MSc Digital Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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

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