Information regarding our 2022/23 admissions cycle

Our updated course listings for the 2022/23 postgraduate admissions cycle will be published at the beginning of October. Applications for 2022 entry will be available shortly after this. Check our how to apply pages for updates.

MSc Research Methods with International Development

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

Overview

Degree awarded
Master of Science (MSc)
Duration
1 year
Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 Honours degree.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MSc Y N N N

Course overview

  • Research-intensive master's degree, perfect if you're considering PhD study and/or a career in research.
  • The course will develop your research skills and knowledge of international development.
  • It complies with the research training requirements for ESRC scholarships for a PhD scholarship (commonly termed +3), and also suitable as the master's year as part of an ESRC scholarship award that covers both the master's and PhD (commonly termed a 1+3 award).
  • It is ideal if you want to apply for an ESRC or School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) scholarship, as 70% of the ESRC Core Training can be demonstrated prior to commencing a PhD.

Open days

The University holds regular open days, where you will have the opportunity to tour the campus and find out more about our facilities and courses.

On this day, you will find out more about the School of Environment, Education and Development and our resources, and meet academic and admissions staff who will be able to answer any questions you have.

For more information, see  Open days

Fees

For entry in the academic year beginning September 2021, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £10,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £20,000

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for international students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit postgraduate fees

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1,000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Scholarships/sponsorships

MSc Research Methods complies with the research training requirements for ESRC scholarships for a PhD scholarship (commonly termed +3). It is also suitable as the master's year as part of an ESRC scholarship award that covers both the master's and PhD (commonly termed a 1+3 award). 

It is ideal if you want to apply for an ESRC scholarship or School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) scholarship, as 70% of the ESRC Core Training can be demonstrated prior to commencing a PhD.

It will also be of interest to people who are considering a career in research in one of the pathway fields.

We also offer a number of postgraduate taught scholarships and merit awards to outstanding applicants and international students.

In addition, 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.

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

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
Christopher Kitchen
Email
School/Faculty
See: The School .

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

Minimum 2:1 Honours degree.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English should meet the following language requirements:

  • IELTS 6.5 overall, 6.5 in writing, no sub-section below 6.0
  • TOEFL iBT overall score of 90 with a minimum score of 22 in writing and 20 in the other subsections
  • Pearson PTE overall score of 59 with a minimum score of 59 in the written section and 55 in all other subsections
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) overall score of 176 or above, with 176 in writing and no sub-section below 169 - OR - Grade C if taken before January 2015.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

Please submit the following documents with your completed application form:
  • copies of official degree certificates and transcripts of your previous study, showing the subjects taken and grades obtained. If these documents are in languages other than English please provide official translations;
  • two written references, one of which should be familiar with your academic work, signed, dated and stamped by the referee and on official headed paper;
  • a personal statement (maximum 500 words) detailing why you wish to study the course, your experiences, what you can bring to the course and any other information that you see as relevant to your application;
  • your CV;
  • copies of English Language Certification, eg IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson test score report.
Ensure that you enclose all the necessary documents, as the delay caused in having to seek any missing documents from you might adversely prejudice your application.

How your application is considered

Once your application has been received, our admissions team will contact you. We may ask you to submit additional information, if necessary.

If you decide to accept your offer, when you arrive in Manchester you will be required to show to us the original documents which demonstrate your academic qualifications and your English language ability.

Returning to education

Return-to-learn students are those who have had a substantial period away from any formal learning. Often such learners have pursued careers or raised a family.

We understand that students come from many different backgrounds, with varying qualifications, careers and skills, but they often bring to their studies a high degree of motivation and experience.

We recognise that standard selection measures and procedures may not enable these learners to demonstrate fully their suitability for their chosen course.

Where appropriate, admissions officers will seek and consider alternative evidence in order to give such learners equivalent consideration. Where they deem this alternative evidence meets entry criteria fully, the learner will not be required to meet the standard academic entry requirements.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry. 

In your new application, you should demonstrate how your application has improved. We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.

Course details

Course description

MSc Research Methods is a research intensive master's designed for those who wish to continue on to PhD and/or are considering embarking on a career in research. It has a strong focus on developing research skills combined with further study in international development.

The MSc is designed to comply with the research training requirements for two ESRC scholarships as administered by the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP): the three-year PhD scholarship (commonly termed +3) and the four-year scholarship that covers an eligible one year master's and a three-year PhD (commonly termed 1+3). 

The course is ideal if you want to apply for an ESRC scholarship through the NWSSDTP or a School of Environment, Education and Development scholarship. NWSSDTP approved master's must meet the minimum research training requirement expected by the ESRC.

Aims

You will:

  • develop as a well-rounded researcher who is able to access the full range of research in relation to international development;
  • actively and practically engage with research methods used in the context of international development;
  • attend introductory PhD research training lectures, seminars and tutorials and get a taste of life as a PhD student.

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

You will conduct a small-scale piece of empirical research of relevance and use this as the basis for your dissertation. The emphasis of the dissertation will be on the use of methodology in the context of:
  • tracing the application of certain methods to the investigation of particular issues;
  • discussing how that methodology functioned in practice;
  • research reflexivity.

You will be expected to report on the findings of the study, although the scale of the work will necessitate modest aims and outcomes, given that you will require space to provide in-depth methodological critique and potentially also methods development as an outcome of their study.

It will also be possible you to choose to undertake a literature-based dissertation, in which case there will be an expectation that a formal review methodology will be used to conduct the review.

The form the dissertation ultimately takes will reflect the particular study conducted, and its structure will be negotiated and agreed your supervisor. All dissertations undertaken will be required to contribute to meeting the ESRC's research training criteria.

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

You will conduct a small scale piece of empirical research of relevance within your pathway field and use this as the basis for your dissertation. The emphasis of the dissertation will be on the use of methodology in the context of:
  • tracing the application of certain methods to the investigation of particular issues
  • discussing how that methodology functioned in practice
  • research reflexivity.

You will be expected to report on the findings of the study, although the scale of the work will necessitate modest aims and outcomes, given that you will require space to provide in-depth methodological critique and potentially also methods development as an outcome of their study.

It will also be possible you to choose to undertake a literature-based dissertation, in which case there will be an expectation that a formal review methodology will be used to conduct the review.

The form the dissertation ultimately takes will reflect the particular study conducted, and its structure will be negotiated and agreed your supervisor. All dissertations undertaken will be required to contribute to meeting the ESRC's research training criteria.

Course unit details

Core course units typically include:
  • Research Literacy and Design
  • Qualitative Research Approaches
  • Quantitative Research Approaches
  • Dissertation

You will select one from the following options:

  • Doing Environmental Research
  • Development Fieldwork
  • Independent Research Methods
You will also select four units from our international development postgraduate portfolio.

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
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Mandatory
Developing Researcher Reflexivity EVDV70011 15 Optional
Doing Environmental Research GEOG70472 15 Optional
Industrial Competitiveness and Global Transformation MGDI60002 15 Optional
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
Globalisation, Trade and Development MGDI60271 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Optional
Critical Issues in Urban Inequality MGDI60531 15 Optional
Climate Change, Disasters and Responses MGDI60552 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
Planning Powers and Procedures PLAN60021 15 Optional
Property Valuation PLAN60331 15 Optional
Environmental Impact Assessment PLAN60411 15 Optional
International Urban Design PLAN60491 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN60771 15 Optional
International Planning: Systems and Frameworks PLAN60861 15 Optional
Real Estate Markets PLAN61061 15 Optional
Urban Development Planning in Cities of the South: an international perspective PLAN72061 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 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 The University of Manchester because the university is well respected and because GDI has a good reputation with many academics producing interesting work.

GDI is a really nice place to study. It is welcoming, focused on improving development practice as well as theory and deserves its great reputation. It has excellent researchers, approachable and accommodating teaching staff and many public lectures and events.'

Clare Cummings, MSc in Research Methods with 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

Careers

Career opportunities

MSc Research Methods is ideal if you are considering PhD study and/or a career in research in international development.

Teaching and research at the Global Development Institute covers a wide variety of topics and as a result our students can be found in a range of jobs and careers.

Our teaching aims to support students from all backgrounds to acquire valuable knowledge, skills and attributes to achieve their educational and professional goals. It includes regular contributions from researchers and practitioners with a view to equip our students to make a positive difference in their chosen sphere.

NGOs and third sector organisations

Our teaching and research aims are suited to work in non-government and civil society organisations where you take on a range of roles from policy advisors, project managers, HR and communications staff. Our alumni can be found at large international NGOs like Oxfam as well as in many smaller organisations.

Government and policy

Graduates can be found in national governments, multilateral organisations and policy influencing positions around the world, in organisations including DFID, the World Bank, African Union, United Nations and as civil servants around the world.

Private sector

Our focus on how businesses and the private sector can play a role in development enables you to gain employment in multinational organisations, private sector firms or to start your own organisations addressing some of the biggest global challenges.

Research and teaching

Our master's courses provide you with a strong theoretical foundation for further study. Alumni find employment in research and teaching positions at universities and research institutes around the world.

Top employers include:

  • African Union;
  • Oxfam;
  • Inter-American Development Bank;
  • Care;
  • Mercy Corps;
  • The British Council;
  • the World Bank;
  • the Department for International Development;
  • United Nations;
  • USAID.

Find out more about our alumni and some of our notable former students .

Careers support

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .

Careers support for international students

The Careers Service provides specialist resources, advice and events to help with career planning and making the most of your time while studying in Manchester.

Global networks

The University of Manchester is proud to have the largest global alumni community of any campus-based university in the UK. After your course, you'll join our 10,000 strong alumni network . We'll keep you up-to-date with all the new insights and implications from our research.

International alumni groups are a great way to keep in touch with fellow Manchester graduates in your country. It is an opportunity to build professional and social networks.

You can view the alumni networks already operating across the globe, here .