Ph.D. in International Development

The Ph.D. – A Classical Concept

A Ph.D. means a doctorate in what once was thought of as the philosophy of the subject. Today the word philosophy must be understood to include professorship knowledge and skills. It is the premier degree of the university tradition, the degree that allows the holders to mentor others up to their same level. Mentoring is a skill emphasized by DKA: Each candidate will have mentored a cohort of students through the Master’s Program in Community Development as a basic requirement for attaining the degree.

The Ph.D. requires students to become thoroughly conversant with the classic literature, major theorists, and schools of thought of International Development sufficiently in depth to assess their own findings in relation to previous and current research, and trends in theory within the field. The degree work will demand that students think critically and interrelate facts within a broad theoretical framework.

Program Purpose

The Ph.D. in international development at DKA provides an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on identifying the needs and solutions to the social, cultural, economic and spiritual development of Africa’s peoples. The program is designed for mid-career professionals seeking to engage in humanitarian service, research, program development, or training of personnel in the broad field of International Development.

Development is a dynamic process of change and growth, and is most effective when generated from within a socio-cultural system. Development that aims at transforming societies provides not only options and resources for physical and social betterment, but also hope and answers for spiritual questions and needs. Only through holistic development practices can lasting change be achieved.

Distinctive Nature of the Program

The doctoral program in International Development is designed as an interdisciplinary approach that combines theoretical rigor with strong applied skills. The nexus of the program is the dual orientation of both practical and theoretical approaches to understanding and participating in sustainable human development. The Ph.D. in International Development program has been written by practitioners of international development with experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Ph.D. students currently in the program are equally impressive with a wide variety of professional and academic experience. Each student brings a unique contribution to the program which lends itself to a dynamic learning environment.

The heart of the Ph.D. program is the relationship between the student and his or her Major Advisor, who serves in a mentoring role. Theirs should be a collaborative relationship, with the student contributing at times to the professional and scholarly goals of the Major Advisor, while pursuing his or her own research under the supervision and guidance of the Major Advisor.

Educational Outcomes

Doctoral graduates will demonstrate the capacities to:

  • Formulate viable research questions; manage information, including conventional bibliographic and electronic information retrieval methods; and design, conduct, and report original research.
  • Show a profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of research and scholarship.
  • Explore key disciplinary and multi-disciplinary norms and perspectives relevant to the relationship between the area of specialization and international development.
  • Apply research to refine the international development efforts of both governmental and non-governmental organizations, utilizing alternative approaches while being a “change agent”.
  • Articulate and communicate effectively, with skills in listening, speaking, and writing, in order to disseminate the results of research and scholarship to a variety of audiences.
  • Exhibit the knowledge of an informed professional about the chosen field of specialization, being able to evaluate the relevance and value of their research to international development.
  • Mentor others who are their juniors in the academic world in the foundational knowledge and skills of international development.

Achievement of these learning outcomes is measured by means of course assignments, evaluation of field experience, the doctoral qualifying examination, the doctoral dissertation with oral defense, and the mentoring of junior scholars.