economics, brief overview of micro foundations of health economics, economic efficiency and cost benefit analysis, the production, cost and technology of health, demand for health capital, the demand for and the supply of health insurance, asymmetric information and agency, role of government, comparative health care system in USA, UK, Canada and Bangladesh, pharmaceutical industries: structure and regulation, production of health and substitutability, and drug pricing and profits as parts of the healthcare management component of the course.

Education Management: As far as education management, the following topics will be covered: demand for education, supply of education, finance and management of education: education policy of Bangladesh, managing primary, secondary, and higher education, policy shift from public management to private management, education policy, new phenomenon of private universities, growing challenges of skill deficit, challenges and prospects of management of public and private university education in Bangladesh.


Environmental Management: This course presents the basic concepts and principles of environmental concerns, strategies and tools for effective environmental management for managers of business and development organizations. Topics include: problems of development and production, the need for sustainable development, actions for environmental protection, environmental management tools, environmental assessment, economic assessment of environmental consequences, environmental impact statements, environmental audits, waste minimization programs, life cycle assessments and environmental certification under ISO14001, environmental laws and case studies.


Poverty and Hunger: Topics include poverty and entitlements, concepts of poverty, identification and aggregation of poverty, starvation and famines, the entitlement approach, the great Bengal famine, the Ethiopian famines, drought and famine in the Sahel, famine in Bangladesh, and entitlements and deprivation.


Corruption and Governance: This course focuses on the Socio-economic, political, legal, and cultural aspect of corruption, its causes, consequences, and dimensions on legislature, judiciary, and executive. Topics include definition of corruption, public, private, vs. corporate corruption, bureaucracy, different types of corruption like bribery, and collusive vs. non-collusive corruption will be covered thoroughly. Corruption and the macro economy, smuggling and other non-marketed activities, corruption and the role of military and democracy in the economy, corruption and the black market foreign exchange rate, public vs. private sector wage differential and curbing corruption, and role of media in curbing corruption are discussed. The course will also focus on empirical literature on corruption, and its causes and consequences. Particular attention will be given on Bangladesh’s economy


Special Topics in Development Studies: This is a general topic course to meet the special demand for students which may change from semester to semester depending on the need of students and the availability of expert.

Research Paper/Internship/Fieldwork:

Research Paper: Students with CGPA 3.5 or above will be allowed to complete a Research Paper under the supervision of a faculty with the prior approval of the Chairman of the Department of Economics. For Research Paper supervisor will propose a grade to the Chairman, Department of Economics.


Internship: Alternatively, the students may complete 10 weeks of practical work in any development organization/ think tank/ research organization/international organization and 3 weeks of writing and submission of a project report to opt for Internship under the supervision of a faculty with the prior approval of the Chairman, Department of Economics.


Field Work: Students can also complete extensive Field Work under the supervision of a faculty member with prior approval of the Chairman, Department of Economics. Field Work may be required for graduation.

Course Outline

Available with respective faculty member.