Our School's history began in 1967, when a consultancy group called the Overseas Development Group formed within the School of Social Studies (in those days known as SOC) at UEA.

Then, like today, the Overseas Development Group 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 2009 the School changed its name to the School of International Development, and the Overseas Development Group changed its name to International Development UEA (or DEVco as we now call it). The School has 8 undergraduate courses, including a BA Geography and International Development which began in 2013, and 13 postgraduate courses. It has nearly 50 academic staff, over 350 undergraduate students, nearly 200 postgraduate students and over 30 PhD students.

In 2023, to celebrate 50 years of DEV, the school has changed its name to the School of Global Development. It remains internationally renowned for the quality of its research and teaching.


Get an overview of our history on the timeline below. 

Herstories + Histories

For a fuller overview of our School's History, please download Herstories + Histories - 50 years of Dev #1973


Overseas Development Group established

The Overseas Development Group (ODG) was formed within the School of Social Studies at UEA. ODG enabled academics to engage in research, policy and consultancy work.

UEA Overseas Development Group logo 1967

School of Development Studies established

The first undergraduate degree in Development Studies in Britain. The School was based in prefabs in the University Village.

Archive photo of The Village at UEA

Royal Agricultural Show

DEV staff and students (plus Gunder and Frank, two Hereford x Freisan bullocks) were introduced to the Queen and Peter Walker (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries).

The Queen and Peter Walker at the Royal Agricultural Show in 1982

DEV moves to the main campus

DEV moves onto the main campus, saying goodbye to their previous home in the University Village.

UEA campus walkways

International Development Secretary visits

International Development Secretary, Claire Short officially opened the new DEV farm. This was the third time to farm has moved since DEV degrees began in 1973.

Claire Short cutting yellow ribbon

Queen's Anniversary Prize

In 2009 our School of International Development received the highest National Honour awarded to UK colleges and universities - ‘The interdisciplinary approach of the University’s School of International Development has produced pioneering research into the links between resources management, poverty alleviation and wider political economy. Alongside many other projects, it has had considerable success in tackling land and forest degradation and water conservation in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The University has also established a not-for-profit organisation to maximise the School’s practical contribution to global development in an age of climate change.’

UEA Receive Queens Award

Water Security Research Centre formed

Founded in 2011, the Water Security Research Centre (WSRC) brings together researchers from across the University of East Anglia to address the theoretical, practical, and policy challenges of managing and governing water for different human, economic and environmental needs from the local to the global scales.

UEA Water Security poster

Global Environmental Justice Group formed

An interdisciplinary team of UEA researchers, the Global Environmental Justice Group, focuses on the links between social justice and climatic/environmental change at local to global scales. Their founding principle is that sustainable development can only succeed if justice issues lie at the heart of environmental governance, with a particular emphasis on promoting the needs and voices of those suffering from poverty and disempowerment. They envision and support more effective forms of environmental governance and social mobilisation in countries across the world through research, engagement, international conferences and online teaching programmes.

Goats Herd

DEV is 1st on the Research Excellence Framework

The School of International Development was ranked first for overall research quality, impact, environment and outputs in development studies (Times Higher REF Analysis 2021). 91% of research was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

1st in Development Studies infographic statistic on yellow backgroun

50th Anniversary and rebrand

From 1 August 2023 we will be called the School of Global Development.

This allows us to recognise that the real challenge for a just and fair world is to delve into the complexities of global problems and discover opportunities for creating more sustainable and equitable futures for all.

50 years of DEV rebrand logo on yellow background