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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Programme Structure

The PG Certificate comprises three courses, each worth 20 credits. Students must satisfactorily complete all three prescribed courses in order to complete the 60-credit Certificate. This Certificate can be taken as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) or as one of the three Certificates for the MSc Degree in Global Challenges.


Global Development Challenges (core course)

Semester 1: September - December

Globalisation, rapid technological change and constantly changing political and economic systems are linking the world together in hitherto unimagined ways. These new connections are both symptomatic of and drivers of emerging global challenges. Environmental change, climatic change, new health challenges, clashing beliefs and concurrent economic overconsumption and stagnation all point to the need for new ways of thinking about governance, priority setting and meaningful ways to affect change.

This course examines these global challenges and their implications for institutional decision-making and for society. Students in the course build skills analysing complex development issues in context and gain familiarity with concepts while debating policy options and constraints in global governance processes. Some of the key themes include inequality and poverty, conflict and social vulnerability, globalisation, human rights and national and global governance. Case studies in the course draw upon experiences in Africa, Asia and South America. The interdisciplinary nature of this course enables students to engage critically with the complex social, institutional and economic contexts in which governance takes place as well as apply that understanding to thinking about key global issues that face us today and in the future. 

Politics and Theories of International Development

Semester 1: September - December

This course examines the politics and theories of international development by analysing the dominant and alternative social theories that seek to explain development outcomes and the actors and institutions involved. Students in this course gain familiarity with the major cultural, economic and political theories of overdevelopment and underdevelopment and the debates about these concepts internationally as well as related theories on modernisation and dependency.

Much of the focus in this course is on Africa but the examples have wider resonance throughout the developing world. The course enables students to analyse development from multiple points of view, promoting an understanding of the diversity and complexity of interactions amongst political, economic and social factors. By the end of the course, students are able to demonstrate knowledge of transformation in development policy paradigms over the course of recent decades and assess the local impacts of particular macro approaches to development in recent years.

Analysing Development

Semester 2: January - March

Development aid has played and continues to play a significant role in addressing humanitarian emergencies, funding social services, stimulating economic change and supporting the work of non-governmental actors. Yet it can have perverse effects, putting recipient states in a situation of dependency vis-à-vis their international sponsors, undermining public services while seeking to strengthen them, and even fuelling economic crises and political turmoil. This course provides a practical overview of international development assistance, and equips students with the knowledge and tools to critically assess the social and political effects of aid and the way aid policy is made and executed. Students reflect on a variety of case studies that are discussed in the lectures and the readings, and students also have the opportunity to bring in particular case studies that they wish to add and examine.

By the end of the course students will have gained familiarity with the major trends in development aid and the rationales behind aid. Students also will have learned how to engage critically with the complex social, political and economic contexts in which aid programmes are designed and delivered, and draw insights from experiences of local organisations working on the ground. Through a series of case studies that highlight debates concerning NGOs, aid agencies, governments, the private sector, United Nations organisations and other institutions internationally, students gain experience in the analysis of aid policy documents and strategies.

Students must take Global Development Challenges as the first course. Students may decide to take the PTID course in the same semester as the Global Development Challenges course. However, if also in full time employment, they may wish to take the PTID course at the start of the subsequent academic year.

Programme code for 12 month registration - PTPGCGLDEV1P
Programme code for 24 month registration - PTPGCGLDEV2P




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