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Mode of Study

Full-time by distance learning, Part-time by distance learning

Duration

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date

January 2023, September 2023, January 2024

Overview

Keep working toward a better world, and creating a vision of what a fairer, interconnected global community could be, with this interdisciplinary Master's in International Development.

The University of Portsmouth is ranked the number 1 modern university for research quality in Area Studies.

Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2021
Read more about our excellent research in Area Studies

You'll shape your existing passion and knowledge of the sector into the practical tools, strategies and techniques needed by organisations working in international development. You'll explore issues such as colonialism and globalisation, and tailor the course to your interests by choosing modules that focus on the sustainable development goal closest to your heart.

You'll be following a wholly-online distance learning programme, designed to give you control over the pace of your learning. All materials are available on demand as you study with us, with seminars organised around your availability rather than a rigid timetable.

You'll also be on a course that's popular with professionals in the field, so whether you're already working in international development or looking for a first role in the sector, you'll be in a position to build your network with fellow practitioners. 

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Combine sound theoretical learning and practical skills, from literature reviews to empirical research, in a Master's focused on building a fairer world 
  • Control your own study on a programme designed around distance learning, with your whole course available on-demand from day one
  • Engage with fellow students and practitioners through virtual learning tools, such as webinars and forums, and connect with expert lecturers in online video sessions
  • Take up placement opportunities to work with NGOs in countries such as Senegal or Uganda, and network with professionals in the field taking the course with you
  • Focus your research project on particular sustainable development goals, such as ending hunger, creating inclusive societies, promoting gender equality or building sustainable economic growth

Benefits of distance learning

  • Work from anywhere, at your own pace, in your own time – with interactive online learning materials hosted on our virtual learning environment, Moodle, and available 24/7 on any device – find out how distance learning works
  • Access to over 600,000 ebooks, 55,000 online journals, digital newspapers and a postal loan service from our University Library – see all library support for distance learners
  • Invitations to online forums where you can discuss your studies with other students and your lecturers
  • Access to all student support services via email, phone, online chat or video call

What you'll study on this MSc International Development Master's course

Full-time

On this MSc International Development, you'll study all 3 core modules, and choose 2 further modules from the options listed below.

    Core

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Undertake a critical analysis of different conceptions and definitions of development.
    • Critically evaluate the extent to which historic development trajectories have conditioned the political and economic orientation of contemporary regimes in the developing world.
    • Critically assess approaches by used practitioners in developing regions when undertaking development projects.
    • Compose written arguments citing supporting evidence in a clear, readable and well structured way.
    • Interact and network with a multi-disciplinary cohort of students to gain and share insights from others.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Assemble, manipulate and analyse large quantitative data sets and make useful interpretations from the analysis linking them to major global development issues.
    • Gain a critical awareness of existing large data sets that can be used to analyse trends and patterns on national and international issues.
    • Critically reflect and justify the use of specific qualitative research methods for collecting and analysing data.
    • Critically review literature taking into account the research methods that were employed in studies reported.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Critically engage with a chosen topic informed by the core and optional units.
    • Compose clear, detailed, and logical arguments.
    • Assemble information from a variety of sources, evaluate it critically and discriminate between useful and less useful information.
    • Formulate a systematic and methodologically sound research process through undertaking a literature review and empirical research.
    • Justify ethical considerations surrounding research carried out, where applicable.

    Explore this module

    Optional

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Develop in-depth understanding of how gender has emerged as a central lens in development planning, implementation and measurement.
    • Critically examine and apply contemporary approaches to gender mainstreaming.
    • Develop the capacity to critically evaluate through a gender lens the impact different development contexts.
    • Critically apply a range of social science techniques in assessing the gender dynamics across a range of case studies.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Critically engage with a range of different theoretical approaches to transitional justice at national, regional and international levels.
    • Critically discuss the appropriate combination of transitional justice mechanisms employed in the pursuit of truth, justice and reconciliation in selected contexts.
    • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of transitional justice mechanisms in recognising the dignity of victims, providing redress and acknowledgement of violations, and preventing such abuses from happening again.
    • Demonstrate the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research through the production of an annotated bibliography.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    Module information to be confirmed.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Undertake a critical analysis of different conceptions and definitions of development.
    • Evaluate the extent to which historic development trajectories have conditioned the political and economic orientation of contemporary regimes in the developing world.
    • Critically assess approaches used practioners in developing regions when undertaking development projects.
    • Compose written arguments citing supporting evidence in a clear, readable and well structured way.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Critically discuss the challenges facing education in a development context at a national, sub-national, or supra-national level.
    • Critically analyse the relationship between education systems and the social, political and economic contexts in which they operate.
    • Identify and evaluate key challenges for educators and practitioners in developing country contexts and suggest strategies and solutions.
    • Apply knowledge of education planning, project implementation, stakeholder engagement, and decision-making processes through a research-led report.
    • Demonstrate the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research through the production of an annotated bibliography.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Apply a multidisciplinary approach to the study of movement of people, capital, ideas and commodity.
    • Critically assess the impact of migration at a micro, mezzo and macro level and analyse the impact from individual, national and global perspectives.
    • Critically analyse concepts of human rights, human capital, and human security to policies and practices relating to migration.
    • Explore migrants' lived experiences through the intersectionality of gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality.

    Explore this module

    Part-time

    All modules in Year 1 are core. 

    Core

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Undertake a critical analysis of different conceptions and definitions of development.
    • Critically evaluate the extent to which historic development trajectories have conditioned the political and economic orientation of contemporary regimes in the developing world.
    • Critically assess approaches by used practitioners in developing regions when undertaking development projects.
    • Compose written arguments citing supporting evidence in a clear, readable and well structured way.
    • Interact and network with a multi-disciplinary cohort of students to gain and share insights from others.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Assemble, manipulate and analyse large quantitative data sets and make useful interpretations from the analysis linking them to major global development issues.
    • Gain a critical awareness of existing large data sets that can be used to analyse trends and patterns on national and international issues.
    • Critically reflect and justify the use of specific qualitative research methods for collecting and analysing data.
    • Critically review literature taking into account the research methods that were employed in studies reported.

    Explore this module

    In Year 2, you'll choose 2 optional modules to study alongside your dissertation. 

    Core

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Critically engage with a chosen topic informed by the core and optional units.
    • Compose clear, detailed, and logical arguments.
    • Assemble information from a variety of sources, evaluate it critically and discriminate between useful and less useful information.
    • Formulate a systematic and methodologically sound research process through undertaking a literature review and empirical research.
    • Justify ethical considerations surrounding research carried out, where applicable.

    Explore this module

    Optional modules

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Develop in-depth understanding of how gender has emerged as a central lens in development planning, implementation and measurement.
    • Critically examine and apply contemporary approaches to gender mainstreaming.
    • Develop the capacity to critically evaluate through a gender lens the impact different development contexts.
    • Critically apply a range of social science techniques in assessing the gender dynamics across a range of case studies.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Critically engage with a range of different theoretical approaches to transitional justice at national, regional and international levels.
    • Critically discuss the appropriate combination of transitional justice mechanisms employed in the pursuit of truth, justice and reconciliation in selected contexts.
    • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of transitional justice mechanisms in recognising the dignity of victims, providing redress and acknowledgement of violations, and preventing such abuses from happening again.
    • Demonstrate the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research through the production of an annotated bibliography.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    Module information to be confirmed.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Undertake a critical analysis of different conceptions and definitions of development.
    • Evaluate the extent to which historic development trajectories have conditioned the political and economic orientation of contemporary regimes in the developing world.
    • Critically assess approaches used practioners in developing regions when undertaking development projects.
    • Compose written arguments citing supporting evidence in a clear, readable and well structured way.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Critically discuss the challenges facing education in a development context at a national, sub-national, or supra-national level.
    • Critically analyse the relationship between education systems and the social, political and economic contexts in which they operate.
    • Identify and evaluate key challenges for educators and practitioners in developing country contexts and suggest strategies and solutions.
    • Apply knowledge of education planning, project implementation, stakeholder engagement, and decision-making processes through a research-led report.
    • Demonstrate the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research through the production of an annotated bibliography.

    Explore this module

    What you'll learn

    The learning outcomes of this module are:

    • Apply a multidisciplinary approach to the study of movement of people, capital, ideas and commodity.
    • Critically assess the impact of migration at a micro, mezzo and macro level and analyse the impact from individual, national and global perspectives.
    • Critically analyse concepts of human rights, human capital, and human security to policies and practices relating to migration.
    • Explore migrants' lived experiences through the intersectionality of gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality.

    Explore this module

    Changes to course content

    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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

    Careers and opportunities

    Careers this Master’s prepares you for

    You'll be enhancing your skills for roles in international development, whether that means working with a charitable organisation, NGO or, increasingly, a private sector partner in the field. As a graduate of this Master's, you'll be able to demonstrate your skills and commitment to the demanding employers in this competitive strand of international charity work. 

    You'll have built professional networks and the ability to identify career opportunities during your studies. Your lecturers, career advisors and peers can all offer advice and guidance about entering or progressing in your international development career. 

    You'll also be well placed for doctoral research in the field.  

    Graduates of this course have taken on roles such as:

    • Policy manager
    • Evaluation officer

    The new career is very rewarding. I'm working with UNICEF Thailand on an evaluation of its country programme and as well with another NGO with projects across Africa and the Middle East on gender and technology. Very fun and meaningful work. I feel like after now doing a lot of hands-on methodology building, research tool development, interviews and report writing, that I'd be great and ready to work towards a PhD.

    David Lefor, MSc International Development graduate

    Career planning

    During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

    Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

    You'll benefit from:

    • Networking events
    • 1-to-1 appointments  
    • CV and cover letter advice
    • Interview preparation and practice
    • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
    • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
    • Support starting your own business

    Learn more about your career support

    Placements and industry connections

    This Master's is popular with people working in the field, as it gives you instant access to a network of international development practitioners. Your lecturers are engaged in research and consultancy activity with NGOs, charities and other organisations in the sector, and you'll be well placed to apply for placement opportunities with local and global organisations while on this course. 

    Previous students have taken up placements with an NGO in Senegal, teaching English in Uganda with the Ashinago internship programme, or on the UN online volunteering programme. 

    How you'll spend your time

    We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

    We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

    It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

    Course structure

    This Master's degree will take:

    • 12 months (full-time study, September start)
    • 16 months (full-time study, January start)
    • 2 years (part-time study)

    You can expect to spend 25 hours each week studying this course, and you'll arrange your hours to suit yourself. Webinar sessions are arranged to suit students' needs, and are recorded for those who can't attend a session live. 

    Teaching

    Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

    You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

    Teaching methods

    Teaching on this course is entirely through distance learning. You'll get all course materials, readings, lectures notes and additional material through our virtual learning environment. 

    You'll be taught through:

    • webinars
    • discussion forums
    • one-on-one tutorials
    • lectures
    • skype meetings

    Assessment

    You'll be assessed through:

    • essays 
    • reports
    • policy briefs
    • discussion forums
    • data analysis project
    • social enterprise project

    You'll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark. This includes group discussions, peer review activities, and virtual seminars.

    You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

    Teaching staff

    These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course.

    Lana Clara Chikhungu Portrait

    Dr Lana Chikhungu

    Senior Lecturer

    Lana.Chikhungu@port.ac.uk

    School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

    PhD Supervisor

    Read more
    Tamsin Jane Bradley Portrait

    Media ready expert

    Professor Tamsin Bradley

    Professor of International Development Studies

    Tamsin.Bradley@port.ac.uk

    School of Area Studies History Politics and Literature

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

    PhD Supervisor

    Read more

    Term dates

    September start

    The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project / dissertation.

    January start

    Courses that start in January have the same amount of teaching as September-start courses, but they normally run over a longer time period.

    January-start courses normally run between 14–18 months, beginning in January and ending in the spring / summer of the following year. There are breaks at Christmas, Easter and in the summer. In the last few months you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

    See key dates

    Supporting your learning

    Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of 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 postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your Master's.

    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 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
    • Referencing
    • 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.

    If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

    Course costs and funding

    Tuition fees (January 2023 / September 2023 / January 2024 start)

    All fees are subject to annual increase.

    • Full-time: £8,500
    • Part-time: £4,250 per year
    • Full-time: £8,500
    • Part-time: £4,250 per year
    • Full-time: £8,500
    • Part-time: £4,250 per year

    University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

    Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

    You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

    Funding your studies

    Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

    If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

    If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

    Loans, scholarships and bursaries

    Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

    Explore funding

    Funding for international students

    Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

    international business students
    Discover your options

    Fees and funding for postgraduate taught courses

    Discover how you can fund your postgraduate studies at Portsmouth – including loans, scholarships and bursaries – and read our guidance on topics like how to budget, and how to get support if you're disabled or have dependents.

    Explore funding

    Additional 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. Additional costs could include:

    • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
    • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
    • General costs: Such as photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
    • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

    Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

    Entry requirements

    Eligibility

    This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

    January 2023 / September 2023 / January 2024 start

    • A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

    Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

    Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

    If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

    To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification. 

    • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

    You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

    • you have a UK degree
    • you have a degree from a majority English-speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
    • you are a national of a majority English-speaking country

    Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English-speaking countries will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

    If you do not 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.

    How to apply

    Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

    There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start dates in September and January, as long as there are places available. If you wait until your start month to apply, you may find that the course is full. 

    If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

    You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

    Extra information for international students

    If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

    You could 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.

    Ready to apply?

    Standard applications

    I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

    If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

    • a shorter application form to complete
    • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
    • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

    Learn more about fast track

    After you apply

    Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

    You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

    Learn more about how we assess your application.

    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.