About This Masters Degree
Why take this course?This course will allow students to gain specialism in a chosen topic through a production of an extended piece of academic writing building on their choice of optional units taken in the second year covering the areas of health, education, gender, international relations, criminology and making use of the applied research methods in development skills acquired in the first year.
The distance learning and part time mode of the programme provides a flexible learning framework with opportunities for students to undertake a full Master's qualification, a postgraduate Diploma or a postgraduate Certificate.
What will I experience?On this course you can:
Critically engage with an international development studies topic of choice, assembling information from a variety of sources to compose clear detailed and logical argument;
Learn to formulate a systematic and methodologically sound research process through undertaking a literature review and empirical research;
Where applicable, justify ethical considerations surrounding research carried out.
What opportunities might it lead to?You can expect to graduate from this course with enhanced career prospects in the international development sector, greater knowledge of development issues and an increasing professional network that may allow you to identify career opportunities. You will also be prepared for doctoral study.
Module DetailsYou will study the following core units:
Theory & Practice of Development:
Explore the history, theory and practice of international development studies, through topics from colonialism to globalisation. You will be introduced to the tools, such as social enterprise, that are used in development practice. Assessment includes a social enterprise project alongside a traditional essay.
Applied Research Methods for Development:
Learn the strategies and methods of collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data in the social sciences. You will learn to use SPSS for data manipulation, quantitative data analysis and interpretation, using a range of data sets relevant to international development studies.
Demonstrate your achievement on the course as a whole, through the production of a 15,000-word research project on a topic of your choice, informed by the optional units you have selected, under the advice and guidance of a personal supervisor.
You will also select two optional units:
International and Comparative Criminal Justice:
Compare differing systems of criminal justice, including international courts and criminal tribunals, as well as international norms and standards. You will examine the role of international criminal justice bodies within the UN and the EU, institutional development, and criminal justice capacity building.
Gender for Development Cooperation:
Combine study of theories in gender (including masculinities) with practical knowledge of the tools used by practitioners to approach gender mainstreaming in development. You will also look at the application of a gendered lens to the design and implementation of development programmes.
Contemporary Security in International Relations:
Examine the most pressing international security challenges facing policy makers, reflect on new debates in security studies, and explore the enduring relevance of strategic thought in the face of contemporary challenges.
Education and Development:
Consider key issues in contemporary debates relating to education and international development, through a range of approaches, theories and research in historical and regional contexts. Themes include fair access, inclusivity, diversity and equity in education and skills policy.
Health and Development:
Examine the challenges in defining and measuring population health, and explore a variety of health topics relevant to both the developed and developing countries including obesity, ageing, health and migration, health inequalities and child under-nutrition.
Economics of Development:
Gain insights into the ways in which economics and economists play a critical role in terms of development policy. You will examine resource endowment and exploitation, poverty and inequality, historic trade theory and the role of finance and microfinance in economic development.
Units (30 credits per unit, 60 credits for the dissertation) are offered individually as credit-bearing short courses, or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or MSc International Development Studies (180 credits).
Programme AssessmentThis course will be offered entirely through distance learning methods. All course materials and readings, lecture notes, as well as additional links to useful organisational sites, social media hubs and further resources, will be posted and regularly updated in our virtual learning environment. Human contact will be an important part of the programme too, with regular ‘webinars’, discussion forums, one-on-one tutorials with lecturers, email correspondence and skype meetings where necessary.
The assessment methods used on this programme are varied and test all the skills developed in the different modules at different stages of the learning process. These include essays, leading and participating in discussion forums and blogs, portfolios, policy briefs and research projects, allowing for a balance between formative and summative assessment.
Student DestinationsThe course is designed to support the needs of those who hope to be, or are already, engaged in the international development sector. It offers highly desirable transferable skills such as communication, qualitative data collection, quantitative data manipulation and data analysis and writing skills. Additionally, the applied nature of this course means that students will be working within ‘live’ development contexts from the start. This will ensure that they are able to develop their professional networks and identify career opportunities. Additionally students will benefit from the advice and guidance regarding career progression given by the experts and development practitioners who teach on this course.
MSc International Development Studies (Distance Learning)
page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!
A good honours degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.