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.

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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
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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

Why study international development at Portsmouth?

Hear from our students and staff about our courses in international development, on which you can explore topics such as global health, gender inequality, cultural diversity, indigeneity, and development economics. As well as learning about societies and cultures around the world, you can also combine your studies with learning a language.

Isabelle Cockel: This is a course where we can know the world better.

Ben Garner: International Development at the University of Portsmouth, it's a very interdisciplinary programme that reflects the real area studies expertise of the staff here.

Isabelle Cockel: My colleagues and I have our own regional expertise. Some colleagues specialise in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, Central Asia and Europe.

Lana Chikhungu: I think the course at Portsmouth is special. Most of the students that actually come to do the course do have that caring aspect of wanting to serve the world.

Isabelle Cockel: Each part of the region has their own particular issues.

Ben Garner: Things like global health, gender inequality, cultural diversity, indigeneity, indigenous rights, racial inequality, development economics. It's an opportunity as well to learn about societies and cultures from different parts of the world and perhaps to combine that with a study of a language too.

Isabelle Cockel: The languages that students could take together with a degree are Chinese, French and Spanish.

Ben Garner: Having those extra languages means that students are more employable. It opens doors for them in the future in terms of travel, it enriches their time at university and potentially enriches their life in the future.

Millie Rose: I saw the course and I really liked the themes that were in each module and the different variety of modules. I also really like the fact that you had the option to do a year abroad.

Giulia: I went to my placement for my language in Taiwan. One of the things that I actually learned from this experience was living and getting adapted to new, different cultures.

Lana Chikhungu: With a placement year, obviously you have the skills of learning the language even further, but also having some work experience.

Giulia: It was a different opportunity that you can’t experience day by day.

Ben Garner: Students have gone on to work in a real range of roles after graduation.

Isabelle Cockel: They could become a journalist.

Ben Garner: Working for international non-governmental organisations.

Isabelle Cockel: They can become a diplomat.

Ben Garner: Students have gone on to postgraduate study.

Millie Rose: I am currently working as a support worker for a youth transition programme based in southern Mexico. 

Isabelle Cockel: They can find work in their home country or they can go and work in other countries because this kind of knowledge is vitally needed now.

Jo De Serrano OBE: University of Portsmouth has always got a place in my heart. I had a great time there. The skills I learnt totally stood me in good stead for a future career. The course had great teachers and I'm in contact with them still. They really brought it to life for me.

Millie Rose: I really like the forward thinking nature of the university.

Giulia: Not many universities have this course and it was amazing.

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 15 months after this course

(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2021/22)

Top 30

for student satisfaction

(Times Higher Education, 2024)

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

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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.

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 or GCSEs - 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.

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.

Worried about your grades?

If you're not sure you meet the entry requirements, or need some help to get uni-ready, then we offer this course with a foundation year to bring you up to speed. When you successfully finish, you'll get a guaranteed place on this course.

Explore BA (Hons) International Development with Foundation Year

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

Foundation year

If you're not sure you meet the entry requirements, or need some help to get uni-ready, then we offer this course with a foundation year to bring you up to speed.

  • You'll study on the University of Portsmouth campus with access to all facilities, support and societies
  • When you finish your foundation year successfully, you get a guaranteed place on BA (Hons) International Development
  • Get used to how lectures, seminars and tutorials work, so you can move on to your degree ready for success
  • Learn how to meet the demands of taking on a bachelor's degree at university

Explore BA (Hons) International Development with Foundation Year

Core modules

You'll hone your abilities in writing, analytical thinking, research, public speaking and networking alongside your fellow students and supported by your personal tutor, alumni and experts in your field.

You'll develop an awareness of conceptual frameworks and methodologies, and learn how to find and analyse sources and data to support your ideas.

You'll study the changing relationships between the different organisations involved in international aid and development, including multilateral and bilateral development organisations and nongovernmental actors.

You'll also look at trends in development thinking and place development within the wider context of global capitalism.

You'll begin to explore key themes, such as the making of the modern world, war and peace, security, diplomacy, sovereignty, climate change and development, as well as the various ways to conceptualise and analyse these issues.

By the end of the module, you'll have developed a critical understanding of International Relations, gained insights into the historical foundations of the modern world, and engaged with a range of contemporary global issues.

This comprehensive introduction prepares you for further studies and encourages you to question and analyse the complex dynamics of world politics.

You'll explore ideas of human nature, the relationship between individuals and societies, the authority of the state, duties and rights, liberty and freedom, social justice, ethics, war and political violence.

By looking at the ideas of both historical and contemporary thinkers, you'll develop knowledge and understanding of the social and political contexts within which these ideas were developed as well as how they continue to inform our thinking about central issues in politics and international relations today.

On this module, you'll discover how this 'Global South' came to be, building on different disciplinary approaches.

You'll look issues that affect a range of regions and countries including Africa, South East and South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well development related challenges making an impact in the Global North, such as social movements, political violence and terrorism, social cohesion, discrimination and racism.

Core modules

Through a social justice lens, you'll learn how climate change impacts communities unequally and how activists are campaigning for climate justice.

Gain insight into indigenous perspectives and voices from the Global South to understand how climate discourse has traditionally-centered western worldviews.

Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to create positive change, from policy recommendations to grassroots campaigns.

You'll assess the strategic control of space and resources alongside economic competition, and examine Africa's rich potential alongside its enduring struggles, from human security to gender equity and beyond.

You'll develop a nuanced understanding of the continent as a crucial nexus of cooperation and conflict between foreign interests.

Optional modules

You'll learn diverse perspectives on formulating and presenting policy, taking into account key variables like leadership, security, and global dynamics.

You'll deploy theories to critically analyse major decisions and their outcomes, strengthening your understanding through case studies of milestone events.

You'll also debate and discuss how policy intersects with national interests and global security, and build skills to explain and evaluate policies coherently.

You’ll begin by exploring how countries like Argentina, Chile and Brazil transitioned from military dictatorships to democracies towards the end of the 20th century.

You’ll also learn about the dramatic public protests and negotiations that eventually toppled these dictatorships in the late 20th century as part of the "Third Wave" of democratisation.

However, installing democratic systems has not been easy - you’ll also analyse the political, economic and social challenges that societies across the region are grappling with in the 21st century. To what extent have the region's new democracies been able to challenge deep seated inequalities in class, gender and race/ethnicity? And what do ordinary people think about development and democracy across the region?

You’ll explore ideas around modernisation, colonialism and nationalism and how they shape education, gender roles, ethnicity, class, sexuality and everyday life in this part of the world.

By comparing the experiences of different countries when it comes to industrialisation, democratisation and conflict, you’ll learn how to appreciate complex regional dynamics.

In this module, you’ll explore European colonisation of Africa, asking questions like - how did they justify colonial rule, and how did African peoples respond to these colonisers?

You’ll learn how, after World War II, colonial rule was increasingly challenged from both within the empire, by growing African demands for political rights, and in the international arena, with the global trend towards trusteeship, development and self-determination.

You’ll also explore European relations with Africa in the post-colonial era, looking at themes which may include ideas about civilisation, universalism and race, modern attempts to 'rehabilitate' empire in the media, and the legacies of colonialism in Britain, Europe and Africa.

You’ll collaborate with students on other courses to explore and address societal and environmental challenges faced by local and global communities. You’ll choose projects from a range of topic areas aligned with the university's Civic Strategy.

With input from local organisations, you’ll think about your topic from multiple perspectives, developing your interdisciplinary thinking and ability to work with others.

You’ll analyse the essence of security, exploring how security needs are addressed around the world and on a national level, down to a community and even an individual basis.

You’ll explore different forms of societal risk and insecurity, and approaches to dealing with security threats, taking into account the nature and impact of economic and political developments.

You'll learn how to think critically about the key concepts that link language, culture and communication, considering the benefits and limitations of these ideas.

You'll explore the different ways in which communication intersects with culture across themes such as identity, education, gender, and the media.

Alongside what you learn, you'll improve your skills in analysis, research and intercultural awareness.

You'll learn about consumer behaviour and brand strategy, and spend time examining real-world marketing campaigns. You'll also think about how social, political and technological forces can affect the way businesses approach marketing their products and services.

Skills you'll develop include carrying out market research and learning how to use what you learn, crafting targeted messaging across different marketing channels, and presenting your ideas verbally and in writing.

You'll learn about major economic, political and cultural changes in Western Europe over the nineteenth century, and how these affected the rest of the world as time went on.

You'll explore the big ideas that have shaped the modern world, and weigh up the benefits and perils of globalisation. Skills you'll develop on this module include independent research, critical thinking and effective communication.

You'll also learn to understand the opportunities and challenges of today's world from an informed, global perspective.

You’ll look critically ideas of nationalism historically and today with a focus on the everyday, intimate and embodied boundaries of nation-states and how these shape our lives, including those of us living in the most privileged parts of the world.

You’ll explore real-world cases to understand the individual and societal impacts on human lives, developing your analytical skills and imagining more compassionate alternatives.

You’ll unpack the language of tabloids, broadsheets and online news, analysing how journalists shape public understanding of current events.

Develop your critical thinking by confronting moral panics and polarised politics in reporting.

Create your own news stories and gain real insight into mass communication in a rapidly changing landscape.

You'll analyse major cases of economic crime and weigh up their wider societal implications.

You'll also learn how to recognise disciplinary perspectives, become familiar with the key investigating organisations, identify investigative techniques, and gather and analyse real case information.

You’ll analyse American texts against the backdrop of intellectual, social and political change, evaluating how writers grappled with emerging ideas around national identity, race, gender and more.

By honing skills for contextual analysis and independent thought, you’ll form your own interpretations of iconic works that reflect the American experience.

You’ll analyse diverse transitional justice approaches balancing community healing and judicial accountability after mass atrocities.

Comparing mechanisms like war crimes tribunals, truth commissions and reparations programmes, you’ll evaluate effectiveness in restoring dignity and preventing recurrence.

With case studies from Europe to Africa, from Latin America to Asia, you'll examine tensions between western models and local cultural perspectives, assessing what ‘justice’ means to vulnerable peoples.

Throughout, you'll trace incremental human rights legislation advances, assessing global institutions’ roles protecting civilians from authoritarian regimes and wartime abuses.

Through interactive lectures with academics, speakers and professionals, you'll discuss, debate and complete practical exercises exploring wildlife crime alongside your classmates.

You'll spend time examining wildlife crimes and the factors behind them, as well as environmental justice and sustainability.

You'll investigate how specific gender ideologies have shaped global and national policies in relation to a range of key areas including reproductive rights, violence against women, the environment and sustainable livelihoods.

Apply cultural theories in real business scenarios through group projects and develop your communication skills with a global mindset via vibrant discussions.

This module will equip you with cultural awareness, analytical abilities and presentation skills to thrive.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you’ll apply what you’ve learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You’ll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

Through real-world case studies and hands-on placements, you'll apply the principles of community empowerment and social justice to support vulnerable groups. Working directly with organisations, you'll develop tangible skills in research, enterprise planning and sustainability strategies to create positive community impact. With support, you'll even devise your own social enterprise plan - learning what it takes to transform innovative ideas into reality.

Core modules

You'll evaluate if the aid and development business is a continuation of a colonial relationship between the Global North and the Global South, and whether the aid and development system, as it exists today, is involved in the continuation of poverty and dependency.

You'll explore alternative approaches to economic development and the associated challenges through topics on trade in the developing world, social enterprise, and Buen Vivir, reflecting on humanitarianism and critical race theories for aid and development.

Optional modules

It's up to you what your dissertation or project is about - this will be your chance to showcase your passion for international development by choosing a subject area or topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you've learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your dissertation or project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them context.

You'll have the support of a dedicated dissertation tutor to guide you throughout this module.

This real-world, project-based module lets you address an identified need or gap by designing an innovative product, service or resource.

With support from university staff and external partners, you'll demonstrate critical thinking, ethical awareness and project management abilities.

Your final project and presentation will showcase your employability and capacity for high-impact solutions.

You'll tackle questions such as, what is capitalism and in whose interests does it work? Do some models of capitalism work better than others? Can we reconcile capitalist modes of production and consumption with protecting our environment?

Examine relevant political economy theory and open up debates about power, multinational capital, gender, identity and climate crisis.

You'll investigate grassroots campaigners alongside major international NGOs - evaluating their tactics, contributions and accountability.

By probing the relationships between volunteer networks, businesses and government, you'll develop new ideas on what can and cannot be achieved by public advocacy. Do civil society organisations challenge or reinforce the prevailing world order?

You'll learn about the job application process from the perspective of both candidates and recruiters, thinking about what employers look for in graduates and how you can optimise your own professional profile.

Through mock interviews and assessments, you'll hone your skills and learn how to communicate your achievements and career goals, ready to take the next step after you graduate.

You'll critically examine the concepts of ethnicity, race and culture historically and theoretically, using regional case studies from Latin America, Africa and those of indigenous peoples.

You'll consider these regional case studies alongside recent developments at the international level regarding cultural and indigenous rights and struggles around racial inequality and violence.

You'll complete the module with a major project on a region of the world of your choice.

You'll gain critical insight into the colonial foundations shaping today's world politics, from notions of human rights to capitalism itself.

Explore how legacies of colonisation manifest in different ways, across development to democracy.

Equip yourself to rethink Eurocentric perspectives and address systemic inequities in international relations.

You'll analyse how history, geography, culture, economics and politics converge to impact wellbeing in specific countries and worldwide.

You'll weigh up interventions on issues from malnutrition to maternal mortality, and consider how ethical, evidence-based recommendations can advance health equity, drawing on statistics and on-the-ground experiences.

It's up to you what your project is about - this will be your chance to showcase your passion for international development by choosing a subject area or topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you've learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them context.

You'll have the support of a dedicated tutor to guide you throughout this module.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you'll apply what you've learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You'll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

You'll evaluate diverse cases of religion intertwining with critical issues like nationalism, peacebuilding, violence and more.

Discussing the perspectives of policymakers to extremists, you'll tackle intriguing questions head on.

How do religious ideas still drive political agendas worldwide? How does faith unite communities yet fuel divisions? And could rediscovering religion's role in human life hold keys to solving global problems?

Optional modules

Work Placement Year or Study Year Abroad

Boost your employability by taking an industry-based work placement year or immerse yourself in another culture by studying for a year at one of our partner universities worldwide.

This is an amazing opportunity to either put everything you’ve learned so far into action in a real workplace in the UK or overseas, or to expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad.

If you choose a work placement year, we’ll help you find and secure an exciting placement opportunity within an appropriate company or organisation. You’ll have the chance to try out skills and gain experience that’ll help you clarify your next career steps, while building capabilities employers seek. 

If you choose to study abroad, you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career, as well as making memories, new friends and career contacts.

This is a Connected Degree

We're the only university that gives you the flexibility to choose when to take a work placement. Take it after your second year, before returning to finish your studies. Or after your final year, connecting you into the workplace.

If you're not sure if or when to take your placement, don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your studies and explore your options before making your choice. 

Find out more about Connected Degrees

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
Lana Clara Chikhungu Portrait

Dr Lana Chikhungu

UoA Coordinator (Area Studies)

Senior Lecturer


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)

  • 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

Apply now through Clearing

If you have your results, you can apply directly to us now to start in September 2024.

Apply now

Applying for year 2 or 3

If you've already completed part of this course with us or another university and would like to apply for the second or third year with us in September 2024, use our online application form.

September 2025 applications

To start this course in 2025, 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.

Looking for this course with a foundation year?

Take a look at BA (Hons) International Development with Foundation Year

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.

Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074