Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

MA Global Development and Africa

Women in rural Zomba, Malawi - photo courtesy of Dr Emma-Louise Anderson

This programme examines political, economic, and socio-cultural transformations in the Global South and interrogates the dynamics, challenges and opportunities confronting its societies – with a focus on key contemporary debates about Africa's politics, culture, society and sustainable development.

You’ll learn about the experiences and viewpoints of people and nations of the Global South regarding development issues, as well as the inter-relationships between global, national and local actors in contested strategies for development.

You’ll also review strategies, programmes and policies in development, including organisations and donors promoting development, and assess the progress made by different development actors towards key international development goals.

You’ll explore controversies at the centre of contemporary development challenges and analyse both the theories and realities of development, to understand the different approaches, practices and discourses involved.

MA Global Development has a close working relationship with the Global Development and Justice research group that aims to examine central debates within the field of global development from an interdisciplinary perspective.

The Global Development and Justice research group is also actively involved, amongst others, in the Centre for Global Development, a university-wide network that promotes cross-disciplinary approaches to the field, as well as the Leeds Centre of African Studies.


Core modules examine key issues surrounding global development, such as markets, inequality, democratisation, gender, health, education, human rights, conflict, violence and crime. You’ll also learn about various aspects of development practice, like the theoretical and analytical principles of Project Cycle Management. Additionally, you’ll hone your research and writing skills and then showcase them in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on a topic of your choice.

These modules will equip you to analyse, understand and discuss the major changes, problems and opportunities facing societies and people in the Global South. You’ll study some of the broader social, political, and economic causes of the problems, and the achievements and setbacks that people have experienced in their efforts to tackle them at the global, national and local levels and improve their societies and lives. You’ll learn to analyse, understand, and discuss development in the Global South in the 2010s in all its dynamism, complexity and significance.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you, including natural resources struggles, global health, gender and globalisation, education, international political economy or issues related to Africa and China.

If you are a part-time student, you can choose how to spread your studies across two years. However, we recommend that you at least take your compulsory modules in your first year, and you have to take the compulsory dissertation module in your second year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

As a full-time student, you’ll study three compulsory modules – including your dissertation. You’ll also choose a number of optional modules from a wide-ranging list.

Compulsory modulesOptional modules
- Global Inequalities
- Africa in the Contemporary World
- Global Development Dissertation
- Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance
- Democracy and Development
- Development Management Techniques
- Education in Development
- Gender, Globalisation and Development
- Global Justice
- Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity
- International Political Economy
- Political Economy of Resources and Development
- Research Methodology for Development
- The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- The Rise of China
- Chinese Politics
- China’s Development
- Religions and Global Development

Learning and teaching

Modules are conducted through a mix of lectures, seminars and workshops. Tutors also provide you with individual advice on written work and you should begin to develop expertise in improving your work through face to face discussion with your tutors, formative assessment and through detailed feedback. You’ll be expected to carry out a good deal of independent, detailed and considered study.

All part-time students attend exactly the same classes as full-time students which usually take place between 9am and 5pm; there are no evening classes.

Assessment

Each module is assessed separately, through assessments that range from long essays to projects and assignments, offering you the opportunity to work in your particular field of interest within each topic area. You will also carry out a dissertation into a research area of your choice.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a social science discipline, or an equivalent professional qualification.

Suitable degree subjects for this programme include development studies, sociology, social policy, geography, politics, area studies.

Applicants with a 2:2 and/or a degree in a non-relevant subject may be considered, taking into consideration full transcripts, references and any relevant work/voluntary experience.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Politics and International Studies admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Communication and Society (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Communication and Society (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadlines

UK/EU students: 31 July

International students: 30 June

Documents and information you’ll need

A copy of your degree certificate or equivalent, as well as a copy of the transcript of your grades (or partial transcript if you’re still studying) certified by the awarding institution

Two references

Evidence of your English language qualifications, if English isn’t your first language.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
 
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Selection principles

The School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) doesn’t typically interview applicants; however, in certain circumstances programme leaders may invite you to interview as part of the selection procedure. This may allow us to further assess your aptitude and interest in the programme if your circumstances are not straightforward. If invited to interview, you’ll receive an email invitation from the School to attend an interview on a specific date. We’ll do our best to accommodate requests for an alternative date but this cannot be guaranteed.

Admissions policy

School of Politics and International Studies Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy

Fees

UK/EU: £6,000

International: £15,000

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Scholarships and financial support

POLIS Scholarships

POLIS offers one full-fees and one partial-fees scholarship for UK/EU applicants wishing to study a full-time Masters.

For applicants who are nationals of China, Japan, Nigeria, India and South Korea and wishing to study a full-time Masters, POLIS offers up to five scholarships to the value of £3000.

Find out further details of the POLIS Excellence Scholarships schemes.

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.


Career opportunities

This programme is aimed at students who would like to pursue either a professional career or further research in international development and related fields, and generally have a desire to put their education into practice in the Global South.

You’ll gain a wide range of professional skills on top of your subject knowledge. You’ll have an understanding of project design and management in a development context, as well as being able to analyse quantitative and qualitative data. You’ll be able to construct clear arguments, critically assess different options for action, analyse policy documents, write research reports and give presentations. You’ll also be trained to make decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.

Our programme equips you for various career paths. Compatible careers include working in international development agencies, international organisations, governments, politics, NGOs, research organisations, policy making, companies, media, and academia.

Graduates have gone on to work in, for instance, non-governmental organisations in the UK or overseas, research and consultancy firms, international organisations (such as the UN), the Civil Service, the media, or have continued with further study (e.g. PhD research).

We encourage you to seek practical work experience in the international development field, and advise you on how to go about it.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


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