Skip to main content

This PhD Programme is an advanced research degree in development studies and is focused on training individuals for research and teaching in the areas of applied social research and development studies. The program emphasizes the development of fundamental research competence, flexibility in the design of special area of study, and encouragement of joint student/faculty research and teaching. The output of the research is expected to be a thesis in the form of a project report. The student is examined orally on the thesis.

DSP 751 Advanced Planning Theory

The primary goal of this class is to assure that doctoral planning students have a general, substantive command of the spectrum of past and present perspectives regarding planning theory. The course has been organized so that students will read highly influential original texts, as well as more current related/critical planning literature. The objectives of the course include:

  1. Expose students to the core (as well as emerging) arguments in planning theory, their origins and contexts, their relation to wider social / political / economic / environmental /etc. theories
  2. Equip students with the capability to compare and contrast these different modes of thought, and to explain and assess critically how they have influenced planning theory and practice to the present
  3. Equip students with the increased capacity to specifically, coherently articulate their own theoretical perspective and to substantively, constructively critique those of others (scholars as well as peers)
  4. Assist student in preparations for the doctoral comprehensive examination in planning theory.
  5. Help students engage with students from other academic backgrounds and theoretical orientations for the purpose of broadening one’s perspective on the values and uses of planning theory.

DSP 753 Advanced Planning Survey and Research Methods

The course exposes students to principles and techniques for conducting scientific research. It assumes that students have basic knowledge in research methods and therefore builds on that foundation. Students are further exposed to some practical issues in research design and management, the emerging challenges of participatory research and the increasing role of computers in the processing and management of data. It covers different types of research, principles of research design, major schools of thought regarding research approaches, determination of data needs and collection methods, analysis and synthesis of data, report writing and preparation of research proposals.

DSP 755 Quantitative Methods for Planners

This course is designed to equip students with the basic analytical and statistical skills relevant to the formulation, implementation, management and evaluation of nation and sectoral measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation and regression analysis, estimation of parameters and various computer software like EXCEL, SPSS for comprehensive statistical analysis and the presentation of data and macro-economic model building and design shall be emphasized.

DSP 757 Written and Oral Presentation Skills for Planners

The main objective of this course is to offer you instruction and practice in the fundamentals of making effective oral presentations. It also aims at helping students acquire the skills needed to structure their written compositions. The course will equip students to employ critical thinking to revise or edit a scientific journal article or a science magazine article using a standard or guidelines.

DSP 759 Introduction to GIS for Planners

This course introduces the concepts and components of a geographic information system (GIS). It also teaches the essential skills of spatial data management, analysis, and visualization using the ArcGIS software package. Upon completion of this course, students will understand the fundamental concepts of a GIS including spatial data models, spatial analysis, and cartographic principles. They will also gain hands-on training in spatial data collection, editing, transformation, and mapping, as well as spatial analysis operations such as location-based query, address geocoding, terrain and watershed analysis, spatial interpolation, best site selection, least cost path delineation, and several other GIS modeling techniques. 

DSP 752 Advanced Qualitative Research

This course will provide an overview and in-class practice of qualitative research methods including in-depth interviewing, focus groups, naturalistic observation, content analysis, and thematic analysis of textual information. The objectives of this course include the following:

  • Help students develop skills in the qualitative research process from start to finish;
  • Equip students develop skills in conducting in-depth interviews;
  • Equip students develop analytic skills, critical thinking skills and writing skills;
  • Equip students develop skills in applying ethical principles and critical thinking in the evaluation of qualitative research; and
  • Be an advanced consumer of planning and social science research articles.

DSP 754 Advanced Quantitative Research

This course focuses on quantitative research methodology and related inferential statistics. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Formulate research questions that are relevant to the purposes and contexts of planning and development studies;
  • Conceptualize and operationalize research questions to develop testable hypotheses;
  • Select research designs appropriate to the questions being asked and understand the issues of validity associated with each design;
  • Select appropriate measurement instruments;
  • Develop appropriate sample designs with attention to power analysis;
  • Be fully conscious of the ethical and diversity issues relevant to conducting quantitative research, including responsible data collection, management, and reporting;
  • Use descriptive statistics to organize and present findings and conduct exploratory data analyses;
  • Understand probability concepts and theory as related to hypothesis testing;
  • Be able to perform data analyses and appropriately communicate the results of these analyses;
  • Utilize SPSS to analyze data and to report results in an appropriate form; and
  • Be an advanced consumer of planning and social science research articles.

Doctoral Colloquium I, II and III

This ‘special topics’ course will explore a particular breaking development or theme relating planning as a discipline and will also offer students with the opportunity to share experiences with seasoned professionals in planning research and practice. Students will learn about the breadth of the planning discipline and the varied opportunities you might have to explore specialized topics with members of our faculty. Students will also learn about the motivations for, and challenges of, planning research.

DSP 758 Advanced GIS for Planners

This course covers advanced topics in understanding and using geographic information systems (GIS). Students learn how to use a global positioning system, perform raster analysis, create and analyze three- dimensional surfaces, visualize geospatial data, and perform advanced spatial analysis. The lectures discuss underlying theory and its implementation in GIS software. The assignments give students the opportunity to learn for themselves how to put that theory into practice, gaining hands-on experience with ArcGIS Desktop from Esri Inc., the most popular GIS software and an industry standard in many fields.

DSP 951/952 Doctoral Thesis

This guided research on planning and development issues constitutes the core of the Doctor of Philosophy programme in Planning. It is intended to build the capacities of candidates in carrying out advanced and independent research. The candidates are expected to apply the knowledge acquired in the courses they took in year one by defining, researching and addressing an issue related in a recognizable framework of development planning theory and practice. The candidates are expected to liaise with staff for direction and subsequently work closely with their thesis supervisors.