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Course content

This programme allows you to explore in depth the challenges facing developing and developed countries in the fight against global poverty, as well as to understand the promise and problems of proposed approaches to poverty reduction. Issues covered include: theories and history of development; changing approaches to poverty reduction; practical policy, programme and research skills.

The International Development Department is well-regarded internationally by sponsors, donor agencies, governments and NGOs. Study with us to benefit from:

  • Expertise in key issues and skills valued by employers
  • A vibrant, welcoming community
  • Individual overseas fieldwork or study visit included in fees (on-campus programmes)
  • Flexible programmes and a wide choice of modules (part-time students also welcome)
  • A diverse and international student body
  • Strong support in study and English language skills

Each programme is taught by a team of multi-disciplinary specialists who work closely with students to address individual interests and concerns. Every student is allocated an academic tutor to support them in their academic progress throughout the year. The department has a long history of teaching students from across the world, and recent students have come from 99 different countries and a wide variety of professional and academic backgrounds.

Course details

Students will explore theories of development in historical context from (roughly) 1945 up to the present in the single compulsory module. The theories are then applied to contemporary development approaches and issues. Throughout, the emphasis is on you developing a critical understanding of the evolution of development theories over the last half century and its implications for present day thinking about development.

Students can then select the remaining five modules to suit their own needs and interests. They could, for example, take modules or rural and urban poverty reduction, on conflict and development or gender and development. They could also take modules on project management, disaster management or governance. Many other modules are also available to choose from.

Learning and teaching

Teaching takes place over two ten-week terms, utilizing a range of teaching and learning methods, including short lectures, problem solving, role play and group work.

By the end of your study you will gain:

  • An in-depth understanding of competing development theories – their origins, their continuities and their differences – and the ability to critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • An understanding and ability to critique the distinctions between economic, social and political approaches to development.
  • An understanding of the role of international institutions (such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation) in the processes of development and an ability to critique the theoretical underpinnings of these institutions.
  • The ability to critically appraise the role of the state in the governance of developing countries.
  • Writing skills to produce well structured and coherent essays and reports, making good use of references.
  • Oral presentation skills.
  • Ability to access material from different sources including policy documents and other publications from governments and international organisations, documents from the internet, and from books and academic journals.
  • The capacity to interpret and make use of material from the above sources.

Fieldwork

Gain first-hand experience of development concepts plus valuable work experience without additional costs. This Masters degree enable students either to carry out individual fieldwork in a country and on a topic of their choice or to take part in an organised study visit. Funding for this overseas study is included in the programme fee. 

Enhancing your Student Experience

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Employability

The knowledge and skills gained in the programme will equip graduates for jobs in international, national and local government and non-governmental organizations, think tanks and consultancies.

See what some of our alumni are doing now and what they thought about studying with us at IDD.


Visit the International Development - MSc page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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