MSc Digital Development

Year of entry: 2023

Overview

Degree awarded
Master of Science
Duration
1 year
Entry requirements

We require a UK Honours degree with a First or Upper Second (2.1) classification or the overseas equivalent.

When assessing your academic record we take into account the grades you have achieved and the standing of the institution where you studied your qualification.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

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

Course overview

  • Study conceptual frameworks to understand the process of socio-economic development and the role of digital information and digital technologies in the development process. 
  • Benefit from The University of Manchester's world-leading Centre for Digital Development (CDD)
  • Gain new knowledge and skills to help in the effective planning, development, implementation and management of digital development/ICT4D initiatives.

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 (SEED), 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 2023, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MSc (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £13,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £27,000
  • MSc (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £6,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,500

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

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

There are many internal and external funding opportunities for postgraduate study. 

We offer several postgraduate taught scholarships and merit awards to outstanding applicants and international students. 

We also regularly welcome students on the University's Equity and Merit scholarship scheme.  

In addition, the Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to The 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 our fees and funding webpages or search the University's postgraduate funding database .

Contact details

School/Faculty
School of Environment, Education and Development
Contact name
School of Environment, Education and Development - 0161 275 2814
Telephone
0161 275 1814
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

We require a UK Honours degree with a First or Upper Second (2.1) classification or the overseas equivalent.

When assessing your academic record we take into account the grades you have achieved and the standing of the institution where you studied your qualification.

English language

For the latest information on demonstrating your English proficiency for those whose first language is not English, please see our language requirements .

This programme also accepts successful completion of the 6 Week Pre-sessional English Language course. We accept the following qualifications which must be valid on the start date of the Pre-sessional course:

IELTS - 6.5 overall with no element below 6.0

TOEFL iBT -  90 overall with 20 or above in all elements

Pearson PTE Academic or Academic UKVI - 70 overall with 65 or above in all elements

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 across the globe. To help international students the university provides specific information for many individual countries. Please see our  country-specific information page  for guidance on the academic and English language qualifications which may be accepted 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;
  • your CV;
  • copies of English Language Certification, eg IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson test score report.

Ensure that you enclose all the necessary documents to avoid any delays.

How your application is considered

Applications for MSc Digital Development are very competitive. Due to the high demand for the programme we may not be able to offer places to all applicants who have the entry qualifications that we require. If we are unable to consider you for an offer you may be placed on a waiting list. Candidates on a waiting list will only be considered for an offer if places become available.

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

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 Digital Development will train you to become a digital development champion who possesses the necessary technical and contextual skills to lead digital development and information-and-communications-technology-for-development (ICT4D) programmes and projects to completion, such as ICT-enabled enterprise, e-government, m-health, MOOCs, etc. 

In recent years there has been - and continues to be - a massive expansion in the number of digital development projects in developing and transitional economies. 

With a skills shortage resulting in a high project failure rate, this course satisfies the pressing need for digital development champions. By taking this course, you will benefit from The University of Manchester's world-leading Centre for Digital Development and gain: 

  • conceptual frameworks to understand the process of socio-economic development and the role of information and of digital technologies in the development process; 
  • new knowledge and skills to help in the effective planning, development, implementation and management of digital development/ICT4D initiatives.

A range of optional course units provides an opportunity to satisfy specialist digital development champion knowledge and skill requirements, while the field visits that we normally offer will enable you to build up your real-world experience at no additional cost.

The course is designed for those applying, or seeking to apply, digital information and communication technologies in pursuit of socio-economic development goals. 

It will include those who have, or plan to have direct design and implementation responsibilities, project managerial responsibilities, or broader strategic or policy-related responsibilities. Typical participants include: 

  • early-career professionals who have found themselves involved with digital development/ICT4D projects and want a period to reflect, learn and broaden their impact and career horizons; 
  • technical staff involved with digital development/ICT4D projects who wish to add systems, managerial and development skills to their portfolio; 
  • computing graduates who wish to make ethical use of their skills but lack the necessary understanding of systems and development.

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 second in the UK and seventh in the world for development studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022).
  • 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  African Cities Research Consortium ,  Effective States and Inclusive Development  and  FutureDAMS  research centres.  
  • Students are part of our vibrant research community, including our public lecture series  which brings world experts, former heads of state, and leading development thinkers, to discuss current issues in development.

Teaching and learning

This course has normally included a field trip. Please note that field trips may be scheduled at any point during the course, including during University vacations. 

You are expected to be available to attend.  

Part-time students 

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. 

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

The taught elements of the course, carrying 120 credits overall, are continuously assessed by a variety of methods (e.g., 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
ICTs & Socio-Economic Development MGDI60701 15 Mandatory
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Mandatory
Research Skills Development MGDI72090 15 Mandatory
Teaching and Learning Online EDUC70050 15 Optional
Multimedia Design and Development EDUC70511 15 Optional
Introducing Information Systems in Organisations MGDI60012 15 Optional
Issues in the Management of Information Systems MGDI60052 15 Optional
Human Resource Development & Leadership MGDI60162 15 Optional
Behavioural Experiments, Quantitative Field Research and Development Policy MGDI60191 15 Optional
Digital Transformation of the Global Economy MGDI60282 15 Optional
Digital Governance MGDI60311 15 Optional
eBusiness: Organisation and Strategy MGDI60352 15 Optional
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Optional
Fundamentals of Information and Information Systems MGDI60481 15 Optional
Human Resource Development: Programmes and Policies in Practice MGDI60492 15 Optional
Economic Development MGDI60711 15 Optional
Anti-Poverty Transfers MGDI61512 15 Optional
Organisational Behaviour MGDI70072 15 Optional
Organizational Psychology, Management and Change MGDI70081 15 Optional
Gender & Development MGDI70802 15 Optional
ICTs in Practice MGDI71932 15 Optional
Development Practice: International Contexts and Worlds of Action MGDI71981 15 Optional
Characteristics and Skills of Development Practice MGDI71992 15 Optional
Contemporary Issues in Development Finance MGDI72162 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 24 course units

What our students say

Find out how our students feel about studying at The University of Manchester by visiting Student Spotlights .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

The course is relevant to those with career trajectories in the NGO and public sectors, and in the private sector given the private sector's increasing involvement with digital development/ICT4D projects.

It is particularly intended for those who will be working in or with transitional and developing economies.

MSc Digital Development can help you select and target jobs in any part of the tribrid triangle which marks the overall set of typical jobs into which our graduates move. 

These are some mix of international development roles, management roles (including strategic and analytical management), and digital technology roles.

Each year, one or two of our students decide to continue their studies by undertaking a PhD. Those who take a PhD typically see themselves with a career trajectory into academia or into a research-intensive job role such as consultancy or policy advisory positions.

Those from the MSc Digital Development programme may study with the University's Centre for Digital Development

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 FCDO, 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 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; 
  • 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 .