G-0319-Festival of Cultures; 20th March 2019

International Development BA (Hons)

Build skills, knowledge and experience relating to some of the major global challenges of our time. Study key dimensions of global development and co-operation.

University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:


Typical offer:

104-112 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
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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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2021

Read more about our excellent research in Area Studies

Course highlights

  • Your learning won’t be limited to the classroom – you'll have opportunities to work with development organisations in the UK or overseas
  • Gain on-the-ground experience of community development and protected area management on an optional field trip to Uganda
  • 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
  • Have the opportunity to do a work placement year with an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), such as the British Council, after your second or third year on this Connected Degree - we're the only UK university to offer flexible sandwich placements for undergraduates
  • 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
  • Be a diplomat for a day at our Model United Nations event, in collaboration with fellow students from International Development and International Relations
  • Have the chance to learn a new language for free, enhancing your employability in an international workplace. Choose from Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish


of graduates in work or further study

(HESA graduate outcomes survey 2020/21)

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) International Development degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBC-BCC
  • UCAS points - 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find 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.

See alternative English language qualifications

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.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

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
  • teacher

Graduate destinations

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 of International Development
  • Shelterbox
  • British Chamber of Commerce
  • Universal Music Group
Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Placement year opportunities

After your second or third 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
  • GlobalGiving
  • Freedom from Torture
  • SEK International Schools
  • TearFund
  • Catholic Agency For Overseas Development

You could also choose to set up your own business, or take a voluntary placement.

Humanities; Graduation; July 2019

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.

Samuel Bladen-Hovell, Otra Cosa Network, Peru and British Council (Spain) placement student, BA (Hons) International Development

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.

Catherine O’Gorman, International Development student

Internship opportunities

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 opportunities

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.

Rebecca Rees, International Development student

14/05/2021.University of Portsmouth - B Roll - Day Two..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

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

Core modules in this year include:

  • Global Development – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Development Studies: Policy and Practice – 20 credits
  • Key Themes in International Relations – 20 credits
  • Professional Practice: Skills for Academic and Professional 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

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Foreign Policy – 20 credits
  • Development and Democracy in Latin America – 20 credits
  • Development Economics L5 – 20 credits
  • East Asian States and Societies – 20 credits
  • Empire and its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
  • Engaged Citizenship in Humanities and Social Sciences - 20 credits
  • Gender and Social Justice – 20 credits
  • Global Security - 20 credits
  • Intercultural Perspectives on Communication - 20 credits
  • Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
  • Managing Across Cultures (FHEQ5) – 20 credits
  • Marketing and Communication - 20 credits
  • Modern Foreign Language – 20 credits
  • Modernity and Globalisation - 20 credits
  • Nationalism and Migration: Chaos, Crisis and the Everyday - 20 credits
  • News, Discourse and Media - 20 credits
  • Principles of Economic Crime Investigation - 20 credits
  • Professional Experience L5 – 20 credits
  • Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship - 20 credits
  • Space, Place and Being - 20 credits
  • Transitional Justice and Human Rights - 20 credits
  • Wildlife Crime: Threats and Response - 20 credits

Core modules in this year include:

  • Dissertation / Major Project - 40 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
  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future – 20 credits
  • Global Health – 20 credits
  • Independent Project – 20 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
  • Religion and Politics in Global Perspective - 20 credits

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year after your second or third year to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

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.

Optional pathways

Not quite sure this course is right for you? Take a look at our other international development courses to compare your options.

My course has taught me about environmental issues, gender inequality, community development practice and much more.

Alexander Sykes, BA Hons International Development student

How you're assessed

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 15% by exams and 85% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 5% by exams, 95% by coursework and 0% by other means
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 4 students: 100% by coursework

Your coursework may include:

  • case studies
  • projects
  • presentations
  • book reviews
  • assignments

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:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • 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 

Benjamin James Garner Portrait

Dr Ben Garner

Senior Lecturer


School of Area Studies, Sociology, 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


School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics, and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Andrew Timothy Thorpe Portrait

Media ready expert

Professor Andy Thorpe

Professor of Development Economics

Interim Associate PVC (Research, Innovation and External Relations)


Economics and Finance

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Lana Clara Chikhungu Portrait

Dr Lana Chikhungu

Senior Lecturer

UoA Coordinator (Area Studies)


School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics, and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more

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 use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

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.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

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 meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support 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)
  • 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

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

  • 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 – £17,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

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.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

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.

You'll need to pay additional costs anywhere between £50–£1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence if you take a placement abroad.

The amount you'll pay will vary, depending on the location and length of your stay. It will also depend on additional funding the UK Government makes available after Brexit and if the UK remains part of the Erasmus+ student mobility programme or not.

During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, tuition fees for that year are:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L902
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS


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.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in 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

  • 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.