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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Analysing Development (Distance Learning) (PGSP11319)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAid is a specific instrument within international relations, employed in the achievement of both moral and strategic objectives by a range of international actors. For many countries in the developing world, aid has played and continues to play a crucial role in dealing with humanitarian emergencies, funding social services, stimulating economic development, 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 and undermining public services while seeking to strengthen them. In some situations, aid has fuelled economic crises and political turmoil. This course provides both 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. We will explore the main rationales and theories for providing aid, the major themes in aid of the last two decades and contemporary debates. The course will have a strong focus on aid policy and strategies, drawing heavily on grey literature produced by aid agencies (OECD, international financial institutions, major bilateral donors, the European Union) and large NGOs. The course is suitable for students interested in future employment within aid agencies, international NGOs or developing countries, as well as professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge of aid policy and practice.
Course description International Development is a practice as much as a theory. How development is understood and practised, both by organisations and individuals, depends upon the frameworks constructed to explain and legitimise particular goals, methodologies and values. This course investigates what development means to different actors and how this affects the impacts development programming can have on the communities who experience development. Assessing particular organisational approaches to development from the United Nations to donor states to local NGOs and sector-specific focuses from humanitarian aid to businesses and private actors this course will survey the particular constraints and challenges faced in negotiating the bureaucracies of institutional development, and provide you with a clear understanding of how social science can help to scrutinise the construction and evolution of development perspectives from within.

By the end of the course students will have gained familiarity with the major trends in development aid and the rationales behind it. They will have an understanding of important past and contemporary debates in development aid, and will have learned how to engage critically with the complex social, political and economic contexts in which aid programmes are designed and delivered. Students will gain experience in the analysis of aid policy documents and strategies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  69
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 70% of the course assessment will be based on a final essay (3000 words)

Contributions to online discussion forums and reflections:

20% of the course assessment will be based on a portfolio of two online activities. Activities that can count towards the portfolio selection will be indicated on Learn.

10% based on participation in weekly discussion forum.
Feedback Students receive feedback on an optional essay plan within 10 days of submission. Students are required to reflect upon their feedback in order to improve their final coursework. Students also have the opportunity to discuss their ideas in a group seminar session prior to the final submission date for their summative assessment.

There may be some overlap in the issues that you focus on in the various courses, so you should pay careful attention to the topics you select. It is important that you do not duplicate your work. Students will have the opportunity to come up with their own essay topics in some cases; essays on self-selected topics need to be previously agreed with the Course Organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the work and actions of some of the key 'players' in international development and international aid.
  2. Apply the analytical toolbox gained in the course (knowledge, skills, and understanding) to academic and day-to-day engagement with research and news about international development. Be able to de-construct international development 'myths'.
  3. Critically analyse, synthesize, and evaluate assessments international actors make of their actions, programmes, and projects.
  4. Be able to communicate your analysis of international development actors to a lay and academic audience.
Reading List
Black, R. and H. White (2004) Targeting Development: Critical Perspectives on the Millennium Development Goals
Degnbol-Martinussen, J. and P. Engberg-Pedersen (2003). Aid: Understanding International Development Cooperation.
Gibson, C.C, Andersson, K., Ostrom, E. and S. Shivakumar (2005) The Samaritan's Dilemma. The Political Economy of Development Aid.
Lancaster, C. (1999). Aid to Africa. So Much to Do, So Little Done.
Lancaster, C. (2007). Foreign Aid. Diplomacy, Development, Domestic Politics
Maren, M. (1997) The Road to Hell. The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity
Riddell, R.C. (2007) Does Foreign Aid Really Work?
Tarp, F. (2000) Foreign Aid and Development. Lessons learnt and directions for the future.
Uvin, P. (1998) Aiding Violence
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Simeon Koroma
Course secretaryMs Maria Brichs
Tel: (0131 6)51 3205
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