MSc Environmental Impact Assessment & Management

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Planning and Managing Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI70992
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course offers a critical reflection on methods and techniques of project/programme planning and management. It offers a critical guide to the selection and use of such methods and techniques in a social development context.


There will be a introductory lecture late in semester one at which students enrolled for the course will be introduced to the group project themes and invited to form project groups of four (approx.).

Work on the group projects begins from the start of the course so students for whom the course unit is optional are encouraged to decide whether they wish to take the course at the start of semester one to minimise disruption to the project groups.


The unit aims to: Develop critical project planning knowledge and skills needed to competently respond to development problem situations

Learning outcomes

To develop critical project planning and management knowledge as well as skills and attitudes needed to competently respond to development problem situations in an international context. Many of the skills and knowledge are transferrable to any global context.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is delivered through 10 Lecture interactive sessions and 10 structured workshop style tutorial sessions.

Lectures set the theoretical context of the approaches, methods and tools.

The tutorial sessions use Problem based learning to  give students experiences of using selected methods and techniques  and to develop a planned intervention to a ‘real life’ problem situation.

Students form small project groups of four before semester two commences.



Knowledge and understanding

  • Knowledge of key project planning and management methods and techniques and how to select and use them in development contexts
  • Critical understanding of the issues surrounding project interventions and choice of techniques
  • Knowledge and understanding of the discourses and discursive practices in planning and managing development
  • Intellectual skills - Ability to competently use a diverse range of planning and development management techniques to social and other development situations.
  • Skills to adapt a diverse range of planning concepts, methods and practices to social and other development situations
  • Ability to synthesise and apply knowledge of planning approaches in diverse development contexts

Intellectual skills

  • Develop critical, analytical, synthesis and problem-solving skills related to development interventions.
  • Demonstrate critical analysis of project planning methods and their use in development interventions
  • Apply knowledge of approaches, methods and techniques in wider development contexts

Practical skills

  • Ability to structure a development problem situation and to plan a response based on the LOGFRAM, Results Framework and its alternatives
  • To manage time, self and others and work to tight deadlines.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Ability to communicate planning interventions to a variety of audiences like, donor agencies, policy makers, fellow professionals and lay communities
  • Team working skills especially: leadership skills; ability to organise self and others to accomplish tasks; sharing knowledge and managing differences

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Project output (not diss/n) 50%

Feedback methods

Formative feedback is provided each week during the tutorial sessions; summative feedback is offered during the information market when groups are given the opportunity to present their projects and findings to class and academic colleagues in an informal setting, and when project is submitted

Recommended reading

Dale, R. (2004). Development Planning: Concepts and Tools for Planners, Managers and Facilitators, London, Zed Books

Easterly, W. (2015) Tyranny of Experts. Basic Books PA

Field, M and Keller, L.K. (1998) Project Management, The Open University, London.

Innes, J.E. and Booher, D.E. (2010) Planning with Complexity. An Introduction to Collaborative Rationality for Public Policy, Routledge, London.

Hirschman, A. O. (2014). Development projects observed. Brookings Institution Press.

Krause, M(2014) The Good Project: Humanitarian Relief NGOs and the Fragmentation of Reason (Chicago, University of Chicago Press,

Levin M.H. and McEwan, P.J. (2001). Cost-Effectiveness Analysis:  Methods and Applications, London. Sage

Wates, N., 2014. The Community Planning Handbook: How people can shape their cities, towns & villages in any part of the world. Routledge.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 124

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Admos Chimhowu Unit coordinator
Erla Thrandardottir Unit coordinator
Erla Thrandardottir Unit coordinator

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