Development Studies and Foresight Master

About the program

We offer Development Studies and Foresight master program (2 years) in which the students select one specialization in:

  1. International Development Studies 
  2. Foresight 

It is a two-year, full-time program designed not only for bachelor students with a development and environmental studies background but also for students from related fields interested in international development and foresight.

The program provides students with key knowledge and skills for a deeper understanding of problems affecting developing countries and the policies of international development, including the skills for qualitative and quantitative research. The study program is based on three main pillars:

  • Theoretical background 
  • Methodological background 
  • Regional orientation 

Upon successful completion of the program, students are awarded the title of “Magister,” abbreviated as “Mgr.” which is equivalent to a Master of Science (M.Sc.). Graduates are equipped to work in the field of international development in the public sector and private industry, as well as in governmental and non-governmental organizations at both the national and international levels. Graduates can also find the opportunity to work as experts in projects run in low-income countries, especially in the organizing and administering of projects both in the donor and target country, in diplomatic service, or the academic sector.

What do we offer?

  • the unique and attractive program taught by young but experienced lecturers: we are the first university in Central Europe which started to offer master program focused on International Development Studies and Foresight
  • great opportunities to spend part of your studies in another country: we are in partnership with more than 25 universities all around the world
  • refreshing international environment: plenty of students from abroad study in our department
  • opportunity to be involved in the community of very active students: our students established their own club called “Sustainable Palacký”
  • facilities of prestigious faculty and of a university with more than four hundred years of tradition
  • the environment of one of the most beautiful and historical cities in Europe


Why study International Development Studies?

What is it development and how is it perceived by different people? What are the keys to improving the livelihoods of the poor? Appropriate economic policy, good governance, natural resources, education and health care are all important, but how exactly should they be approached considering country specifics in the global context? Suppose you are eager to look for the answers to these questions. In that case, you are the right person to study at the Department of Development and Environmental Studies at Palacký University Olomouc!

Why study Foresight?

We all are living in a dynamic and ever-changing world. Change and novelty are often perceived with doubts, and humans have always tried to cope with these doubts by predicting the future. Although we know today that the future cannot be predicted, it can certainly be anticipated and shaped. Foresight is about anticipation and shaping of future.

There is notable but not complete overlap between foresight and strategic planning, change management, forecasting, and design thinking. Foresight includes:

  • understanding the relevant recent past
  • scanning to collect insight into present
  • environment research to explore possible trend breaks that may lead to alternative futures
  • visioning to define preferred future states
  • designing strategies to craft this future



Development Studies and Foresight 

study plan for specialization International Development Studies

study plan for specialization Foresight

From 2020/2021, students will take courses in the following structure:

Compulsory courses – All specializations


Students will learn about the history of possible futures and foresight, the most important persons of this field of study as well as internationally recognized institutions focusing on foresight. The opportunities and limits of foresight studies will be discussed in comparison with the study of history (while we can fully interpret the history without having an opportunity to influence it, we cannot fully learn about the future but we have options and opportunities to influence it). Basic concepts and terms will be introduced (framing, scanning, forecasting, visioning, planning and acting).

Global Development

The aim of the course is to provide students with an economic perspective on development issues, especially in low-income countries. Emphasis is placed on linking theory with the possibilities of solving development problems at national and global level.

Global Environmental Geography

The aim of the course is to provide an overview of key topics in the field of global environmental challenges and to analyze in more detail the interactions between humans and environment in economically less developed countries of the world.

Development Theories and Anthropology

The lectures will present knowledge of selected anthropological theories that are relevant to the area of developmental problems. The relationship between developmental theories and developmental anthropology will be presented. The will be a discussion of anthropology of development as a reflection of the evolution of the relationship between the Western world and its former colonies over the past centuries.

Politico-Geographical Processes in the Developing World

The course will be devoted to selected topics related to internal political processes in the developing countries, as well as relevant international relations and security issues, which have some influence on internal political processes. Individual lectures will focus on the current debate on the processes of forming modern states, on political systems in developing countries, on democracy and good governance, or on the concept of weak, collapsed and de facto states, etc.

Research Methods

The aim of the course is to deepen students‘ knowledge and skills in the field of qualitative and quantitative research.

Sustainable Development

The main aim of the course is to introduce students to historical development, present situation and future perspectives of mutual political and economic relations as well as cooperation between the EU and developing countries. The course analysis basic principles of sustainable development. Main topics included are the following: history, definition and principles of sustainable development, human values compatible with sustainable development, economic instruments of sustainable development, technologies for sustainable development, political and institutional aspects of sustainable development, sectoral aspects of sustainable development, indicators of sustainable development, strategies for sustainable development, and actors of sustainable development.

Thesis I

The course takes the form of seminars on methodological aspects of writing academic papers and individual consultations, where individual supervisors discuss problems with their students and the progress of their diploma theses.

Thesis II

The course takes the form of seminars on methodological aspects of writing academic papers and individual consultations, where individual supervisors discuss problems with their students and the progress of their diploma theses.

Compulsory courses – Specialization in International Development Studies

Development Economics

The aim of the course is to analyze important economic and social topics for developing countries. Issues such as economic growth, new theories of growth and current models of development and underdevelopment will be discussed. Problems such as poverty, inequality, population dynamics of developing countries and human capital issues (e.g. education and health) will also be studied.

Development Opportunities of Asia

The course focuses on development issues in Asia. It focuses mainly on Asian developing regions – Central Asia and Caucasus, South and Southeast Asia, Middle East. The focus is on individual regions and states, their geography and policies, and the resulting development challenges and opportunities. The aim of the course is to obtain a comprehensive picture of the region with an emphasis on the ability to analyze the development issues of individual countries.

Development Opportunities of Africa

The course deals with the current economic, political and security situation of African continent and analyzes the factors that contributed to the current state of affairs. In this context are discussed mainly the physical-geographical and political-geographical determinants of development and historical factors (pre-colonial period, colonialism, era of political nationalism). Furthermore, the course focuses on topics related to the state of human capital in Africa and the position of the continent in the international political-economic system.

Development Opportunities of Latin America

This course provides broad overview of geography and historical, political, social and economic development of Latin America. The key issues, such as the legacy of history and colonialism for contemporary development, situation of indigenous people within the region, theories and strategies in the process of Latin America’s development, cooperation and integration within Latin America and others will be explored throughout the course.

Compulsory courses – Specialization in Foresight

Global Demographic Trends

The aim of the course is to understand the demographic context of geographical phenomena and processes and to gain an overview of the historical formation, current state and future development of the population in the Czech Republic, macro-regions of the world and in the world in general. Students will learn the methods of obtaining, processing and evaluating demographic data. Attention will also be paid to the forecasts of population development in the world, especially with a focus on developing countries.

Technological and Social Change

Futures Mapping and Shaping

The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the methods used in the processes of mapping and shaping possible futures. The mapping of possible futures is made up of three basic areas: research that maps the past and current context, scanning of ongoing changes and forecasting itself, i.e. the formulation of expected future changes. In particular, shaping possible futures focuses on the following three areas: leadership, visioning and planning.

Past Futures - Future Pasts

Our future is not created from nothing; it is rather deeply rooted in our past. Seminar is focused on future pasts and past futures from different points of view applied by historians, philosophers, economists or political scientists. Discussion will be based on relevant theories and texts published since 1800 by philosophers such as Karl Marx, Immanuel Wallerstein, Samuel Huntington, Francis Fukuyama, Fareed Zakaria, Zygmunt Baumann and many others.

Elective courses – Specialization in International Development Studies

Development Assistance

The aim of the course is to provide an overview of key topics in the area of international development cooperation, especially from the perspective of donors, but also beneficiaries of development aid.

Development Topics

The aim of the course is to provide students with current topics in the field of international development taught by an invited foreign lecturer.

Project Management

The aim of the course is to provide students with basic theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for the preparation and implementation of projects. At the beginning of the course students will gain an overview of the various phases of the project cycle (programming, identification, formulation, implementation and evaluation). The main part of the course is focused on practical application of logical framework approach in project preparation.


Geography of Globalization

The aim of the course is to provide an overview of key topics in the field of globalization.

Evaluations of Development Projects

The course provides students with basic theoretical background for the development, assignment and management of development evaluations. Individual blocks of the course deal with the theory of change, monitoring, evaluation approaches, evaluation questions, evaluation design, presentation of evaluation results, ethical evaluation questions and current standards for development evaluation. In addition to a good theoretical background, students will also acquire practical skills for planning and implementing evaluations.

Security, Conflict and Development

The course focuses on understanding and analyzing security threats and their impact on development. Attention will be paid to the following topics: causes of security threats and their impact on development, the study of conflict dynamics, changing nature of security threats, strategies and methods of planning and implementation of development interventions in unstable areas, the concept of “DO NO HARM”, etc. Attention is also paid to the potential role of development cooperation as a factor in prevention, early warning and conflict transformation.

Elective courses –  Specialization in Foresight

Global Environmental Issues 2

The course deals with the human environment and current global challenges facing humanity. These focus primarily on food security and individual aspects of the environmental crisis, such as threats to biodiversity or the management of natural resources. Students are acquainted with international initiatives that could lead to a change in the current situation, including the vision of the so-called global Marshall Plan.

Negotiation, Facilitation, Mediation

The course focuses on theories of consensual methods and strategies to support constructive dialogue or participatory decision making, both locally and internationally. Attention will also be paid to the development of practical skills, which are a prerequisite for the critical examination of conflict situations and the search for their solutions or the use of alternative methods of problem solving in the area of development policy and practice.

Economic Evaluation

Economic evaluation provides feedback on whether a particular investment program represents an effective spending of financial, but also human or material resources. The course acquaints students with selected analytical tools used in the areas of development cooperation, health economics or education economics. Specifically, it is primarily cost-benefit analysis (CBA), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-utility analysis (CUA). The case studies discussed in this course are particularly relevant to developing countries.

History of the Future

The subject „History of the Future“ discusses the following six topics:
• Cultural evolution
• Safety dimensions
• Challenges for the near future
• West in danger
• Collapse, transformation and regeneration
• “Super-natural” world

Human and Nature in Western Thinking

The subject acquaints students with changes of self-concept and the role of man in the history of (mostly) Western thinking. Key authors of Hellenic and Christian thought, Renaissance turnover, modernity and other selected topics will be presented. Emphasis will be placed on the concept of time, challenges and threats, as perceived in selected eras. All this will take place on the basis of fundamentally different concepts of nature.

Trends in Migration Studies

In this course, students will be introduced to concepts such as transnationalism, network theory and they will deal with the impact of migration on the transformation of societies. The course will explore new trends in international migration and, until recently, overlooked groups of international migrants. This course will focus on new areas of interest in migration studies, such as environmental migration, qualified migration, student migration or undocumented migration, and the theoretical approaches that deal with them. Last but not least, the course will introduce students to methodological approaches used to explore international migration.

Foresight Topics

The aim of the course is to provide students with current topics in foresight taught by a foreign lecturer.

Other optional courses – All specializations

Sport and Development

The course is focused on explanation of the concept of sport and development, its application in development practice and concrete examples. During the course, the basic theory as well as development cooperation taking place in developing countries will be mentioned. Students will be acquainted with all stakeholders and also with organizations working directly in the field. Seminars are based on reading and discussing articles from the mentioned area.

Introduction to GIS

The aim of this course is to provide basic knowledge of geographic information systems (GIS) and geoinformatics. Emphasis is placed on representation of reality in the digital environment, description of individual geoinformation technologies (GIT), building GIS and their use in various scientific disciplines. Students will learn the basics of work in GIS, especially in the open-source program QGIS. They will understand basic data sources, terminology and present their results in the form of visualization.

Regression Methods for Development Studies and Foresight

The aim of the course is to deepen and broaden students‘ practical skills in the application of quantitative research methods in development and environmental studies. The course is focused on practical use of regression analyzes with cross-sectional data, panel data and time series in Stata statistical software.

Development Challenges I

The aim of the course is to provide students with current topics in the field of international development taught by a foreign lecturer.

Development Challenges II

The aim of the course is to provide students with current topics in the field of international development taught by a foreign lecturer.

Migration in Today's World

Migration in today’s world is a course designed for students with an active interest in migration and asylum. During the lectures the following questions are presented and analyzed: the theory of international migration; the multifactoral conditionality of the migration process and the blurring of the borders between voluntary and forced emigration (with particular regard to environmental migration); changing migrant profile; refugees and asylum; impeding the entry of migrants into national territory; the consequences of migration for countries of origin, host countries and migrants themselves. Theoretical considerations are accompanied by more extensive case studies from different parts of the world.

Field Trip to a Developing Region

The aim of the course (excursion) is to acquaint students with governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with development issues operating in the selected region that students will visit during the excursion (Moldova, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia,…). During the excursion, visits and discussions are prepared in organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP, Czech embassies, local companies and NGOs and others.

Field Trip to Development Institutions

The aim of the course (excursion) is to acquaint students with international governmental and non-governmental organizations dealing with development issues that operate in the EU. Visits and discussions to organizations such as the World Bank, UNDP, development think-tanks, relevant Directorate-Generals of the European Commission, national development agencies and non-profit organizations, etc. are planned during the excursion.


The six-week internship will be carried out in consultation with the course guarantor in a selected governmental or non-governmental institution dealing with humanitarian or development aid or policy; Foresight, the environment (e. g. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Refugee Facilities Administration of the Ministry of the Interior, Czech Development Agency, People in Need, Charity, Volonté etc.). The internship aims to increase graduates‘ preparedness for future careers as well as to better understand development policies and interventions.

A wide variety of courses are offered by the Department, the Faculty of Science and Palacky University in Olomouc. List of all courses taught in English at Palacky University can be found at a respective webpage of the university website.

The offer of specialization courses may change in any given year.