MSc Research Methods with International Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

MSc Research Methods is a research-intensive master's designed for those who wish to continue 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 (SEED) scholarship.

NWSSDTP approved master's must meet the minimum research training requirement expected by the ESRC.


You will:

  • develop as a well-rounded researcher who can 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

Teaching and learning

This course has normally included a field trip.

Important notice 

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) recognises the value of fieldwork. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our priority. The School will assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any significant changes to our students at the earliest possible opportunity. 

The ability of fieldwork and travel to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork and travel might be necessary, will remain subject to 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; 
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

All fieldwork and travel 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 our students and staff. 

In some circumstances, it may become necessary to make changes to fieldwork or programme related travel. The University will notify you of those changes at the earliest opportunity. If any 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.

Please note that countries may change their immigration and visa regulations at short notice. The School cannot guarantee that where visas are required for fieldwork, they will be granted but we will take steps so that if a visa is refused, affected students are not academically disadvantaged.

Coursework and assessment

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 for 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 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
Research Literacy and Design EVDV70001 15 Mandatory
Qualitative Research Approaches EVDV70012 15 Mandatory
Quantitative Research EVDV70022 15 Mandatory
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Mandatory
Developing Researcher Reflexivity EVDV70011 15 Optional
Independent Research Methods EVDV70032 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
Climate, Environment and Development MGDI60552 15 Optional
Key Issues in Environment and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Global Inequalities and Social Development MGDI61462 15 Optional
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Optional
Digital Planning - Decision Support Systems PLAN60962 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units

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