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Course content

Communication for Development is an interdisciplinary field of study and practice, combining studies on culture, communication and development and integrating them with practical fieldwork. It explores the use of communication – both as a tool and as a way of articulating processes of social change – within the contexts of globalisation.

In this programme, where the form of study strives to be conducive to the course content, progression lies in the group dynamic process as well as in the coursework itself. The multidisciplinary nature of the subject means that the same content should provide in-depth knowledge for students with different backgrounds. One major point of this pedagogical approach is to bring together different experiences. The group diversity should allow students to deepen their knowledge of their own major as well as gain a sufficient overview based on the academic backgrounds and practical experiences of other students. This will allow them to be able to work both interdisciplinary and transcultural in their future professions.

Communication for Development as a Field of Study

Despite the fact that every year vast amounts of money are donated to developing countries, the chasm between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ continues to widen as billions of people around the world continue to live without running water, sanitation, adequate nutrition or access to basic education.

While the poor and the marginalised have always been at the centre of development, they have been the subjects rather than the objects of communication as traditional development practices overlooked a fundamental truism: that the poor, themselves, are often the best experts on their needs. Marginalised communities, historically denied access to communication tools and channels, have traditionally been passive bystanders to their so-called development as top-down, one-sided mass communication programmes delivered information without taking into account the very important specificities of context – the cultural norms and beliefs, knowledge and folklore of target populations, and how these impact the uptake of information and the potential for social change. Due to this lack of participation by target communities, most development programmes failed to achieve their goals, and a dramatic shift in paradigm was necessary to improve the efficacy and sustainability of development cooperation methods.

Internet-based distance-learning

Malmö University was the first to pioneer the use of an Internet-based distance-learning platform to make the education available to students globally. With its mix of online collaboration and discussion, paired with webcast seminars the entire programme can be conducted over the internet. This enables students from all corners of the globe to participate, work in their own time and attain the education. The use of the Live Lecture function in seminars makes students, equipped with microphones and webcams, able to participate in lectures and discussions online, resulting in a ‘virtual classroom’. This way, students in New Zealand and South Africa can communicate and work on projects with classmates in Fiji and India, sharing ideas and working together towards the common goal of improving development practices.

Final project and field-work

The final project has always been an important element of the programme. Over the past 10 years, students of ComDev have had the opportunity to apply what they have learned theoretically to a broad range of contexts and scenarios in the process of completing their projects, and field-work has been conducted in India, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Croatia and Sarajevo, to name but a few. During their project work, students have the opportunity to explore a particular research area or topic of concern at a deeper level, and the accompanying written dissertation provides a fantastic opportunity to consolidate and further the knowledge and skills gained during the education. This project work also demonstrates a solid foundation in research, which will aid those students who wish to continue into doctoral level studies. In choosing the topic for their projects, students are free to ‘think outside the box’, and employ innovativeness and creativity to their field-work endeavours, and project works have included documentaries, short films, photo essays, and a wide array of dissertations presented in interesting and original ways. Students are also encouraged to join forces and collaborate on projects, as teamwork is regarded as a vital part of effective development cooperation. For a list of all the Project Works to date, see the ComDev portal: http://wpmu.mah.se/comdev/, under ‘History’.

Courses

For programme with start Autumn 2018: 

Autumn 2018 - Semester 1

Spring 2019 - Semester 2

Autumn 2019 - Semester 3

Spring 2020 - Semester 4

Career opportunities

The global demand for media and communication skills continues to increase as organisations such as UNICEF have made it a policy to hire ComDev practitioners, not only for international development schemes, but for diversity management and other forms of transcultural cooperation. Since skills, knowledge and aptitudes gained through an education in ComDev are relevant to a variety of job functions within the development sector, you may also find alumni working in a range of allied positions, such as conflict resolution positions or as a learning and outcomes coordinator, to name but a few.

Degree

Master's Degree (60 credits).

Degree of Master (one year)


Visit the Communication for Development page on the Malmö University website for more details!

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