BSc (Honours) Social Development & Policy


“Development” has become a principal idea of our times and an object of aspiration for individuals, communities, and governments alike. How can we examine and engage with development as a multi-faceted process of social, economic, and political transformation while attending to context and ethical practice? Responding to this key concern, the central vision of the Social Development and Policy (SDP) program at Habib University is to nurture an inter-disciplinary and comprehensive understanding of development and social change — one that is firmly rooted in an ethic of care and grounded in a sense of place. Such a careful, place-based understanding is deeply connected to the love of knowledge as well as the search for truth. Moreover, this sensibility is fundamentally tied to Habib University’s philosophy of Yohsin, the practice of thoughtful self-cultivation.

To fulfill this vision, the undergraduate major in Social Development and Policy combines rigorous classroom training in the social sciences and humanities with reflexive and experiential learning through a fieldwork practicum. The first program of its kind in Pakistan, it aims to give students new ways to approach the challenges of development locally and globally. Students will be exposed to seminal ideas in social and economic thought that will enable them to understand and critique the processes of economic growth, development, and social change. They will explore how major development concerns such as poverty, gender inequality, urbanization and human rights are shaped by historical forces and processes of political power. They will also examine the role of states, development institutions, markets, and civil society in relation to human well-being.

Employing an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of social issues, the program integrates perspectives and skills drawn from a wide range of disciplines, including Anthropology, History, Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Literature, and Environmental Studies. In this way, the program will equip students with inter-disciplinary thinking and analytical skills that will allow them to understand and tackle a range of problems and challenges in their professional and scholarly careers.

Offering critical insights into the core values of development and progress, the SDP major will train a new generation of social scientists who – like the best development practitioners – incorporate lived experience and vernacular sensibilities into policy design at the organizational, national and international levels.

Requirements for the Major

All students majoring in Social Development and Policy are required to complete a total of 35 course requirements. Students must maintain a minimum grade of C+ (2.33 GPA) in SDP major credit requirements in order to graduate with this degree.
All SDP majors must complete the following six (6) courses:

  • SDP 101 Development and Social Change
  • SDP 201 Qualitative Research Methods (QRM1)
  • SDP 202 Quantitative Research Methods (QRM2)
  • SDP 203 Social Theory
  • SDP 301 Public Policy
  • SDP 302 International Political Economy (Mandatory Elective Choice)

Students must also complete any three (3) upper level SDP electives. In addition to these courses, all SDP students must successfully complete a language requirement (3 courses), a Practicum, and a Final Research Project, consisting in either a Major Research Report (MR2) or an Honors Thesis.

Field Concentration:

All students pursuing the SDP major have the option to also choose a Field Concentration within the program. Students choosing this option must complete all requirements outlined above, but instead of the three (3) upper level SDP electives students pursuing a field concentration must use their elective space to complete a defined series of 5 (5) additional courses within a specific field. These fields may include for example, Anthropology, Economics, Political Economy, or Sociology. For more details, and to learn more about available field concentrations, see the program coordinator.

Language Requirements:

All students at Habib University must complete URDU 101, Jahan-e-Urdu, as part of the Habib University Liberal Core requirements. All SDP majors must also fulfill a set of least three (3) sequential courses in a vernacular language, for example Sindhi or Punjabi. For full language offerings refer to the Arzu Center for Vernacular Languages and Cultures.


All SDP majors are required to complete a Practicum, which is an application of the skills and competencies learned in SDP. This practicum must be a minimum of six (6) weeks and can be broadly construed in consultation with an assigned practicum adviser. The practicum takes the form of a professional placement, which includes a significant fieldwork opportunity.

Final Research Project:

All Students majoring in SDP will have to successfully complete a Final Research Project. Contingent on average grade at the start of the final year in the program, students will be required to produce either a Major Research Report, or an Honors Thesis.

Major Research Report:

With this option, SDP majors must complete a one (1) semester capstone project, called a Major Research Report (MR2), representing a significant exploration of some aspect of the intersection of society and policy. This project will take the form of an independent study developed under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Understood broadly, this could take the form of a literature review, research prospectus, policy discussion, documentary, interactive informational website, etc. It requires students to demonstrate advanced analytical and critical skills, method of comparing and contrasting, and other form of analysis, substantiating a scientific understanding. Students pursuing this option must declare their intention at the beginning of the semester (Fall or Spring of final year) and choose a faculty supervisor at the same time.

Honors Thesis:

With this option, SDP majors will work on a year-long Honors Thesis Project, spread over the course of the final two semester of the program. The Honors Thesis is a more substantial research project compared to the MR2. Student will explore a topic building on existing knowledge, and through the use of either or both, qualitative and/or quantitative research. Thesis writing is an exercise in developing in-depth knowledge that speaks broadly to the social, cultural and/or economic issues of contemporary societies. The Honors Thesis must be guided by a committee comprising at least two (2) faculty members. Students intending to complete an Honors Thesis must declare their intention at the beginning of their final academic year and submit a prospectus at the end of their penultimate semester.

Requirements for the Minor

Students must successfully complete Development and Social Change, Qualitative Research Methods (QRM1) or Quantitative Research Methods (QRM2), and Public Policy. Students must also take two SDP electives, one of which must be an upper level course (300 or 400).