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Course content

This programme responds to the growing demands made on the humanitarian and development sectors by intensive urbanisation. This course has been established by the research and consultancy group on International Development, Emergencies and Refugees (IDEARS) - part of the Weeks Centre at LSBU. If you wish to pursue a career with government, non-governmental organisations, international agencies, public and private organisations and enterprises, this course is for you.

Rapidly urbanising world

Ours is a rapidly urbanising world: by 2010 over half the world's population lived in cities. Urbanization is fastest in the developing world, where both primary and secondary cities are rapidly expanding. It is predicted that by 2020 more Africans will live in urban than in rural areas, and in China, by 2023. Except in countries emerging from war, urbanisation is closely linked to economic growth, although urban poverty levels continue to rise.

This rapid growth, particularly in the light of its links to the flight from rural poverty and the development of a massive informal sector, has posed immense challenges to all urban systems. In many Asian, Latin American and African cities 30-70% of the population lives in slums and more than 90% of new jobs are in the informal sector. In transition countries, already highly urbanised, the changing political and economic framework has led to widespread poverty. Everywhere, urban roads, utilities, education and health services, and governance processes are heavily strained. While cities experience high levels of investment, it is often uneven.

This context is now widely recognised among all major actors, with policy and programmes targeting the urban sector now a growth area. The challenge for development professionals, whether working in donor agencies, NGOs, governments or private practice, is to understand the broad economic and political context of urbanization, develop analyses of complex urban trends, opportunities and problems, and be able to draw on a range of appropriate interventions. People seeking work or progression in development practice will be moving into a growth area if they can demonstrate familiarity with urban issues and policies in developing countries.

Modules

You'll explore urban issues, strongly linked to analyses of broader development issues, which will prepare them for roles in development agencies, NGOs, urban management or community work. It provides a thorough grounding in the broad agendas of poverty reduction and its global context. At the same time it provides a thorough understanding of rapidly changing urban settings and enables students to acquire practical development planning skills for an urban setting. An emphasis on research as well as practical skills allows students to specialise in their particular areas of interest.

Economies in transition
Human development in a globalised world
Urban challenges
Urban project
Research methods
Dissertation

Dissertation and voluntary work placement

Part of the dissertation may be replaced with a voluntary work placement in one of our partner organisations. Through the use of case studies you will analyse a comprehensive range of development issues, such as: markets, trade and the global economy; the role of international institutions and agencies; human development; poverty and poverty reduction; social provision in developing countries; rural development and urbanisation; environmental policies and sustainable development; empowerment and participation; migration.

Through a specialist theoretical module you'll also acquire a thorough grounding in urban development issues and their links to a broad development agenda; and this will be followed by a project module which will enable you to apply the theory and understand the necessary skills to plan, execute and monitor an urban development project. The course also develops the skills required to undertake development research, focusing on appropriate methodologies, data collection, policy design and implementation. The MSc has excellent relations with practicing development urbanists around the country, who provide the course with strong links to current thinking and practice; as well as with Development Agencies and NGO working in the development field. Students from these organisations are regularly enrolled on the course and members of these organisations give regular presentations to MSc students.

Employability

Students on our MSc Development and Urbanisation course will benefit from the renewed international interest in the urban sphere. Previous graduates have entered careers with a wide range of employers, working for international organisations, such as, the United Nations and its constituent organisations, the World Bank, the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation.

Many take up important posts in their home countries within government, non-government and civil society organisations or non-governmental development organisations in the UK, such as Christian Aid and Oxfam, in addition to teaching posts in universities and colleges specialising in Development research and practice.

For students interested in further academic development or mid-career progression, successful completion of the MSc provides eligibility for our large and lively Mphil/PhD programme.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

• Direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
• Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
• Mentoring and work shadowing schemes.

Visit the Development and Urbanisation - MSc page on the London South Bank University website for more details!

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