Fall 2023 - IS 423 D100

International Development Practice and Ethics (4)

Class Number: 7604

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Critically considers why and how international development has been, and might be, pursued. Includes study of histories of development, theories of development, as well as policies, practices, different perspectives and outcomes of development. Students who have taken IS 429 with this topic may not take this course for further credit.


Development is not only about economic growth. It also includes dimensions such as welfare, sustainability, human rights, equality, empowerment, and justice. Development ethics is a field that crosscuts all these aspects. It focuses on what is right and wrong in development, specifically in real-life situations. Ethical concerns involve questions like: What are the consequences of development? Who benefits and who loses from development? Should countries of the global North pay for the development of the global South? Why and how can development aid lead to corruption and cronyism? Despite the positive connotations of the term development, its practice can be highly contested and controversial. This course explores debates and controversies that arise in processes of social and economic development. Throughout the term, the class will examine the ethical aspects of development and analyze various practical challenges that development practitioners face in the field.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • identify common ethical issues involved in processes of economic and social development
  • critically assess prominent approaches to development from an ethical lens
  • gain an understanding of practical challenges faced by practitioners in the field
  • demonstrate how to address an ethical challenge in a real-world situation
  • improve their collaborative and interpersonal skills through participating in a group project


  • Participation 15%
  • Discussion Questions 15%
  • Annotated Bibliography 20%
  • Case Analysis 20%
  • Ethics in Action (Group Project) 30%



Ingram, D., & Derdak T.J. (2019). The ethics of development: An introduction. Routledge. (This book can be accessed online through the SFU library)

Drydyk, J., & Keleher, L. (Eds.). (2018). Routledge handbook of development ethics (1st ed.). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315626796 (Open Access)

All other readings will be made available electronically through Canvas. Students are required to come to class having done all the assigned readings beforehand.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.