A brief history of the School of International Development A brief history of the School of International Development

A brief history of the School of International Development

The School's history began in 1967, when a consultancy group called the Overseas Development Group (ODG) formed within the School of Social Studies (in those days known as SOC) at UEA. Then, like today, ODG was an institutional mechanism to enable academics to engage in research, policy and consultancy work in the South and to enrich the learning experience of students by bringing examples of current practice into the lecture theatre.

In 1973 a new School of Development Studies was established with ODG as an integral part of the School. The School offered the first undergraduate degree in Development Studies in Britain.  Although other Universities now offer such degrees, none offer an integrated undergraduate programme which encompasses social, economic and applied natural sciences leading to either a BA or BSc. At the postgraduate level, new Masters programmes in Rural Development and Development Studies were established in the 1970s and students came to study these programmes in DEV from all over the world.


Image: Students on Campus in the 1970s

During its first decade, the School was located in prefabs on the University Village site across the road from the main campus. This separation from the rest of the University helped create a strong sense of DEV identity. The School even had its own cartographer because the School had to make its own maps! In the early 1980s the School was moved to the main campus and during the mid-eighties experienced its most difficult period when University funding cuts led to a proposal to abolish the undergraduate degree programme. There was an international campaign to save the School which proved successful and DEV has since survived and thrived.

In 2009 the School changed its name to the School of International Development, and ODG changed its name to International Development UEA (or DEVco as we now call it). The School has 5 undergraduate courses, including a BA Geography and International Development which began in 2013, and 14 postgraduate courses.  It has about 40 academic staff, 220 undergraduate students, 120 postgraduate students and 60 PhD students. It remains internationally renowned for the quality of its research and teaching.