About This Department

Department: School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Insitution: Habib University
  Karachi, Sindh

“Development” has become a principal idea of our times and an object of aspiration for individuals, communities, and governments alike. How can we examine and engage 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. Such a careful, place-based understanding is deeply connected to the love of knowledge as well as the search for truth. 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 reflexive and experiential learning through a fieldwork practicum. The first program of its kind in Pakistan, it aims to give students new ways to approach the challenges of development locally and globally. Students will be 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 will explore how major development concerns such as poverty, gender inequality, urbanization and human rights are shaped by historical forces and processes of political power. They will also examine the role of states, development institutions, markets, and civil society in relation to human well-being.
Employing an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of social issues, 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 will equip 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 organizational, national and international levels.