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Course content

Explore today’s global problems from diverse angles, and put yourself in a stronger, more informed place, to play your part in tackling them.

 If you are interested in international development, either because you work in the field already, or aspire to do so, then our suite of International Development MScs is a fantastic option.

With a strong multi-disciplinary focus, these four postgraduate pathways take an in depth look at the current issues at play in the world’s poorest countries or marginalised countries and communities.

Exploring current debates in policy and practice, we will consider what the social sciences (economics, politics, sociology and anthropology) can tell us about addressing major world issues, such as gender inequality, corruption, migration and conflict.

 You will leave the course with:

  • tangible experience of working in the international development arena
  • a broad understanding of current development issues and possible solutions, drawing insights from a multitude of angles
  • the skills to apply models and tools to specific in depth cases
  • the ability to reflect on the contexts and conditions shaping development and humanitarian practice, and devise robust and creative strategic responses to them
  • the rich experience of working with people from a variety of disciplines and countries
  • a reinforced commitment to making the world a more sustainable and equal place to live

The course suits those from different backgrounds, including those who are new to international development. It is equally relevant to people already working in the field, who wish to reflect on their experience to be better equipped to respond to the situations they experience.

Course pathways

You can choose to take a generalist pathway, covering off all of the above areas, or one of three specialist pathways, to tailor your learning towards a specific area of interest.


In the economics pathway, you will learn key economic concepts, theories and tools relevant to understanding development issues, and in particular those of heterodox and social economics. You will also learn how to apply them to analyse specific development problems, including through the use of appropriate statistical methods.

Social justice and sustainability

In the social justice and sustainability pathway, you will learn how to engage critically with diverse approaches to social justice, wellbeing, knowledge and sustainability in dynamic socio-political settings. You will evaluate the policy and practical implications of these diverse approaches and learn how to apply them in a wide range of institutional contexts.

Conflict and humanitarian action

In the conflict and humanitarian action pathway, you will acquire an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the theories and concepts that underpin contemporary humanitarian action and conflict response. You will also form a critical understanding of humanitarian, peacebuilding and development policy and practice. You will learn how to interpret and evaluate research information and evidence on topics related to humanitarianism, conflict and development.

Learning and teaching

You will join the Department of Social & Policy Studies here at Bath. We are ranked in the top 50 for Development Studies in the QS World University Rankings 2017.

Our staff are all active in this field, research-led, and united in their commitment to finding better solutions to the world’s development problems.

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

Graduate prospects

This course provides an excellent background for those wishing to pursue an international development career and improve people’s lives.

You will be qualified to work in a wide variety of roles, including social research, public policy, public information and campaigning.

Many of our graduates from similar courses have found jobs with high profile organisations, including:

  • Economic Development Team Leader for the UK Department for International Development Palestinian programme in Jerusalem
  • Outreach Channel Director at Marie Stopes International
  • Humanitarian Policy Manager at Plan International
  • Microfinance Partnerships Manager at One Acre Fund
  • Regional Projects Manager at International Alert
  • Private Sector Development Adviser at the UK Department for International Development
  • Power Sector Policy Adviser at the UK Department for International Development
  • Chair of the South West International Development Network and Executive Director of the Development Studies Association

Other graduates have chosen to work for themselves and set up their own charities, while others have stayed in academia, to complete doctoral studies.

Join our webinar

Join our webinar on Wednesday 31 January 2018 at 12:00-13.00 GMT.

You will be able to find about:

There will also be an opportunity to put your questions to our staff.

Register for the webinar.

Course structure

This course lasts 1 year. Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

The total number of credits for the taught-stage is 60 credits, with most units being 12 Credits. A typical week would approximately average between 6-10 hours of classes or seminars a week depending on options taken. The dissertation or practicum are 30 credits.


Compulsory course units

These compulsory units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.

Semester 1

  • Doing research for international development
  • History and theory of international development
  • Plus one optional unit

Semester 2

  • Doing research for international development
  • Management of international development
  • Plus one optional unit


  • Either Dissertation or Practicum

Optional course units

These optional units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.

Semester 1

  • Economics for development
  • Social and environmental justice
  • Conflict, development and peacebuilding

Semester 2

  • Global political economy
  • Sustainability and wellbeing
  • Humanitarianism
  • International development policy analysis and evaluation
  • Education and international development


As an alternative to writing a dissertation, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a six-week placement (practicum), working with an organisation involved in international development. You'll write a report reflecting on a particular area of professional practice.

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






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