International Development BA (Hons)
BA Hons International Development
BA Hons International Development
On this BA (Hons) International Development degree course, you’ll learn to address some of the major global challenges of our time such as poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, universal education and health care.
You'll expand your understanding of the role and purpose of cooperation between governments, international organisations and non-governmental organisation (NGOs) in international development, using this to gain insights into strategies to improve people's lives on a global scale.
This course is ideal for a national and international career in roles such as community development, advocacy, policy development and public affairs. You'll have the confidence and ability to take what you learn on this course to make a positive impact in areas such as gender equality and women’s empowerment, democracy, human rights and conflict and security.
The University of Portsmouth is ranked the number 1 modern university for research quality in Area Studies
- Your learning won’t be limited to the classroom – you'll have opportunities to work with development organisations in the UK or overseas
- Study a range of development approaches, including economics, human geography, politics and international relations, to engage in processes of policy change at international and local levels, campaign on issues of social justice and inequality, and contribute toward the achievement of sustainable development
- Be taught by staff who are committed to their research in the field, such as Professor Tamsin Bradley whose research is informing schemes to help support women across South Asia in their search for equality
- Get experience during your studies or as part of an optional work placement year with an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) such as the British Council
- Learn from professionals working in the sector – recent academic enrichment events include a guest lecture from the Senior Strategic Advisor to Oxfam, a visit from an NGO based in Peru, a series of training events with RedR UK and sessions led by our colleagues and graduates working in the sector
- Put your expertise into practice in Model United Nations events, in collaboration with fellow students from International Development and International Relations
- Have the chance to learn a new language, enhancing your employability in an international workplace
BA (Hons) International Development degree entry requirements
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112–128 points (calculate your UCAS points)
- T levels – Merit
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
- International Baccalaureate – 25
You may need to have studied specific subjects – See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
92% overall student satisfaction for our BA (Hons) International Development course (NSS, 2022)
Careers and opportunities
When you graduate, you'll have an extensive range of skills including analysis, criticism and argument, communication and problem-solving that you can use in your future role advocating for and creating pathways to positive change. You'll be ready to take on roles in organisations that put people at the heart of their strategies and policies, in areas such as policy and outreach.
You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level with a Master’s in International Development, or take the next step into research that could inform policy with a PhD. Discover the areas you could make a difference in by exploring the research taking place at Portsmouth around Area Studies and Global Governance.
No matter what route you take, the skills and knowledge you develop on this course will prepare you for a rewarding role making a difference in the lives of others.
What can you do with an international development degree?
This course gives you the skills for careers in areas such as:
- international community development
- civil service
- fundraising, campaigning and advocacy
- policy development
- social enterprise
- corporate social responsibility
- public affairs
- project management
What jobs can you do with an international development degree?
Our graduates have gone on to roles such as:
- programme management, support and evaluation roles for international agencies and non-governmental organisations
- fundraising development coordinator
- human rights advocacy
- media and digital content lead
- social researcher
- community development practitioner
- sustainable sourcing specialist for multinational corporations
Our graduates have worked for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government departments and companies such as:
- Save the Children
- Street Doctors
- the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- the Department or International Development
- British Chamber of Commerce
- Universal Music Group
Get experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experience. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role.
Placement year opportunities
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in international development, giving you the chance to grow your professional network and enhance your CV.
We'll give you all the support you need to find a placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.
Students have completed work placements at organisations such as:
- British Council
- Otra Cosa Network
- Freedom from Torture
- SEK International Schools
- Catholic Agency For Overseas Development
Undertaking a placement year enabled me to gain work experience and increase my employability whilst still a student. Heading abroad not only gave me the opportunity to travel halfway around the world to learn a second language but also to engage and immerse myself in the local culture and communities, an experience I could only dream about from Portsmouth.
The best thing about my placement was really being able to see how a successful NGO was run from teaching classes, to fundraising, grant writing and recruiting volunteers. I really believe it gave me so many valuable skills I wouldn’t have been able to get if I didn’t do it.
As part of your core course programme, you’ll take part in a 'mini' internship connected to an ongoing research project at the University. You’ll choose from a number of internships that have been carefully selected by your lecturers to further develop your skills in areas critical to a career in international development, such as communication and project management.
A previous student interned in a communications role for Gender Focus, a research team involved in areas such as gender-based violence and cultural practices that harm women and girls. Their responsibilities included social media management of the Instagram account and organising research webinars.
Volunteering for local, national and international charities is a great way to build up work experience before graduating into the world of international development. Taking on a role with a local charity, or interning over the summer for a non-governmental organisation (NGO) shows future employers you have a passion for making a difference and an independent drive to develop your skills in the industry.
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you identify internships, voluntary roles and opportunities to match your ambitions.
Our Volunteering Team in the Careers and Employability Service supports around 100 local and national charities and not-for-profit organisations. Each year, our students volunteer more than 60,000 hours at organisations including Motiv8, the Mary Rose Museum, Citizens Advice Havant, Portsmouth Football Club and Portsmouth Mediation Service. In 2019/20 student volunteers alone contributed £493,700 to the local economy.
For my placement year, I spent time in London at a digital crowdfunding charity, GlobalGiving, where I coordinated a volunteering programme. My role allowed me to implement knowledge gained from the course and gain skills including communications, project management and digital marketing. I was appointed to visit some of GlobalGiving's non-profit project partners in Uganda and furthered my understanding of programme implementation through local organisations. The placement year has not only provided me with invaluable skills and networks for my future career, but has aided me in my final year of studies.
Get credit towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements
You have the option to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) module – getting credit from paid/unpaid work, volunteering, research placements, internships and other work related learning, including self-employment. You'll have the freedom to arrange your own activities, and we'll support your achievements through workshops, events and tutorials.
What you'll study on this BA (Hons) International Development degree
Modules currently being studied
Core modules in this year include:
- Global Development – 20 credits
- International Development: Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP L4) – 0 credits
- Introduction to Development Studies: Policy & Practice – 20 credits
- Key Themes in International Relations – 20 credits
- Performing Like a Pro: Skills for Professional & Academic Success (ID) – 40 credits
- the Making of The Global South – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Economics and Politics of Development – 20 credits
- Global Environmental Issues and Concerns – 20 credits
- International Development: Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP L5) – 0 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Analysing Foreign Policy – 20 credits
- Development Economics L5 – 20 credits
- Development and Democracy in Latin America – 20 credits
- East Asian States and Societies – 20 credits
- Empire and its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
- Gender and Social Justice – 20 credits
- International Community Development – 20 credits
- Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
- Managing Across Cultures (FHEQ5) – 20 credits
- Modern Foreign Language – 20 credits
- Professional Experience L5 – 20 credits
- Russian and Eurasian Politics – 20 credits
- Study Abroad – 60 credits
Core modules in this year include:
- International Development: Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP L6) – 0 credits
- Rethinking Aid and Development – 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Africa Revisited: Nation Building and 'State Fragility' in Post-Colonial Africa – 20 credits
- China and East Asian Economies – 20 credits
- Dissertation (International Development) – 40 credits
- Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future – 20 credits
- Global Health – 20 credits
- Independent Project – 20 credits
- Learning from Experience – 20 credits
- Major Project – 40 credits
- NGOs and Social Movements – 20 credits
- Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits
- Professional Experience L6 – 20 credits
- Race, Rights and Development: Global Perspectives on Inequality and Social Justice – 20 credits
- Transitional Justice and Human Rights – 20 credits
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Not quite sure this course is right for you? Take a look at our other international development courses to compare your options.
- BA (Hons) International Development with Sociology – study International Development in depth and add Sociology as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3.
- BA (Hons) International Development and Languages – master French, Spanish or Chinese (Mandarin) to degree level, and choose a second language, while studying International Development.
- BA (Hons) International Relations with International Development – study International Relations in depth and add International Development as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3.
My course has taught me about environmental issues, gender inequality, community development practice and much more.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- case studies
- book reviews
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- one-on-one tutorials
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.
Teaching staff profiles
Ben is the Course Leader for BA International Development and BA International Development and Languages. His research interests are in exploring the role of culture within the political economy of development, leading to work on subjects including the relationship between culture and trade liberalisation, the work of international organisations such as UNESCO, the World Bank and WTO, and the political economy of knowledge and creativity.
He teaches on the following modules: Introduction to Development Studies: Policy & Practice; Economics and Politics of Development; Democratisation in Latin America; Democracy and Democratisation; Ethnicity, Class & Culture in the Developing World.
Professor Tamsin Bradley
Professor of International Development Studies
Tamsin is a social anthropologist who for nearly 20 years has conducted research into violence against women and girls in Asia and Africa. Her projects have explored intergenerational change and the practice of female genital mutilation in Sudan; art heritage and resilience in South Sudan; rape in India; violence and displacement in Nepal and Myanmar; and the link between women's economic engagement and violence in Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
She teaches the following modules: Gender and Development; Anthropology of Development, and International Community Development.
Hear Tamsin speak about her research on our podcast Life Solved: Voices against violence.
Dr Isabelle Cheng
Isabelle is a specialist in East Asian development and international relations. Her research focuses on labour and marriage migration in East Asia with reference to migrant spouses' political participation and workers' rights under the 'gest worker' system. She is also conducting research on the Cold War in East Asia, to understand how the impact of the Cold War trickled down to people's everyday lives, including through culture and heritage.
She currently serves on the Executive Board of the European Association of Taiwan Studies as Secretary-General. She is also a Research Associate of the Centre for Taiwan Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
Professor Andy Thorpe
Andy is Professor of Development Economics, and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Business and Law. He has worked on national development strategies and poverty reduction programmes for the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the United Nations. His publications include three books on the political economy of Central American agriculture and a widely-reported 2009 paper on enteric fermentation (‘cow burps’), which highlighted the extent of methane production of cattle.
He is interested in research that has a meaningful and positive impact on people’s lives. His research is primarily in the arena of fisheries, in particular the policy-making processes and reduction of poverty in the small-scale artisanal sector.
Dr Ottis Mubaiwa
Ottis is a Social Anthropologist who researches violence against women and girls, gender inclusion, social justice and the intersections of culture and development. Ottis has particular interest in harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and bride price. He teaches the following modules: Gender and Development, International Community Development and Global Health.
Dr Lana Chikhungu
Lana leads on MSc International Development and teaches on the modules Theory and Practice of Development, Applied Research Methods for Development and Population Health and Development. Lana has experience working with the Malawi Ministry of Finance and brings expertise in areas relating to child, maternal and reproductive health as well as socio-economic development policy issues related to poverty alleviation in developing countries.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.
We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons International Development degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
Supporting your learning
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Types of support
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- Understanding and using assignment feedback
- Managing your time and workload
- Revision and exam techniques
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- Academic writing
- Note taking
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Working in groups
- Revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.
You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.
If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.
They'll help you to:
- discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
- liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
- access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
- liaise with external services
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £16,200 per year (subject to annual increase)
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.
If you do any placements outside of the EU/EEA, you’ll need to cover the travel costs. These costs are usually around £1000. You’ll also need to cover the living costs, which will vary depending on the duration and location of the placement.
You’ll also need to meet any additional tuition costs for units of study you take outside of your agreed study abroad programme. This normally costs around £200.
If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
How to apply
To start this course in 2023, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – L902
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.
Preparing for this degree
You can prepare for this degree by staying informed about current working practices and issues affecting the sector.
- The Guardian's Global Development page is an excellent and widely respected resource that is updated daily with the latest stories, as well as containing access to podcasts, opinion and comment pieces. It's good to get into the habit of checking in there regularly to keep up to date and stay informed with what's going on in the world of international development.
- United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform. This is the official resource for monitoring progress towards the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). You can explore this site to familiarise yourself with the various SDGs and the work that is underway around the world to try to reach them. Familiarising yourself with this will be useful for work that you are asked to do in your first year.
- Third World Network. Website of the Third World Network (TWN), an independent non-profit international research and advocacy organisation involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South affairs.
If you are keen to get reading over the summer before you arrive, there are a couple of recommended books below. Both of these are also useful companions to your first year of study on the International Development programme – and beyond. You will be able to access both of these from the university library when you arrive (either in hardcopy or as electronic e-books), but if you were looking to invest in some summer reading to give yourself a bit of a headstart then either or both of these would be a good investment. I regularly dip into these books for my own teaching and research.
Jason Hickel (2018), The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions.
This book tackles some of the biggest questions in the world today: what are the causes of global poverty and hunger, and how can they be overcome? The author challenges conventional wisdom on these issues and lays out a sophisticated and inspiring account, written in an accessible style.
Paul Hopper (2018), Understanding Development (2nd Edition).
Compared to Hickel's book above, this is more of a "text-book" type book, which contains a number of very accessible, introductory chapters on thematic areas such as aid and development, health and development, education and development, etc. It is an excellent textbook that equips you with key foundational knowledge in the field of international development, and is required reading in your first year.