MSc International Development Studies - University of Portsmouth
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MSc

International Development Studies

Study the international development field in depth

Course Overview

Why take this course?

This course will allow students to gain specialism in a chosen topic through a production of an extended piece of academic writing building on their choice of optional units taken in the second year covering the areas of health, education, gender, international relations, criminology and making use of the applied research methods in development skills acquired in the first year.

The distance learning and part time mode of the programme provides a flexible learning framework with opportunities for students to undertake a full Master's qualification, a postgraduate Diploma or a postgraduate Certificate.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Critically engage with an international development studies topic of choice, assembling information from a variety of sources to compose clear detailed and logical argument;
  • Learn to formulate a systematic and methodologically sound research process through undertaking a literature review and empirical research;
  • Where applicable, justify ethical considerations surrounding research carried out.

What opportunities might it lead to?

You can expect to graduate from this course with enhanced career prospects in the international development sector, greater knowledge of development issues and an increasing professional network that may allow you to identify career opportunities. You will also be prepared for doctoral study.

 

Dr Lana Chikhungu, Senior lecturer in International Development Studies

This course provides an applied and comprehensive way of exploring and evaluating international development issues by offering students from varying disciplines an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills gained from the core units in the first year to develop specialism in a specific field.

Dr Lana Chikhungu, Senior lecturer in International Development Studies


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Structure & Teaching

You will study the following core units:

  • Theory & Practice of Development
    Explore the history, theory and practice of international development studies, through topics from colonialism to globalisation. You will be introduced to the tools, such as social enterprise, that are used in development practice. Assessment includes a social enterprise project alongside a traditional essay. 
  • Applied Research Methods for Development
    Learn the strategies and methods of collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data in the social sciences. You will learn to use SPSS for data manipulation, quantitative data analysis and interpretation, using a range of data sets relevant to international development studies.
  • Dissertation
    Demonstrate your achievement on the course as a whole, through the production of a 15,000-word research project on a topic of your choice, informed by the optional units you have selected, under the advice and guidance of a personal supervisor.

You will also select two optional units:

  • International and Comparative Criminal Justice
    Compare differing systems of criminal justice, including international courts and criminal tribunals, as well as international norms and standards. You will examine the role of international criminal justice bodies within the UN and the EU, institutional development, and criminal justice capacity building.
  • Gender for Development Cooperation
    Combine study of theories in gender (including masculinities) with practical knowledge of the tools used by practitioners to approach gender mainstreaming in development. You will also look at the application of a gendered lens to the design and implementation of development programmes.
  • Contemporary Security in International Relations
    Examine the most pressing international security challenges facing policy makers, reflect on new debates in security studies, and explore the enduring relevance of strategic thought in the face of contemporary challenges.
  • Education and Development
    Consider key issues in contemporary debates relating to education and international development, through a range of approaches, theories and research in historical and regional contexts. Themes include fair access, inclusivity, diversity and equity in education and skills policy.
  • Health and Development
    Examine the challenges in defining and measuring population health, and explore a variety of health topics relevant to both the developed and developing countries including obesity, ageing, health and migration, health inequalities and child under-nutrition.
  • Economics of Development
    Gain insights into the ways in which economics and economists play a critical role in terms of development policy. You will examine resource endowment and exploitation, poverty and inequality, historic trade theory and the role of finance and microfinance in economic development.

Units (30 credits per unit, 60 credits for the dissertation) are offered individually as credit-bearing short courses, or as part of the Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits), or MSc International Development Studies (180 credits). 

Teaching and Assessment

This course will be offered entirely through distance learning methods. All course materials and readings, lecture notes, as well as additional links to useful organisational sites, social media hubs and further resources, will be posted and regularly updated in our virtual learning environment.   Human contact will be an important part of the programme too, with regular ‘webinars’, discussion forums, one-on-one tutorials with lecturers, email correspondence and skype meetings where necessary.

How are you assessed?

The assessment methods used on this programme are varied and test all the skills developed in the different modules at different stages of the learning process. These include essays, leading and participating in discussion forums and blogs, portfolios, policy briefs and research projects, allowing for a balance between formative and summative assessment.


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Facilities & Features

Professional relevance

You will have access to experts in the kind of knowledge you need to progress in your chosen career, you will study contemporary issues in the sector, and you can shape your course to your specialist needs.

CEISR

On your Master's, you will be studying with members of CEISR, one of the UK's largest research centres of its kind. These active researchers in the field of development will ensure that your study is connected to the latest developments in the area, while giving access to the wider group’s expertise.

Distance Learning

Distance learning in SLAS brings a cohort of students together with their tutors through our virtual learning environment, Moodle, supported by email and telephone contact for a disciplined, flexible student experience.

Budgeting for your studies

There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.

Other costs to consider

You may be required to pay for travel, accommodation and subsistence to attend our optional campus induction events, workshops and study days. These may be in the region of £50-£500. There may be travel costs for optional internships/placements. These will vary depending on the nature of internship/placement and can range from £50-£1000.


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Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

The course is designed to support the needs of those who hope to be, or are already, engaged in the international development sector.  It offers highly desirable transferable skills such as communication, qualitative data collection, quantitative data manipulation and data analysis and writing skills. Additionally, the applied nature of this course means that students will be working within ‘live’ development contexts from the start. This will ensure that they are able to develop their professional networks and identify career opportunities. Additionally students will benefit from the advice and guidance regarding career progression given by the experts and development practitioners who teach on this course.

Career planning

One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.

We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.

In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.

  • Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
  • Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
  • Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
  • Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
  • If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.


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Apply now or visit us

Online application form

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Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.

Postgraduate Information Days

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Fees and Funding

Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.

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