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MA in Social Development

Course Description

The MA in Social Development addresses the increasing focus on social aspects of development in policy, planning and practice. Official donor agencies as well as governments and NGOs now see much of what they do as being concerned with social development, and many important concepts in development – such as the sustainable livelihoods approach, empowerment, participation, partnership and the rights-based approach to development – are rooted in the tradition of social development.

Taught by active practitioners and research faculty within the School of Global Studies, this course provides you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to become a social development practitioner. If you have some experience in the field, it provides opportunities to expand and deepen your knowledge.

We draw on a range of innovative teaching methods, including interactive lectures, workshops and one-to-one supervision. As part of our interdisciplinary student community you will benefit from expert teaching, a choice of options and a connection to a global network of research partnerships, alumni and professionals in the public, private, consultancy and not-forprofit sectors.

The course is open to students with a first degree in any social science or humanities field, but some prior work experience is desirable.

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.

This MA is built around a number of core modules and options. However, it is also possible for you to choose an option from other MA courses in the School of Global Studies, subject to the fulfilment of any prerequisites and the availability of places. Note that not all options run in any one year.

Autumn term: Concepts of Social Development • Theories of Development and Underdevelopment.

Spring term: ou choose two options from The Architecture of Aid • Critical Debates in Environment and Development • Refugees and Development • Globalisation and Rural Change • Poverty and Inequality in the Global Economy • Activism for Development and Social Justice • Migration, Inequality and Social Change • Sexualities and Development • Women and Human Rights • Fair Trade, Ethical Business and New Moral Economies • The Global Governance of Education and Conflict • Education Policy, Planning and Development • Society and Economy in South Asia • Knowledge, Power and Resistance • Anthropology of Childhood • Cultural Understandings of Health and Healing • Transnational Migration and Diaspora.

You also take a Research Methods and Professional Skills module, which provides training to prepare you for further research and a professional career. This module is delivered as a series of workshops, including one that prepares you for your dissertation.

Over the summer you will undertake supervised work on a 10,000-word dissertation (or dissertation with placement).


You are assessed by 5,000-word term papers, unseen exams, a research proposal and your 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 Social Development page on the University of Sussex website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in the social or natural sciences. Applicants with other degrees or relevant practical work experience will also be considered. Overseas entrance requirements: View Website

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