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Course content

This programme is run by the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), which is based within the School of Architecture.

The Development and Emergency Practice (DEP) course provides a unique academic setting for the study of international development, conflict, disaster management, urbanisation, humanitarianism and human rights. With its emphasis on practice, the course offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes in the rapidly changing fields of development and emergencies.

The programme is targeted at those with, or seeking, careers in NGOs, bilateral or multilateral humanitarian, development and human rights agencies, or governmental and commercial organisations working in international development.

Why choose this course?

  • This programme has an international reputation for excellence.
  • It is based on the expertise developed at Oxford Brookes University in the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice.
  • You will have the option of going on a field trip. Previous trips have been to Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • Many graduates go on to secure senior positions with international development or emergency organisations.

This course in detail

This Course requires 200 hours of student input, up to 40 hours of which will be devoted to lectures, seminars, or individual tutorials. The remainder of the time is devoted to self-led study.For the postgraduate certificate it is compulsory to pass the core module, Critical Inquiry, Development and Emergencies: Theory and Policy, and pass other modules to achieve a total of 60 credits. For the postgraduate diploma you must pass 120 credits from the taught modules, including both compulsory modules. For the MA you must gain at least 180 credits, including the dissertation.

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning strategies are grounded in theory, case studies and field based experience. The programme concentrates on the development of intellectual knowledge and the cultivation of academic skills including synthesis, analysis, interpretation, understanding and judgement. The programme also focuses on the practitioner’s approach, with reference in particular to:

  • the setting in which they work (poverty, conflict, power, vulnerability, capability, risk, urbanisation, environmental change and the history and dynamics of particular places, their people and their society)
  • the set of approaches they adopt (community mobilisation, aid, human rights advocacy, governance, risk reduction, livelihoods, humanitarian protection, accompaniment and empowerment)
  • themselves (the personal motivations that drive and shape their own vocation, their particular personality, temperament, strengths, abilities and weaknesses).

The intention is that a deeper understanding of these factors will enable students to move beyond rigid professional boxes to become more self aware, knowledge based practitioners able to work flexibly around a variety of problems in different situations of poverty, armed conflict and disaster.

Field trips

The course offers several field trip options each year.

Previous field trips have been to:

  • Asia (India, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines)
  • Latin America (Peru, Colombia)
  • Middle East (West Bank)
  • Europe (Bosnia, Northern Ireland)
  • Africa (South Africa)
  • The Caribbean (Jamaica).

These usually take place in late January just before the beginning of Semester 2. Note that field trips are at an additional cost to the programme fee, to reflect the fact that some students prefer not to take up this option.


The course is an ideal platform for you to develop your career in, or move into, international development and emergency organisations. Many graduates are able to secure senior positions.

Visit the MA/PGDip/ PGCert Development and Emergency Practice page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!




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