Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : African Studies

Postgraduate Course: Politics and Theories of International Development (Distance Learning) (PGSP11318)

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
SummaryThis course presents the main social scientific theories which have underpinned international development since the 1950s. It follows the historical evolution of dominant and alternative theories which seek to explain economic, social and political transformation in developing countries over the last sixty years, critically analysing the premises upon which these theories are built. These theories emerged within complex international political contexts and we go on to explore how international, governmental and non-governmental actors and institutions engage with development theories as they seek to shape development debates and to translate theory into workable strategies and frameworks.
Course description This course explores the politics and theories of development by analysing the dominant and alternative approaches that seek to explain development outcomes and the actors and institutions involved. It offers an introduction, overview and critical analysis of the forces shaping international development.

Students will gain familiarity with the major cultural, economic and political theories of 'development' and 'underdevelopment' and the debates about these concepts internationally. The course will enable students to analyse development from multiple points of view, promoting an understanding of the diversity and complexity of interactions amongst political, economic and social actors. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

- Demonstrate knowledge of the evolution of the key development policy debates and approaches since World War II
- Understand key concepts and theories related to international development and development studies
- Analyse and assess the ideologies behind and impacts of particular macro approaches to development

Indicative course topics:

1. Rethinking the Notion of Development

2. Development, Modernisation and Dependency

3. Neoliberalism and Development

4. Governance, Development and the Post-Washington Consensus

5. Human Rights and Rights-Based Approaches

6. Roles of the State and Industrial Planning

7. Debates on Foreign Aid

8. Sustainability and development

9. Gender and other inequalities

Student Learning Experience

This course is taught entirely online in a virtual learning platform called Learn. The course is delivered asynchronously through a mix of short video lectures that will draw upon expertise from across the university and a range of interactive online activities such as blogs, fora, online quizzes etc.
The course is designed to equip people already working in development or people wishing to work in development, with the tools, knowledge and skills to engage with complex problems and relationships between politics, economics, society, culture and environment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  5
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 16/09/2024
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 student selected example of their two best submissions to the online etivities (ranging from 700 to 1000 words).

10% based on participation in weekly discussion forum.
Feedback Students are encouraged to book meetings with the course organiser to discuss their progression and course material. Students have a chance to submit an essay plan for feedback and guidance. Students will also receive regular feedback on their discussion forum contributions. Marked assessments ¿ including essay and portfolio ¿ will also receive feedback within 15 working days. Students will have the opportunity to select a pre-written essay question or 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 key theories of development of the past fifty years and be able to explain how they relate to each other.
  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 research and contemporary debates about global development solutions.
  4. Be able to communicate your analysis of global development issues to a lay and academic audience.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kevin Donovan
Course secretaryMs Maria Brichs
Tel: (0131 6)51 3205
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information