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International Development MA

  • Level(s) of Study: Postgraduate taught
  • Start Date(s): September 2024
  • Duration: One year full-time; two years part-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


About the course

This course recognises that international development environments and related debates constantly evolve. It captures this dynamism in its multi-layered approach and it highlights the connections made between different disciplinary areas.

This course will introduce you to key concepts and issues related to international development. You will develop an understanding of the key structures, processes, institutions and relationships relevant to international development.

This will involve a critical analysis of the role and impact of major financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; the role of the United Nations, with particular emphasis on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; the role of MNCs, NGOs and civil society more generally.

You will also locate yourself within the context of processes of international development and reflect on how your actions, or inactions, help or hinder the promotion of global social justice and sustainability.

You will develop an insight into the manner in which wealth is generated and unevenly distributed and accumulated across the global economy and an awareness of how the twin agendas of social justice and sustainable development can be advanced.

International donor agencies’ logos showing support for a climate change adaptation project.

What you’ll study

This course is divided into modules, which are worth a number of credit points, and are separately taught and assessed. To pass the courses you will need to achieve 180 credit points. It employs a variety of assessment methods including a book review, essay, reflective diary and a dissertation.

International Development: Theories and Approaches (20 credit points)

This module serves as a theoretical introduction to the historical, political, and economic processes that have shaped patterns of international development. It critically considers ‘who gets what, when, where and how?’ with a focus on the causes and impact of underdevelopment in the Global South through a postcolonial lens. You will also explore alternative approaches that question neo-liberal economic policies and develop alternative visions and proposals for international development.

International Development and Environmental Breakdown (20 credit points)

In this module, you will take an in-depth look at international development's association and intersections with ecological issues such as climate change and the sixth mass extinction. You will critically reflect on capitalist development as a system oriented around boundless economic growth and material extraction and imaginatively engage with alternative visions for more socially inclusive and ecologically resilient modes of living and their applications to international development.

Intercultural communication (20 credit points)

In order to highlight the importance of cultural factors within international development, this module focuses on aspects of personal and community identities and how these can play a significant role in how development policies and practices are implemented and experienced.

Gender, Difference and International Development (20 credit points)

Despite gender issues having been increasingly mainstreamed in international development institutions there remain significant gender-based inequalities. This module considers the underlying causes and consequences of these inequalities and how these are being addressed.

You will learn to contextualize your intercultural knowledge, develop your own research and adopt a dialectical approach for an in-depth analysis of any cultural situation or context.

Research methods (20 credit points)

In this module, you will learn a range of practical skills for carrying out research in a global context. The primary goal is to prepare you to conduct independent research and equips you with the skills needed for completing your dissertation.

You will become familiar with a range of primary and secondary sources, as well as a variety of comparative and field-based research approaches.

International Development Work Placement (20 credit points)

This module addresses the concepts of planning, evaluating and reviewing professional development. Via a work-based placement, you will critically reflect upon the processes of professional development required for employment in the field of international development.

Dissertation (60 credit points)

This module allows you to undertake original and independent research on a chosen issue within International Development, and to produce a substantial piece of critical writing.

Following on from the Research Methods module, you will receive guidance in developing an effective and doable dissertation through research design and implementation, to analysis and writing.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Charles Abe

International Development

All the staff I came across were absolutely amazing. The course leader was beyond fantastic – he was kind, approachable, mature, and experienced. He understood how to deal with students, and make the course stress-free.

How you’re taught


Assessment on the course involves book reviews, consultancy reports, essays, reflective blog posts and a dissertation. There are no formal examinations.

You will also prepare an assessed dissertation proposal as part of the research training element of the degree.


Fieldtrips will allow you to learn away from the classroom and to engage with institutions and experts in the field of international development. This could include a visit to Geneva to engage with the major institutions based there, including the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization and the Office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Alternatively, a visit to Brussels could engage with the European Community’s Directorate General for Development and representatives from the governments of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn another new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Learning a new language can enhance your communication skills, enrich your experience when travelling abroad and boost your career prospects. Find out more about the University Language Programme.

Careers and employability

Career development

The course is designed to enhance your employability prospects by engagement with both conceptual dimensions and the practical aspects of the work based placement. Using our links with industry, you will have the opportunity to gain experience and vital contacts within a wide range of roles directly linked to international development.

Graduates have gone on to work in posts in local, regional and national governments, intergovernmental organisations (including the UN and EC), multinational corporations (MNCs) and a range of development related non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Several international alumni have returned to positions working within government departments of their home countries.

Campus and facilities

Find out more about our facilities at NTU

Entry requirements

  • A UK honours (minimum 2.2) degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent

Applications from candidates with non-standard entry qualifications will be considered on an individual basis if they can demonstrate relevant professional experience.

Recognition of Prior Learning

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

You will need the equivalent to:

  • A UK honours (minimum 2.2) degree in a relevant subject

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Postgraduate preparation courses (Pre-Masters)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Pre-Masters courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for September 2024  are to be confirmed

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. Please take a look at our postgraduates’ guide funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

* Please note that if you are considering a part-time route that runs over more than one year, the tuition fee stated is for Year One of study. The course fee for Year Two is subject to annual review.

Fees may be subject to change.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Tuition fees for September 2024 are to be confirmed

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your postgraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government.


We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

How to apply

Ready to join us?

Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow our step-by-step guide. You can apply for this course throughout the year. Most of our postgraduate and professional courses are popular and fill up quickly though, so apply as soon as you can.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates’ guide. Here you’ll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please contact us at Ask NTU or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Apply online through our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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