MSc International Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

MSc International Development offers a coherent and interdisciplinary grounding in the core aspects of international development theory, policy and practice.

The course is designed for social science graduates, or for those working in a wide range of development organisations both internationally and within developing countries.

It aims to blend theory and practice and seeks to explain policy behaviour through an integrated approach, drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives.

MSc International Development is both a course in its own right and an umbrella structure that houses a range of more specialised master's courses, each of which explores a key dimension of international development under four broad thematic headings:

  • global political economy;
  • governance and management;
  • poverty and inequality;
  • the environment.

The course is ideal if you're looking to learn more about developing countries, would like to gain the skills and capacity to think critically about development, and/or are interested in studying a truly interdisciplinary course.

Aims

This course will:

  • Provide rigorous interdisciplinary training to equip you with a critical understanding of the theory and practice of international development.
  • Provide you with a thorough conceptual framework and the skills necessary to analyse effectively different perspectives on international development.
  • Provide critical insights into the key strategies, policies and practices currently employed to promote international development.
  • Develop professionally-oriented skills through optional courses in areas such as policy analysis, planning and managing development, and poverty reduction.
  • Provide a wide range of options for advanced training in areas of specialist expertise relevant to international development.
  • Develop advanced competencies in transferable areas, including developing reasoned arguments, gathering, organising and using evidence and information from a wide variety of sources, undertaking both team-based and independent work to deadlines, and both written and verbal forms of communication.
  • Assist you in developing your specialist area of expertise within international development, and applying your understanding and skills through supervised individual research culminating in a dissertation.

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.

You have the opportunity to undertake an overseas field visit as part of the course. Recent fieldtrip locations have included Uganda, Ghana, Sri Lanka and India.

Please note that field visits may be scheduled at any point during the course, including during University vacations.

The School of Environment, Education and Development aim to run advertised fieldwork in the 21/22 Academic Year and we very much hope that students will be able to enjoy the fieldwork experience in the usual way.

The ability of fieldwork to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork might be necessary, will remain subject to the current global situation and factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover; and
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

We will therefore assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any decisions to our students at the earliest possible opportunity. Any fieldwork that does go ahead will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all of our students and staff. If the fieldwork does not go ahead as planned then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

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
Global Political Economy MGDI60072 15 Mandatory
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Mandatory
Understanding Development Research MGDI70982 15 Mandatory
Humanitarianism and Conflict Response: Inquiries HCRI60031 15 Optional
Industrial Competitiveness and Global Transformation MGDI60002 15 Optional
Work and Employment in the Global Economy MGDI60132 15 Optional
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
Gender Inequality: Theory and Evidence MGDI60201 15 Optional
Globalisation, Trade and Development MGDI60271 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Reconstruction and Development MGDI60402 15 Optional
Conflict Analysis MGDI60451 15 Optional
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Critical Issues in Urban Inequality MGDI60531 15 Optional
Global Health Inequalities MGDI60542 15 Optional
Climate Change, Disasters and Responses MGDI60552 15 Optional
Political Economics for Development MGDI60611 15 Optional
Migration, Mobility and Displacement in the Contemporary World MGDI60731 15 Optional
Migration and Development MGDI60742 15 Optional
Environment, Climate Change and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Global Inequalities and Social Development MGDI61461 15 Optional
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Optional
Contemporary Issues in Development Finance MGDI72162 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 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 post-graduate 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. The two courses, Planning & Managing Development and Politics and Governance of Development come to mind, as I found both courses not just interesting but also applicable.

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 The 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  dass@manchester.ac.uk