BA International Development
In this Section:
This course gives you an insight into the challenges of global development. It explores how the competing challenges of inequality, poverty reduction, economic growth and social development are negotiated and contested, and the ways in which people and institutions respond to these challenges.
Core modules introduce you to key issues such as the impact of colonialism, how different agencies contribute to development and how development operates in practice. You’ll also be able to choose from optional modules in your final year, allowing you to specialise in the regions, countries and themes that excite you most – and even spend a semester studying in Hong Kong, Turkey or Ghana to gain a new insight into development.
It’s an absorbing programme offering critical analyses of why and how the experiences of people and countries in the Global South are inextricably linked to developments in the Global North.
Research and practice
Our International Development teaching team is comprised of academics who are leaders in their fields. Many have advised national governments, NGOs and transnational organisations in their specialist areas, and all have experience of living, researching and conducting fieldwork in the Global South. Our real-world academic, practitioner and policy-making perspectives will provide you with insights into the major political, economic, social and cultural issues affecting people in the Global South and how these experiences link with political, economic and social change in the Global North.
This course also has strong connections to active research centres across the University that are involved in teaching, researching and debating international development topics. You’ll have the chance to get engaged with units such as the Centre for Global Development (CGD) and the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS).
Each stage of the degree involves core modules that enhance your knowledge of development challenges and their perceived causes; enrich your understanding of theories of development and Southern responses to underdevelopment; and build the hands-on skills you'll need in the professional workplace. You’ll also be able to choose discovery modules from complementary subject areas.
Year 1 equips you with the skills you’ll need to study and research international development. You’ll begin to consider the causes and factors that have influenced modern development challenges, examining the effects of colonialism and the legacy of colonial rule across the Americas, Africa and Asia. You’ll also put your development knowledge into the context of political theory and international politics.
A further core module provides key insights into global development challenges and how these might be tackled. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between economic, social and political factors that shape development processes. This includes exploring, for instance, how global-level commitments to promote socially just development, such as ‘Education for All’ (EFA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), align with dominant economic development priorities, and the ways in which these different ideas are taken up in a diversity of regions and countries.
Building on this foundation, core modules in Year 2 will allow you to explore the theoretical debates that underpin international development. You’ll also see how theory translates to real-world situations, as you examine aspects of development practice and a wide range of development agencies. You’ll also improve your research skills and gain an understanding of the methods and techniques used to create new insights into the subject. Diverse optional modules will allow you to focus on related topics such as public policy, security studies and international relations.
If you choose to spend a semester abroad during this year, you’ll study modules at your host institution that replace some of those you would be expected to take in Leeds.
Much of your final year will be dedicated to your dissertation – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice, which allows you to demonstrate the interdisciplinary, critical and research skills you have gained. To complete your studies, you’ll choose up to three optional modules from a set related to international development, and you could choose up to two modules from across the School of Politics and International Studies, including topics such as US foreign policy and political psychology.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- Studying and Researching in POLIS 5 credits
- Comparative Politics 20 credits
- Global Development Challenges 20 credits
- Making of the Modern World 20 credits
- International Politics 20 credits
- Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas 20 credits
- British Politics 20 credits
- Contemporary Africas: Politics, Society and the Environment 20 credits
- Development Approaches 20 credits
- Development Practice 20 credits
- Approaches to Analysis 20 credits
- North-South Linkages 20 credits
- State and Politics in Africa 20 credits
- Theories of International Relations 20 credits
- Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century 20 credits
- British Central Government 20 credits
- Spin Doctors and Electioneering 20 credits
- Politics and Policy in the EU 20 credits
- Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia 20 credits
- Dissertation 40 credits
- International Development and Social Policy 20 credits
- Land, Fuel and Agriculture 20 credits
- The Politics of Aid 20 credits
- Gender and Violence 20 credits
- Violence and Reconciliation in Africa 20 credits
- American Foreign Policy 20 credits
- Politics of Islamism 20 credits
- Crisis Diplomacy: Coercion, Sanctions and the Use of Force in International Relations 20 credits
- Political Psychology: on Authority and Obedience 20 credits
- Feminist Challenges to Political Theory 20 credits
Broadening your academic horizons
At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.
Learning and teaching
We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain diverse skills. These will include seminars and workshops where you can discuss in more depth the topics set out in traditional lectures. We emphasize the importance of participation, presentation skills and group work.
The teaching structure varies depending on your level of study – for example, in Year 1 you might expect to have six or seven lectures and three or four seminars per week. However, independent study is also a vital element of the course, as it allows you to develop your research and critical skills while preparing for taught sessions.
You’ll also have a personal tutor – one of our academics – who will be on hand to offer you guidance and support on academic issues, such as module choices, as well as career and personal matters.
Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete projects based on essays and case studies, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs, project proposals or development agency reviews. In your final year you’ll also submit a 12,000 word dissertation.
This course will give you in-depth knowledge of debates, approaches, strategies, politics and programmes in the field of international development. It will also equip you with an understanding of project design and management in the international development context, as well as skills in research, analysis, using qualitative and quantitative data, communication and decision-making in complex situations.
Our course 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.
Our 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.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.
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.
This course offers you the opportunity to spend a semester studying at one of our partner universities in Ghana, Turkey or Hong Kong (as long as you achieve a minimum grade in Year 1). The modules you enrol on there count towards your degree, meaning you don’t have to catch up on the modules you would have otherwise taken in Leeds.
You could also get involved with volunteering and learn from local charitable organisations and NGOs to see first-hand the daily work and challenges that are part of running such organisations. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of another culture and gain a new perspective to inform the rest of your studies.
We offer this semester abroad independently of the University’s year-long study abroad programme, so you could still apply to extend your degree by a year and spend Year 3 overseas. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America.
Find out more about study abroad years at the Study Abroad website.
Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.
Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.