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International Development

Course overview

(MA) Master of Arts
International Development
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
MA L16424
A 2.2 Degree in any discipline with some evidence of quantitative ability.
IELTS overall score of 6.0, with a minimum score of 5.5 in all components

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 Options from list Optional 0 Optional Optional

Year 2 - 2020/21

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 EC981-7-FY Dissertation Compulsory 40 Optional Optional
02 Options from list Optional 0 Optional Optional

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide students with a comprehensive training in international development.

To develop in students a theoretical understanding of how to approach international development issues from different perspectives.

To provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to issues in international development.

To establish a critical awareness of the integration of theory, data, and analysis.

To provide students with an advanced understanding of the nature of the economic research process.

To provide students with the advanced knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to independent, self-directed research.

To prepare students for work as professional economists and for further academic study of economics.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Systematic understanding of the main principles and tools used in the field of international development.
A2 Knowledge of a range of applications and understanding of the key developments in international development (research-led-teaching)
A3 Understanding of the relationships between principles of international development and real world applications of those principles
A4 Awareness of the significance of alternative approaches to international development
A5 Knowledge of the methods used to analyse international development issues
Learning Methods: Outcomes A1-A5 are acquired through lectures, classes, and related coursework. Lectures are used to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner. Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in learning. Classes and preparation for lectures and classes, provide an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the modules. Preparation for assignments and for examinations aids students in developing this knowledge and understanding. Students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from lectures and classes by regularly consulting library materials relating to the course.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes A1-A5 are assessed throughout the modules comprising the degree by means of written examinations and coursework

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Logically analyse particular problems in international development and choose the most appropriate methods for their solution
B2 Exercise critical judgement in assessing different and competing theories and methods and appraising their merits
B3 Formulate a coherent argument
B4 Construct reasoned, informed and concise descriptions and assessments of ideas
Learning Methods: Skills B1-B4 are acquired and enhanced primarily through the work that students do for their modules, although lectures provide a means for teachers to demonstrate these skills through examples and applications.Student preparation involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of the relevant material including the relevant literature. Teachers provide feedback on student work through comment and discussion. In addition, teachers engage students outside the classroom through office hours, appointments, and email.
Assessment Methods: Skills B1-B4 are assessed throughout the modules comprising the degree by means of written examinations and coursework.

C: Practical skills

C1 Identify, select and gather information using relevant sources, including the library and online searches
C2 Organise ideas in a systematic and critical fashion
C3 Present and critically assess ideas and arguments coherently in writing
C4 Use and apply appropriate terminology and concepts
Learning Methods: Skills C1-C4 are acquired and enhanced primarily through the work that students do for their modules and for the MA Dissertation. Lectures also provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through examples and applications.
Assessment Methods: Skills C1-C4 are assessed throughout the modules comprising the degree by means of written examinations and coursework, including the MA dissertation. Skills C1 and C2 are also informally assessed by student's preparation for each module.

D: Key skills

D1 Ability to communicate in writing, using appropriate terminology and technical language
D2 Use appropriate IT facilities to i) produce word-processed coursework ii) Develop web-skills iii) Develop numerical skills using Excel and STATA softwares
D3 Use mathematical techniques to construct economic and financial models.
D4 Ability to apply logical reasoning to address issues in international development
D5 Capacity to work as part of a team
D6 Capacity to: (a) organise and implement a plan of independent study; (b) reflect on his or her own learning experience and adapt in response to feedback; and (c) recognise when he or she needs to learn more and appreciate the role of additional research
Learning Methods: Students are guided in acquiring skills D1-D6 through lectures, classes and individual advice from teachers. These skills are further developed as students pursue the learning activities associated with their modules and in the MA dissertation. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in classes for modules.
Assessment Methods: Skills D1-D6 are assessed throughout the modules comprising the degree by means of examinations and coursework, including the MA dissertation.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: