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MSc Research Methods with International Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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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