MSc International Development: Environment Climate Change and Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Poverty and Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI60141
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module examines the relationship between poverty and development. Different approaches to conceptualising, measuring and explaining poverty are critically explored.



The unit aims to:

  • Introduce and critically evaluate competing frameworks for understanding poverty and its causes
  • Explore the nature and causes of different types of poverty, such as rural and urban poverty
  • Discuss the role of different actors, including states, international institutions and social movements, in addressing poverty
  • Examine the post-2015 global poverty agenda and the relationship between global governance and poverty reduction
  • Critically analyse different approaches to poverty reduction and the challenges encountered when addressing poverty in different contexts



Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will take place through nine lectures in addition to three tutorials.

Lectures will combine presentations of the learning material, interactive activities and multimedia resources.

Tutorials will enable discussion of the learning material through a range of activities, such as group work, debates and presentations. 


Knowledge and understanding

  • A critical understanding of the different approaches and theoretical frameworks for understanding, measuring and analysing poverty
  • A thorough knowledge of the diverse levels at which poverty and poverty reduction can be addressed and the challenges encountered at each level
  • A critical exploration of the different types of poverty and the key strategies and mechanisms for reducing poverty
  • A thorough knowledge of the key actors, factors and challenges affecting poverty reduction
  • A thorough discussion of the problems encountered and the opportunities gained when implementing poverty reduction strategies in practice.

Intellectual skills

  • Conducting critical analyses of the different theoretical approaches, concepts and strategies for poverty and poverty reduction.
  • Comparing different case studies and understanding the diverse causes and nature of poverty in different contexts
  • Using analytical skills to critically evaluate the nature of poverty reduction strategies and their implementation in practice.

Practical skills

  • Professionally-oriented skills related to examining and analysing different poverty reduction strategies in different contexts and at diverse levels.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Transferable skills include the enhanced ability to formulate arguments, conduct critical and thorough analyses, gathering and use of evidence, work towards deadlines, participate in group work, nurture verbal and written communication skills in addition to fostering critical thinking and reflection.  

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Assessed essay - detailed written feedback provided

Recommended reading

Armstrong, S. (2018). The New Poverty. Verso.

Bush, R. (2007) Poverty and neoliberalism: Persistence and reproduction in the global south. Pluto Press.

Hulme, D. (2015) Global Poverty: Global governance and poor people in the post-2015 era. Routledge.

Mitlin,  Diana  and  David  Satterthwaite (2013), Urban Poverty in the Global South: Scale and Nature, London and New York: Routledge.

Sen, A. (1999) Development as Freedom. OUP.



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 18
Practical classes & workshops 1
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 125

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Thomas Gillespie Unit coordinator

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