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SP50254: Foundations of international development for MRes

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: ES 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment Group A: Essay 1 (ES 10%)
  • Assessment Group A: Essay 2 (ES 90%)
  • Assessment Group C: Resubmission (ES 100%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Description: Aims:

* To provide a comprehensive introduction to the historical emergence and evolution of International Development as a project;
* To provide an in-depth and critical understanding of the core theoretical and disciplinary frameworks which underpin development thinking and practice in a cross-cultural perspective;
* To critically evaluate the different conceptualisations and meanings of international development as they have emerged historically;
* To critically examine the policy implications of the theories of international development for people and planet.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit students will have:
* Demonstrated critical understanding of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of international development;
* Demonstrated critical understanding of how different conceptualisations and meanings of international development bear on policy and practice;
* Demonstrated critical understanding of the dynamics interaction between historical processes and theoretical frameworks in contemporary development contexts.


* Ability to read and discuss critically key texts (Taught/Facilitated)
* Ability to integrate theory with discussion of practical cases (T/F/A)
* Ability to stimulate discussion within a seminar group (T/F)
* Cross-cultural and interpersonal sensitivity (T/F)
* Effective oral communication (e.g. seminar and group presentations) (T/F/A)
* Ability to select, summarise & synthesise written information from multiple sources (T/F/A)
* Ability to work in a team on a group project (T/F/A)
* Ability to understand how different methodological approaches shape understandings of development issues (T/F/A)
* Ability to produce effective written work to agreed specifications and deadlines (T/F/A)
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models (T/F/A)

The unit will cover the main issues, approaches and theories which constitute the project of international development, the different ways that these have been conceived and changes in the ways they have been understood over time. These include:
* Poverty
* State/Market/Civil Society
* Colonialism, Imperialism and Post-colonial Relations
* Inequalities and Social Development
* Environment and Natural Resources
* Violence, Conflict and Security.

Programme availability:

SP50254 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

SP50254 is available for Auditing on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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