Frequently Asked Questions



Can I apply directly to IDS without first selecting a department? (Graduate students)

No. Students must enter the collaborative IDS specialization through a collaborating department, as they must complete both departmental and IDS requirements to graduate.

On the on-line application, choose the program that combines your desired area of study with International Development Studies (ex. Sociology with International Development Studies - MA.SOC+IDEV). If you are uncertain about your choice of department, you may seek advice from the Graduate Coordinator.

Can I declare two areas of emphasis?

No. The IDS major consists of the core requirements, plus one area of emphasis. Contact the IDS advisor if you are having difficulty choosing an area of emphasis.

Can I defer my acceptance? (Graduate Students)

Please visit the Office of Graduate Studies for more information on deferring offers of admission.

Can I study International Development online (via distance education)?

A limited number of courses required in the IDS specialization are offered through distance education, including IDEV*1000. However, it is possible to complete electives and other BA program requirements online during the year and/or over the summer.

Can I take any courses through distance education? (Graduate Students only)

No. We don't offer graduate courses in a distance format. However, occasionally arrangements are made to take one or more courses on a reading or individual study basis.

Do I have to send my application to IDS?

No. The application is made directly to the department selected by the student. Do not submit your application or any documents directly to IDS.

How do I find out about opportunities for employment and overseas placements (internships or volunteer work)?

Any opportunities for employment and international opportunities that come to our attention are posted on our Facebook page or follow GIDS LinkedIn. Otherwise, you will find information and assistance at the Centre for International Programs and Co-operative Education and Career Services.

How do I know when courses are offered? The course I'm looking for is not listed on WebAdvisor.

During any particular course selection period, search for the course on Webadvisor. This is the best place to check if a course will be offered in the coming semester. Semester course offerings are also included on most department websites or you may contact the department for information.

The undergraduate calendar also lists general course information, including semester offering, in Part XII Course Descriptions. Note that in the course descriptions, F = Fall, W = Winter and S = Summer. If you find a ‘U’ by the course description, there is no designated semester offering for this course. Check with the department offering the course or with the IDS advisor.

How is the specialization average requirement of 70% calculated and how is it different from the GPA?

In order to graduate with an Honours BA degree, you must obtain a 70% cumulative average over all course attempts in your major. For ID majors, this specialization average is calculated using all course attempts in the core and the area of emphasis combined.

The GPA is the overall cumulative average including all course attempts in your degree at the University of Guelph (specialization courses + electives). The GPA is the average that appears on your transcript.

How long does it take to finish the program?

Please consult with your chosen collaborating department for the average time of completion.

How much is tuition for the program? (Graduate Students)

Please see Student Financial Services for tuition details.

How will I finance my studies? (Graduate Students)

The University of Guelph offers many resources to financially support graduate students. Explore your options on the Graduate Studies website.

Help to fund your graduate studies by taking advantage of Entrance Awards related to International Development Studies.

New full-time doctoral students who are accepted at the University of Guelph are guaranteed funding. Stipends for master's students are offered at the discretion of the home department.

Students are encouraged to consult their home department regarding the amount and duration of funding packages, which may include university graduate scholarships, teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships, etc.

I am taking a semester or a year off school. Do I need to do anything before I go and will I have to be readmitted when I return?

You can take up to 5 consecutive semesters (including summer semesters) off without having to apply for readmission. However, please contact your Program Counsellor if you have questions about this.

I need some help with course selection. Where do I start?

Please see the IDS Course Planning Guide. For each year of study, you will find useful tips for course selection as well as general guidelines to help you plan ahead and achieve your educational goals.

You should also review your academic evaluation on the Webadvisor to review the courses you have taken towards your IDS major/minor and BA degree requirements.

If you have questions after you've reviewed the planning guide and your academic evaluation, check in the IDS Academic Advisor.

I plan to travel overseas and volunteer while I am away. Can this experience be counted towards my program?

Students may use work or volunteer experiences in development, whether in Canada or abroad, as a basis for receiving academic credit through unique individual work/study courses: IDEV*3200, IDEV*4190, IDEV*4200.

In these courses, students work on their own project or research under the supervision of a faculty member. It is recommended that students plan for an independent study course at least one semester in advance.

I would like to take a course at another institution. Is this possible?

Yes, it is possible to take a course at another degree granting institution and to have the course counted as credit on your University of Guelph transcript through a Letter of Permission. ID students must request a Letter of Permission from the BA counselling office before they apply for admission at the other institution.

Is it possible to complete the degree on a part-time basis?

Yes, but only if your chosen collaborating department allows part-time study. It is almost impossible to switch to part-time status after you have entered a graduate program as a full-time student.

My specialization average for the IDS major is below the 70% required for graduation with Honours. What should I do?

The 70% major requirement for the Honours degree is a BA degree graduation requirement. You are not required to achieve a 70% every semester in order to remain in the major but you should monitor your IDS major average closely as it must be at 70% by the end of your final semester.

If your IDS Major average is low, you should consult with the IDS advisor or BA program counsellor as early as possible.

The requirements in the undergraduate calendar have changed. How do I know which calendar I should be using?

Most students need to consult two different calendars, depending on the information they are seeking.

Use the current undergraduate calendar to check course descriptions and prerequisites, important academic dates (schedule of dates) for the current year, regulations, policies and procedures.

If you are looking for the course requirements for your major, minor or concentration in ID, you should be using the calendar in which you are registered. This is usually the calendar of the academic year in which you began your current degree and specialization(s).

If you are unsure, check the “calendar” listed at the top of your academic/program evaluation on Webadvisor, e.g. If the calendar is listed as 2015, then your calendar is 2015-2016. The current and archived academic calendars are available on the UofG website. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the IDS academic advisor.

What about field work?

Arrangements for field work are made on an individual basis by the student in consultation with supervising faculty and are subject to Ethics Approval. Field research typically extends the degree by one semester (depending on the nature of the research).

Many students obtain funding for field research from outside sources (IDRC, CIDA etc.), sources internal to the University or externally-financed projects which are administered at Guelph or a university with which we collaborate.

What is my academic evaluation?

The evaluation provides a summary of your degree and specialization requirements and reports on your progress to date. In other words, it operates like a checklist, indicating which requirements you have met and which ones have yet to be completed.

Your evaluation is available for viewing or printing on Webadvisor (in the Students menu when you log in). The information on your evaluation corresponds directly to the calendar, degree and specializations currently on record for you.

Please contact the ID advisor or your program counsellor if your evaluation is not up-to-date or if you are having difficulty reading it. For clarity, it is recommended that you use your evaluation alongside your calendar.

What is the City of Guelph like?

Guelph is a community of over 125,000 people, located about an hour west of Toronto. It has all the conveniences of a big city but has the small town community feel. It has a vibrant downtown with a farmer's market, many small shops, and a variety of restaurants. For more information about Guelph, please visit the City of Guelph website.

What is the history of the IDS Collaborative Master's program?

In the early 1990s, the first students were admitted to the collaborative master’s specialization, which provides a focal point for graduate teaching and research on international development topics.

"Collaborative" in this context means that the specialization adds an interdisciplinary IDS focus to the disciplinary master’s program. Students receive a master’s degree in their selected discipline with the added designation "International Development Studies." 

Students and faculty from different disciplines work together to study the contemporary problems of poverty and inequality, as well as long-term change and cross-cultural comparisons, through a variety of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches.

The specialization is governed by its four founding departments: Sociology & Anthropology, Political Science, Geography and Economics, under the guidance of the IDS Director and Graduate Coordinator.

What is the history of the IDS Collaborative PhD program?

The collaborative PhD specialization in International Development Studies was based on the successful model of the collaborative master's specialization and was the first of its kind in Canada.

As it is also "collaborative," this PhD specialization allows students to add an interdisciplinary, international development focus to their degree in a discipline (their home department/home program). The specialization provides an opportunity for advanced students to engage with multi- and interdisciplinary development theories and to conduct research on international development issues.

This PhD degree with the added designation "International Development Studies" provides necessary discipline-based qualifications for the academic job market. The degree is also designed to strengthen the theoretical foundation of development practitioners.

Popular departments selected have been Political Science; Epidemiology; Sociology; Geography; Economics; Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics; and Engineering. Apart from their departmental courses, the IDS PhD students interact in two interdisciplinary core courses and IDS-related research seminars.

What kinds of jobs do IDS graduates find after graduation?

IDS graduates hold positions in government in Canada and abroad with NGOs, international organizations and private consultancies.

Visit Career Paths for IDS Students in Canada for more information.

What level of English do I need?

If English is not your first language, you will be required to submit the results of a standardized language test.

What should I do if the course I want is full or WebAdvisor won't let me register?

If a course you wanted to take is full, you should look for another class you can take. If it is a course you really need, you can contact the course instructor to see if it would be possible to be signed in on overload.

Search for the course on WebAdvisor and click on the course code to find contact information for the instructor. If the instructor is listed as TBA, contact the department offering the class.

To be signed into the course on overload, you will need a signature on the Course Waiver Request form, which you then submit to the Office of Registrarial Services (University Centre, Level 3).

After you have submitted the form, it is a good idea to double-check on WebAdvisor that you are registered in the course (and keep your copy of the waiver form until you have done so).

If WebAdvisor won't allow you to register for the course, check the course description to make sure you know why (e.g. missing a prerequisite, restricted course). You will find course descriptions by looking up the course on WebAdvisor (search for the course and click on the course code) or in the current undergraduate calendar (look under Part XII Course Descriptions).

If you still would like to take the course, contact the instructor (or the department) to request a signature on the Course Waiver Request form.

When does the program begin?

The program usually starts in September. If you are interested in winter or spring admission, please check with your collaborating department.

When is the application deadline?

IDS does not have an application deadline. You must meet the deadline of your chosen collaborative department. Once your application has been reviewed by the collaborating department that you have chosen, your application is then forwarded to the IDS committee for review.

When is the best time to study abroad?

Third year is generally the best time to go abroad, although it is possible to study abroad in the second semester of your second year or in fourth year. Contact the IDS advisor to discuss these options.

For more information about the University of Guelph's study abroad programs visit the Centre for International Programs.

When should I declare my area of emphasis and how do I do this?

You should declare your area of emphasis as soon as you have decided which one you plan to complete and no later than the end of your second year. Email the IDS advisor to declare your area or Emphasis.

Where can I find housing in Guelph? (Graduate Students)
Where do I find course outlines and other information about courses?

You will find general course information and prerequisites in the current academic calendar. Go to Course Descriptions (Part XII) and search under the appropriate subject area. Course outlines can be found on individual department websites and IDEV course outlines are found on the GIDS website.  If the course outline is not available online, contact the instructor or the department to request more information about the course.

Why do my substitutions not appear on my evaluation? What can I do about it?

Substitutions and waivers do not appear on the academic evaluation. This is not a concern as long as the substitutions have been approved by your IDS advisor and the BA counselling office has been notified.  Check with the IDS advisor or your program counsellor if you have any concerns about substitutions.