Development studies is concerned with understanding and analysing the dynamics of change that affect the economic structure and society in a developing economy. To undertake an effective study of development, it is necessary to draw on a variety of inter-related disciplines for a more comprehensive perspective of the numerous dimensions that define development. As a field of study, therefore, development studies spans an array of disciplines in the social sciences and addresses issues of concern in the broad areas of social, political, and economic development. This multidisciplinary perspective provides a more balanced understanding of the constituents of development and facilitates an integrated approach to the study of contemporary development challenges.

As a crosscutting discipline, development studies draws on a range of subjects as varied as economics, sociology, history, geography, anthropology, law, governance, innovation and technological change, gender studies, globalization, and the environment. These disciplines contribute important dimensions to the dynamics of social transformation and reflect the inherent diversity of development studies.