The Department of Development Studies offers quality and competitive undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Zambia (UNZA). It is an interdisciplinary field of study whose mission is to provide high quality teaching, research and consultancy and public service in different aspects of human development. The Department prepares students for critical thinking on complex and multidimensional issues and problems affecting human society. The labour market in Zambia has come to recognize and appreciate the expertise possessed by Development Studies graduates as essential to effectively pursue political, economic and social development in the country. Many of the graduates from the Department have been traditionally absorbed as key players in various government ministries and departments, and now increasingly by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the private sector, including banks. 

Founded in 1975, the Development Studies started as a service department in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, where staff from the department taught a compulsory first year course in what was known as ‘African Studies’. The service function of the department was later extended to the School of Natural Sciences. In 1976, students in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences were for the first time offered the possibility of pursuing a four year Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Development Studies. The Department has now emerged as the biggest in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zambia currently with a total enrollment of approximately 4800 students at undergraduate level taking courses either as majors or minors.