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International Development (MSc)

Course Description


The MSc International Development provides a multidisciplinary social science-based analysis and understanding of international development.

Students undertaking this programme will:

- Conduct a comprehensive review of current issues in international development policy and practice.
- Study a critical in-depth analysis of specific aspects of international development relating to specific areas of interest.

We also encourage diversity of intake in terms of experience, qualifications and interests to stimulate the mutual experience and learning.

This programme has a limited intake of students per year, fostering a friendly and supportive learning environment.

The excellence of the research undertaken within the Department of Social & Policy Sciences has been recognised by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/programmes/msc-inte-deve/

Core Units

- Foundations of international development
- Economics for international development
- Sociology & social anthropology of development
- Policy and politics of developing countries
- Critical skills for international development and policy research
- Academic research skills and dissertation preparation

Optional units

- Critical issues in social development
- Globalisation & economic insecurity: social policy challenges
- Globalisation 2: political economy of globalisation
- Management of development
- World politics: conflict, security & development
- Sustainable development: natural resources and sustainability
- Wellbeing & human development 2: ethics and public policy
- Wellbeing assessment in public policy and development practice

Students can also study one regional research specialism from South Asia, Africa and Latin Americaas part of an international development extended essay

View Programme & Unit Catalogue (http://www.bath.ac.uk/catalogues/2015-2016/sp/sp-proglist-pg.html#DB) for further information.

Learning and teaching

Our programmes are modular, consisting of self-contained units, taught and assessed on a semester basis. As you progress through each semester and successfully pass the unit assessments, you will receive credit for the units, thus providing you with a clear indication of your academic progress.

Teaching takes the form of lectures, classes and seminars. Lectures are quite formal, whereas classes and seminars involve interaction between the lecturer and a small number of students for study skills and discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment consists of a combination of coursework essays, class exercises, projects and oral presentations.

We also place strong emphasis on developing presentation and discussion/communication skills, which in many units is part of the assessed work.


The Social & Policy Sciences department is committed to ensuring that postgraduate students acquire a range of subject-specific and generic skills during their training.

Our graduates generally go on to work in a wide variety of organisations, such as:

- Social research in universities and research institutes, government, business, voluntary organisations and international organisations.
- Public policy analysis at local, national and international levels.
- Public information and campaigning within organisations concerned with wellbeing, sustainability and social justice.

About the department

The Department of Social & Policy Sciences (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/) includes academics from social policy, sociology, social work and international development.

The international excellence of our research (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/research/) was recognised by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.

We are committed to advancing learning and knowledge through teaching and research. Our Department collaborates with a wide range of users at the local, national, European and global levels.

Postgraduate programmes:
We offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes. Our postgraduate teaching strongly reflects our research and our links to policy-makers and development institutions at the national, European and global level.

Our Department also has an active MPhil/PhD research programme. We take great pride in fostering a friendly and supportive learning environment.

Seminar series:
We run a lively and well attended postgraduate research seminar series. Each of the Research Centres run seminar series and conferences associated with their research activities. The University of Bath also has a Research in the World public lecture series where key national and international academics are invited to speak.

Main areas of research

We are an internationally-recognised research-intensive department with a strong focus on policy and practice and a commitment to contribute to social wellbeing and social justice.

We draw together academic staff with backgrounds in Social Policy, Sociology, Social Work and International Development and work closely with colleagues in Psychology, Economics, and Health.

We also have an active and vibrant community of research students (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/research/research-students/) undertaking their own research alongside our academic staff.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/hss/graduate-school/taught-programmes/how-to-apply/

Visit the International Development (MSc) page on the University of Bath website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Tom Ellum

2794.jpg “After deciding to switch from the private sector to the development one, it became immediately obvious that an MSc was essential for two reasons. Firstly, to enter such a competitive sector an MSc was something of a prerequisite; secondly, to progress in the sector it was important to have postgraduate training.

I enjoyed the practical analysis of development units of the International Development programme, as well as the reading of contemporary discussion on the sector. The academics were the best bit of the programme; they had a genuine interest in my progression into the sector and they helped create opportunities.

After graduating, I returned to Sierra Leone, where I had completed my dissertation whilst working with Search for Common Ground, to work as the Director of Operations and Programs with Marie Stopes International. This is a senior management position in an organisation with over 220 staff. After Sierra Leone, I took up the post as Country Director for Marie Stopes International in Papua New Guinea.

What would I say to someone considering studying the programme? Make sure you have some practical experience, which does have to be in development, before starting. This will help you reflect on what is being taught and give you a better entry point to the sector.”

Tom Ellum
MSc International Development
Country Director for Marie Stopes International in Papua New Guinea

(Student Profile)

Taonga Silungwe

2881.jpg “Before I came to Bath I worked for a Medical Evacuation Company in South Africa. Unfortunately where I am from a lot of people still live in poverty and even with an education, they have a limited chance of escaping it. So my main motivation to study MSc International Development was to gain the knowledge of how to address such complex issues.

Unlike a programme in Development Studies, I think the MSc International Development programme at Bath involves more critical analysis of real issues that affect people in many parts of the world. Rather than just offering a template of how development work is to be done, the international development programme helps you analyse and apply theory to any country context.

My masters has helped me get a solid grounding in development practice and I will always be able to think critically about development issues and provide practical solutions that go beyond just recognising the problem. Upon graduating I plan to step into the field with greater confidence and possibly work with a charity or NGO which looks at improving the lives of youth and children.”

Taonga Silungwe
MSc International Development, 2015

(Student Profile)

Asteya Percaya

3614.jpg Asteya Percaya, an MSc International Development graduate, submitted her masters dissertation in 2015. Asteya has put together her top 5 tips for writing a masters dissertation.

Tip 1: Choose a topic you’re interested in

For my masters dissatation I chose the topic of Chinese engagement with Africa, because I believe that China is an emerging actor in the international development scene and it would be interesting to see the development prospects related to Chinese engagement with Africa. Choosing a dissertation topic that you are interested in will surely affect your motivation to write it. Researching and writing something you are interested in will be much more enjoyable.

Tip 2: Manage your time (plan ahead)

Here at Bath we had approximately three months to complete our dissertation. Initially this may seem like a long time, but it isn’t as long as it seems. It was helpful for me create a work schedule and set deadlines for myself so that I wouldn’t have everything left to the last minute. So for example, during the first month (June), my target was to simply read as much as I could about my topic, and then start my literature review in July.

Tip 3: Take notes on everything you read

You will read a lot of texts for your dissertation, so it is very helpful to take notes on all the articles, journals and books you read. This will make it easier for you to search for certain information that you have read already.

Tip 4: Make the most of your supervisor meetings

Attend meetings with your supervisor prepared with questions and issues to discuss. If possible (depending on your supervisor), send some of your writing in advance so there will be something concrete to discuss during your meeting. Going prepared to your meeting will definitely enhance the quality of discussion with your supervisor.

Tip 5: Don’t forget to take a break

Dissertation writing takes a lot of energy and time so it is important to take a break once in a while. Don’t take a break for too long though, just enough to make you feel refreshed enough to come back to dissertation writing. During the break, do something that relaxes you and do not think about your dissertation. For me, I worked during weekdays, and during weekends I took a break. On the Monday I felt refreshed enough to continue my work.


University of Bath International Scholarships Scheme - 20+ Awards

There are 75 scholarships worth £3,000 each in the University of Bath International Scholarships Scheme (UoBISS). See the website

Value of Scholarship(s)



These are for international fee-paying full-time taught master's applicants from any country and for any subject area.

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



Graduate School Scholarships - 20+ Awards

There are 20 Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences scholarships each worth £2,000. See the website

Value of Scholarship(s)



- for international fee-paying full-time taught master's applicants from any country for MA/MSc programmes in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



PGT Bath Bursaries (Home UK full time) - 20+ Awards

For the academic year 2016/17 we have 30 bursaries of £6,000 each available for new UK Masters students.We anticipate opening for applications around late April/early May. We will email eligible offer holders with further details on how to apply once we are ready to open applications.In addition, the selection panel may take into account the following widening participation criteria and information in your supporting statement when making awards, if:- the highest education level of both of your parents is below degree level or equivalent
- the occupation level of both of your parents is between SEC 4-7 (Social Economic Class)
- you are a care leaver
- you were aged 21 or over when you commenced your undergraduate studies
- you were in receipt of free school meals, Education Maintenance Allowance or 16-19 Bursary Fund
- you attended a state school and/or a low performing school
- your gender is underrepresented in your academic department
- your ethnicity is underrepresented in your academic faculty.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- be a Home (UK) student, and
- apply for and subsequently register on an eligible Masters course.An eligible Masters course leads to an MSc, MBA, MA or stand-alone MRes with a maximum duration of two years for a full time course or four years for a part time course. Part time courses must be studied at a minimum of 50% intensity (e.g. a course which would take one year if studied full time may take up to two years if studied part time). Courses studied by distance learrning are not eligible for this scheme.

Application Procedure

The application process will be online, accessible through Bath Application Tracker, which you will have access to once you apply for a course. You will be required to answer questions relating to the widening participation eligibility criteria and provide a supporting statement of around 350 words.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university, or, an equivalent degree in another subject, together with substantial relevant work experience. Minimum English requirements: IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each of the four components).

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