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International Tourism Development MA

Course Description

This programme is designed to deliver a substantial theoretical and practical understanding of the role and contribution of the tourism industry in the context of international development. You will gain the skills required to manage sustainable tourism businesses, alongside the specialisms of strategic destination management and marketing. You will explore tourism’s relationship with the socio-economic and political contexts within international development, tourism disasters affecting tourist destinations, and the role of tourism in the development of countries that have experienced conflict. An emphasis upon the micro-economic contribution of enterprise projects to support development and sustainability also features within the curriculum; delivered through the Ashoka Changemaker philosophy.

Upon completion of the programme, you may wish to progress your studies through a doctoral qualification.

Course content

The programme encourages you to analyse and evaluate the relationship between sustainable development principles and the management of destinations to achieve long-term viability of resources; and the role of event tourism in destination development as a catalyst for physical, economic and socio-cultural regeneration. In addition, the programme provides insight into the political economies surrounding development and the contribution that tourism makes to a destination’s risk mitigation, social renewal and recovery after disasters and post conflict scenarios.

Drawing on a variety of case studies and projects, the programme explores the global scope of tourism, the policies and strategies associated with successful management, the role the industry plays in international development, and the stakeholders involved in its development. The programme will also prepare students for the practical, project based, and customer focused characteristics of the tourism industry.

Semester 1

From the beginning of the programme, you will be introduced to some of the main themes in destination and tourism management, to enable you to analyse the strategic and dynamic nature of international tourist destinations and issues facing managers of such destinations. Modules in semester one will highlight the need to ensure long-term viability of destination resources through themes such as sustainable development and political economies of international development.

Semester 2

You will examine the vulnerability of destinations and the strategies and approaches needed by managers to develop and recover, particularly post-conflict. The strategic use of events in both the public and private sectors will be examined, particularly their use as a catalyst for physical, economic and socio-cultural regeneration. There is a strong emphasis on developing personal adaptability in cross cultural (work) environments as Master graduates can be expected to, and will have the expectation to – lead and manage other people internationally. You will also begin to prepare for the completion of a dissertation through a series of taught research methods sessions, during which a research proposal is produced.

Semester 3

The research proposal produced in Semester two will guide the development of a clearly defined and evidenced study purpose, a critical review of the extant literature, and a robust methodology. Data is then collected, analysed, interpreted and applied to the study purpose, and a 15-20,000 word research report (dissertation) is produced, with the support of a dissertation supervisor.

For further information on course content and modules please refer to the award map: http://oldweb.northampton.ac.uk/caf/pgmsaward/international-tourism-development-ma

Course modules (16/17)

-Political Economies of International Development
-International Sustainable Tourism
-Strategic Destination Management
-Risk, Crisis and Post-conflict Management in Tourism
-Strategic Events Management
-Managing Across Cultures
-Dissertation​ and Research Methods

Opportunities Abroad

In previous years students have participated in an optional study trip to an international destination. The cost of this optional trip would not normally exceed £500 for flights and accommodation. Students normally allow an additional £100 for their expenses.

The programme team also aims to provide a regional or national study trip annually to a tourism attraction or exhibition. In some cases students are required to contribute to the cost of entry; this would normally not exceed £50.00.

Methods of Learning

Typically you will have nine hours (approximately) of contact time with your tutor in the first semester and eleven hours (approximately) in the second. Overall you will spend 108 hours per module in self-directed study (reading and research).


A variety of individual and group based assessments are used including reports, presentations, posters, e-portfolios, projects, client briefs, multiple choice tests and examinations.

Facilities and Special Features

Ashoka U is the global association of the world’s leading universities supporting social entrepreneurs; those working together to create solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems. The programme emphasises this philosophy, through Ashoka Changemaker projects.


The programme will interest students wishing to pursue a specialist career in destination management, sustainable tourism management or international development, with an emphasis on employment within development organisations, NGOs, aid organisations, post conflict and disaster charities, as well as public and private sector tourism organisations.

Visit the International Tourism Development MA page on the University of Northampton website for more details!

Entry Requirements

To be accepted onto this programme you will normally need to hold a recognised First or Second Class Honours degree from a UK university (or an international equivalent). A wide range of first degree disciplines will be considered, which include travel, tourism, and international development. If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent).

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