Research course

States, Political Systems and Developments

Open University · Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

The group is made up of Development Policy and Practice Group members and other Open University colleagues who work at the interface of politics and international development. We examine multiple ways of researching political ideas, policies and actions. Our work is both analytical and normative.

The theoretical underpinnings of the group are rooted (not exclusively) in the tradition of critical social and political thought. As Cox (1981:129) emphasizes, this tradition: “...does not take institutions and social and power relations for granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with the origins and how and whether they might be in the process of changing”.

Within this broad and cross-cutting agenda we focus on:

  • The relationship between development actors, institutions and dynamics of change at the level of political ideas. This further focuses on global justice, cosmopolitanism and politics of development as well as on transnational networks, states and power.
  • At the level of policies, our focus is on the interaction between governance and government and civil society.
  • At the level of actions, research focus is mainly on social movements, participation, conflict and cooperation.
Current/recent research projects:
  • Knowledge production for sustainable bioenergy: an analysis of UK decision processes and priorities.
  • Unpacking role of industry associations in diffusion and governance of health innovations in developing countries.

Potential supervisors:

Fees and funding

For detailed information on current fees visit: Fees and funding

Qualification and course duration


full time
48 months
part time
72 months


full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Design, Development, Environment and Materials
+44 (0)1908 332940