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MA in Participation, Power and Social Change

Course Description

IDS’s work around the theme of participation, power and social change is part of a global research collaboration that explores how people participate in society in pursuit of social justice. We work with people to identify and implement alternative approaches to social change that respond to local situations and bridge operational practice with research and policy change.

Designed for experienced practitioners, this MA combines intensive coursework with work-based learning and action research. It will provide you with an understanding of conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches to participation as applied to practical challenges in development and governance; practical skills in participatory processes and action research; and abilities of critical thinking, analysis and reflective practice; as well as personal development of values and attitudes useful in pursuing participatory approaches.

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: Foundations of Participation • Ideas in Development and Policy, Evidence and Practice, and one from Sociology, Anthropology and the Development Conundrum • Empowering Society.

Spring term: Designing Critical Enquiry into Practice, Action Learning and Constructivist Research. You choose 30 credits from a range of 15- and 30-credit modules:

30-credit modules may include Competing in the Global Economy • Democracy and Development• Health and Development • Sustainability and Policy Processes: Issues in Agriculture, Environment and Health • Poverty, Policy and Programmes.

15-credit modules 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 • Management of Public Finance • Nutrition • Politics of Implementing Gender and Development • Poverty, Violence and Conflict • Reflective Practice and Social Change • Unruly Politics.

Summer term: you work on your dissertation and a work-based placement.


Assessment develops your capacity to reflect, self-evaluate, and monitor your own learning in consultation with your supervisor. Methods will include written assignments, a learning plan, module participation, progress reports, portfolio items and presentations, and individual and peer-review sessions, as well as a 15,000-word synthesis paper.


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 Participation, Power and Social Change 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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Recipient: University of Sussex
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