BSc (Honors) Social Development & Policy


‘Development’ has become a principal idea of our times and an object of aspiration for individuals, communities, and governments alike. One of the key questions we grapple with in the program pertains to examining and engaging 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. A careful, place-based understanding is deeply connected to the love of knowledge. 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 reflective, experiential learning through a practicum and practice based courses. The first program of its kind in Pakistan, it aims to give students new ways to approach the challenges of development at home and abroad. Students are 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 explore how major development concerns such as poverty, gender inequality, urbanization and human rights are shaped by historical forces and processes of political power, while also examining the role of states, development institutions, markets, and civil society in shaping human well-being.

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 equips 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 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 303 International Political Economy (Mandatory Elective Choice)

Students must also complete any two upper level SDP electives. In addition to these courses, all SDP students must fulfill a language requirement, a Practicum, and a Major Research Report (MR2) or an Honors Thesis to complete the program requirements.

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 vernacular language requirement by successfully completing at least three (3) sequential courses in a single language, for example Sindhi or Punjabi. For full language offerings, refer to the Arzu Program for Languages and Literature.


All SDP majors are required to complete a Practicum, which is an application of the skills and competencies learned in SDP Program. This practicum must be a minimum of six (6) weeks and can be broadly construed in consultation with an assigned practicum adviser.

Major Research Report:

All SDP majors must complete a one (1) semester capstone project, called a Major Research Report (MRR), 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 such scientific understanding. Students pursuing this option must declare their intention at the beginning of the semester of choice and choose a faculty supervisor at the same time.

Honors Thesis:

All SDP majors have the option to earn their degree by writing a year-long Honors Thesis instead of the Major Research Report (MRR). The Honors Thesis is a much more substantial research project in which the student will explore a topic, building on existing knowledge by using qualitative and/or quantitative techniques. Thesis writing is an exercise in developing in-depth research 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 1 faculty member. 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. Students wishing to pursue the Honors Thesis option must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.33 or above.

Course Category Number of Courses to complete
University Requirements
University Liberal Core 10
Social Development and Policy
Foundational Theory and Method 6
Field Practice 1
Electives (at least 3 upper division) 6
Honors Thesis 2
Major Research Report with 1 upper division elective* (in lieu of Thesis)
Other Requirements
Regional Language Requirement 3
AHSS Requirement 2
Free Electives 4
Overall* 35

Minor in Social Development and Policy

Requirements for the Minor

To earn a minor in SDP, 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).