Taught course

International Development and Social Justice

Birkbeck, University of London · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

A second-class honours degree (2:2) or above in social sciences or humanities. Other applicants will also be considered.

Previous experience or study of development issues may be an advantage.

Two references: preferably both academic references, but employer references may be considered.

An entrance task may be required.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry


Course content

This course offers you a transformative approach to international development rooted in social justice. It examines the structures, institutions and theories which have shaped international development, the unequal global relationships which underpin it, and the social and political movements which challenge and redefine development in an era of rising global inequalities and climate crisis. It is ideal if you are planning a career in international development or with international organisations and NGOs.

The compulsory modules for this interdisciplinary course introduce you to key debates that have shaped thinking about international development and social justice, and about research in development and how it is conducted. You will also choose from a range of thematic option modules, allowing you to tailor the course according to your personal or career interests. You will develop transferable skills including research skills, team-working, written and oral communication, and qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

You will be taught by academics who draw on their own research to explore themes including:

  • Childhood and International Development
  • Cities in the Global South
  • Climate Justice
  • Development as Colonialism
  • Gender, Sexualities and Development
  • Global Health
  • Political Economy of Development
  • Racism and International Development
  • Revolutions.

We offer this course as a Master’s, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate. For the Diploma and Certificate you study fewer modules and do not complete a dissertation.

  • We can offer you multiple approaches to the study of societies and cultures, human geography, and sustainability, poverty and development, as well as community and citizenship, at local, regional and global levels.
  • We have strong links with the London International Development Centre, which can enhance your employability.
  • One of our unique strengths is the breadth of research interests of our staff. Subsequently, we offer a very wide range of courses that reflect the disciplinary breadth of development and globalisation, while also allowing you to engage with other disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology.
  • Ours is a vibrant research culture, powered by a shared passion for learning and intellectual engagement among our academics and students. We have a strong commitment to social justice, which informs and shapes much of our cutting-edge research.
  • If you are taking this course part time, you may be eligible for a Bonnart Trust Master’s Studentship which will cover the cost of your tuition fees.
Careers and employability

Graduates can pursue career paths in development agencies and other international organisations, policy research, journalism, or the non-governmental sector. Possible professions include:

  • policy researcher
  • journalist
  • development practitioner
  • communications officer.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PGCert
    part time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700