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MA in Governance and Development

Course Description

Many development problems are attributed to ‘bad governance’, but what is ‘good governance’? To what extent and in what ways does governance actually affect development, and how can the quality of governance be improved? This MA explores these questions and will equip you with the ability to critically assess competing theories of the public sector’s role in social and economic development; develop and implement policies for improving the effectiveness, accountability and legitimacy of governance in specific settings; and understand the significance of current processes for international and national institutions.

This course is for you if you already have an understanding of debates on governance, and it aims to enhance your capacity to develop and implement policies in both public-sector organisations and NGOs. This MA is based around the work of IDS’s dynamic Governance Team, which is actively engaged in policy-related research on a broad range of governance-related issues worldwide.

Course structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2016 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

Autumn term: Governance, Politics and Development • Ideas in Development and Policy, Evidence and Practice • Public Management and Organisational Development.

Spring term: Democracy and Development and two 15-credit modules from a range of options, which may include Aid and Poverty • Analysing Poverty, Vulnerability and Inequality • Climate Change and Development • Decentralisation and Local Government • Emerging Powers and International Development • Global Governance • Impact Evaluation • Law and Development • Management of Public Finance • Nutrition • Politics of Implementing Gender and Development • Poverty, Violence and Conflict • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods • Reflective Practice and Social Change • Sexuality, Masculinity and Development • Unruly Politics.

Spring and summer terms: you take the 15-credit module Introduction to Research Methods to help you prepare for your dissertation.

Summer term: you work on your dissertation.


Assessment is primarily through term papers of 3,000-5,000 words, coursework assignments, presentations, practical exercises and, for some modules, examinations, as well as a final 10,000-word dissertation.


The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/money/scholarships/pgt2016/

Visit the MA in Governance and Development page on the University of Sussex website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in the social sciences or a related discipline, and preferably two years' development-related work experience. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed, two-page personal statement. Overseas entrance requirements: View Website

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