MSc International Development: Public Policy and Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course description

MSc International Development: Public Policy and Management seeks to provide an interdisciplinary training and education that will enable policymakers, economists, planners, managers and researchers to be fully conversant with current issues of public policy and management, in an international development setting.

It will provide you with the conceptual and analytical tools needed to understand and critically review issues relevant to public policy and public sector reform.

While the course was conceived primarily for those already working in the public sector environment, it has evolved into a highly successful multidisciplinary course that is appropriate to modern professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, who have an interest in issues of public policy.


  • Develop your understanding of the different conceptual and theoretical perspectives applied to public policy and management, and public sector reform.
  • Expand upon your understanding of the principles and practices underlying the implementation of public policy processes, and provide knowledge of 'real-world' examples of public policy/sector reform.
  • Learn about the role and importance of institutions for public policy and management.
  • Grow your skills and provide you with a significant cross-disciplinary (development economics, public policy, management and development studies) skill set that will enable you to critically analyse and communicate your analysis effectively.
  • Build your awareness and knowledge of a variety of global public policies and how they are implemented.
  • Develop your command of current theory, policy and practice in relation to some of the following specialist areas: public policy process and methods; public sector economics; development and economic policy; privatisation and public enterprise reform; public sector accounting and organisational change.
  • Build upon your independent research skills through a supervised dissertation research project.

Special features

  • We're Europe's largest dedicated development research and teaching institute and have been at the forefront of development studies for over 60 years .
  • We're ranked 7th in the UK and 11th in the world for development studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021). 
  • Our research was ranked first in the UK for impact and second in the UK for quality in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
  • We are proud to tackle global inequalities and rank first in the UK for our impact on the Sustainable Development Goals ( THE Impact Rankings 2020 ).
  • We bring cutting-edge insights from our research into all our postgraduate teaching. Our courses bring different development perspectives and voices to Manchester, from activists from the Global South to the leaders of multinational companies.
  • We are home to the internationally-recognised Effective States and Inclusive Development and FutureDAMS research centres.
  • Students are part of our vibrant research community this includes our public lecture series which brings world experts, former heads of state, and leading development thinkers, to discuss current issues in development.
  • We have numerous scholarship opportunities for outstanding applicants.

Teaching and learning

Part-time students complete the course over 24 months. There are no evening or weekend course units available; you should, therefore, discuss course requirements with the Programme Director and seek approval from your employer. Timetabling information is usually available from late August. You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Coursework and assessment

The taught elements of the course, carrying 120 credits overall, is continuously assessed by a variety of methods (eg project-based reports, essays), involving largely individual submissions, but also elements of group work.

You must also complete a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice approved by the Programme Directors. You are encouraged to base your dissertation on topics of direct professional concern.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Public Sector Reform and Management MGDI60081 15 Mandatory
Research Skills for Economic Development 1 (Quantitative Methods) MGDI60301 15 Mandatory
Economic Analysis of the Public Sector MGDI61091 15 Mandatory
Industrial Competitiveness and Global Transformation MGDI60002 15 Optional
Global Political Economy MGDI60072 15 Optional
International Management MGDI60101 15 Optional
Work and Employment in the Global Economy MGDI60132 15 Optional
Human Resource Development: Key Concepts MGDI60151 15 Optional
Behavioural Experiments, Quantitative Field Research and Development Policy MGDI60191 15 Optional
Globalisation, Trade and Development MGDI60271 15 Optional
Trade Theory and Development MGDI60291 15 Optional
Research Skills for Economic Development 2 (Applied Quantitative Skills) MGDI60302 15 Optional
Digital Governance MGDI60311 15 Optional
Microfinance MGDI60362 15 Optional
Financing Social Protection MGDI60372 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Fundamentals of Information and Information Systems MGDI60481 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Development Macroeconomics MGDI60581 15 Optional
Political Economics for Development MGDI60611 15 Optional
Economic Development MGDI60711 15 Optional
Anti-Poverty Transfers MGDI61512 15 Optional
Human Resource Practice 1 MGDI70661 15 Optional
Gender & Development MGDI70802 15 Optional
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Optional
International Finance for Development MGDI72121 15 Optional
Economics of Governance and Development MGDI72152 15 Optional
Contemporary Issues in Development Finance MGDI72162 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units

Scholarships and bursaries

There are many internal and external funding opportunities for postgraduate study.

We offer several postgraduate taught scholarships to outstanding applicants. We also regularly welcome students on the University's Equity and Merit scholarship scheme.

The Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a first-class Bachelor's degree and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

Many of our students have gained British Chevening, British Council or Commonwealth scholarships, as well as country-specific awards.

For more information, see  fees and funding  or  search the University's postgraduate funding database .

What our students say

I chose to study at The University of Manchester because of the postgraduate programs offered and GDI's reputation for impactful research and I decided to study International Development as it was perfectly aligned with my career aspirations.

It has been an incredible journey to tap into the lecturers' wealth of expertise. I was able to relate most of the courses to real work experience beyond developing a theoretical background.

What I enjoyed the most was the diversity of the people and that I was able to meet and share experiences with different people from all over the world.

It has been an asset having a degree from the prestigious University of Manchester, ranking 27 th in the world, and GDI being one of the ten best developmental schools in the UK.  My GDI qualification coupled with my previous work experience has allowed me to explore promising opportunities and to stand out.

Aida Erkihun Bayissa, MSc International Development

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email