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Faculty of Development & Multicultural Studies


The Faculty of Development and Multicultural Studies invites students to join us in our exploration of the intricate world of cultural diversity and developing society. Cultural diversity and constant and exponential change is the hallmark of our time. It is therefore imperative that we equip ourselves with the knowledge and relevant skill in these fundamental areas so that we can be effective and skilful contributors to managing and hopefully overcoming the deleterious consequences of development and “multiculturality”. Many developing societies have experienced the trauma and indignity of poverty, inequalities, human rights abuse, civil-strife, environmental disasters, and marginalization and exclusions of groups as part of the dynamics or as consequences of policies and actions related to development and/or cultural diversity. These are areas of modern human life in which we can contribute to the wellbeing of society and people as professional working for agencies, social advocates, and even as individuals sensitized and empowered to function in this delicate context.

The study programmes at FDMS combines lecture room based activities with field and work-place activities in a proportion that makes students understand clearly the practical meaning and application of lectures and tutorials. The field and work-place based activities also include the honing of skill in the use of social surveys, rapid rural appraisal, participant observation/ethnographic method, and social impact assessment. These are exciting opportunities for students to develop social and communication skill with a wide range of applicability. Learning is interesting when you can connect knowledge to practice and can even be a passion if you can apply this to a civilizational-scale cause such as the reduction of inequality, poverty, discrimination, and the promotion of intercultural understanding, environmental conservation, and sustainable living. At FDMS and indeed at the University College Sabah Foundation the learning environment is set to help you become passionate about your knowledge and the cause that it is applied to.



The Faculty of Development and Multicultural Studies (FDMS) brings together two very important sub-disciplines in the social science – development and multicultural studies. Development studies focus is mainly the Global South or the developing countries where nations are characterized by a diverse tapestry of cultures partly as a consequence of the historical experience of most developing countries and the socio-political emancipation, social-economic and spatial mobility of people in a globalized world.

Development and “multiculturality” are critical facets of societies in developing countries, they are both boon and bane for these societies. The programmes of study at FDMS investigate the dynamics of development processes, the essential of “multiculturality” today, and the tenuousness of multicultural society in the context of nation-state and the global village. One strand of this investigation aims at developing a critical holistic understanding of development at multi-scale, and development processes in the context of multicultural society especially how it engages ethnic and other social minorities and the poor. The other strand emphasizes the “multiculturality” of society aiming at developing a comprehensive knowledge of the nature and constituents of cultural diversity and explores how this multicultural backdrop influences such policies and views as multiculturalism, nation-building, minority rights, and other universal values and practices that are being propagated among and demanded of citizens of this global village.

Drawing on the knowledge and perspectives adopted by the development studies and the multicultural studies components of the Faculty of Development and Multicultural Studies and incorporating selected courses from other faculties in the university, FDMS is offering the following undergraduate programmes of study :

  • Development Studies. The development studies programme engages students in the investigation of development issues via the lenses of the major social science perspectives. The course units are drawn mainly form sociology, anthropology, economics, management and environmental science. Lecture-room learning is combined with empirical field-based practical experience in micro-level development processes. Most course units are characterized by substantial element of familiarization and skill building in the use of relevant technology.
  • Multiculturalism and Communication in the Professions. In this programme students explore and examine the intricacies and dynamics of cultural diversity with the objective of taming its negative potential and developing communication skill with which to navigate the often delicate interethnic relations in the context of social groups such as the work place and the larger society. Course units in this programme draw upon such disciplines as cultural anthropology, sociology, politics, management, communication especially intercultural communication, and sociolinguistics.
  • Capstone Project. Both programme requires students to complete a 21 weeks course combining lectures, workshop, research, and videography/photography. The lectures will cover basic topics in visual anthropology while the workshop would cover the basics of photography and documentary film making. Student researches would focus on any topic of his/her own choice under two broad areas of cultural diversity and local-level impacts of development in Sabah. This course is offered during the second semester of the second year and runs through the following short third semester culminating in a 5 minutes video clip or a reasonable-size compilation of still photographs (to be presented during week 21).


Development Studies: A degree in development studies prepares you to be versatile in crafting a career especially in the broad areas of professions such as administrative and managerial positions in both the public and private sector. There is an increasingly vibrant career opportunities in the social advocacy sector – local and foreign NGOs operating locally or internationally.

Multiculturalism and Communications for the Professions: This degree prepares you for a career in the communication and managerial sectors both in the public and private organizations. Positions such as Human Resource Manager, Corporate Communications Manager, and other positions where knowledge and skill in managing socio-cultural diversity is core-competence is most appropriate.