Taught course

Social Development Practice

UCL - University College London · Development Planning Unit

Entry requirements

The normal minimum qualifications are a good second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard; and a demonstrable interest in the subject matter of the programme.Candidates who do not meet the above requirements may be considered if they are able to demonstrate relevant work experience and an ability to engage academically with the subject matter of the degree. Applicants who do not hold a recognised undergraduate degree may, in exceptional cases, be admitted to the programme if they are able to demonstrate considerable senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field. If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. The English language level for this programme is: Standard. Further information can be found on our English language requirements http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/life/international/english-requirements page.

Months of entry


Course content

This MSc offers a critical approach to 'people-centred' development, addressing the challenges for equitable citizenship in the context of social diversity and globalisation, particularly in urban contexts. Participants engage in a critical analysis of the theory and practice of social development alongside gaining the skills required to be a reflective social development practitioner.

The programme introduces students to critical, analytical and practical skills that will be of use in their future careers, whether as academics, social development practitioners or advocates for the need to place the 'social' at the centre of development. Students have an opportunity to critically examine relevant bodies of knowledge, current debates and field experience in primarily urban contexts, and to consider the challenges of making development policy, planning and practice more socially responsive.

Students on this MSc benefit from the strong practical component, which includes fieldwork assignments in London and an international field trip to a city on the global south. This trip provides the opportunity to develop practical skills, use tools for participatory action research, and reflect on the roles and responsibilities of social development practitioners.

The practice-based components of the programme also provide students with the opportunity to network with organisations and professionals working in the social development sector, and at a complementary series of careers sessions students can network with Development Planning Unit alumni and partners who are working in relevant fields.

Full-time: 1 year; Flexible: 2-5 years;

Qualification and course duration


part time
60 months
full time
12 months


The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical classroom exercises, and fieldwork within the UK and abroad. Practical work, including the overseas group fieldwork report, will comprise part of the total accreditation. Student performance is assessed through course work, examinations, and a dissertation report.

Course contact details

+44 (0)20 3370 1214