Taught course

International Development by distance learning

University of Birmingham · School of Government

Entry requirements

  • An upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent from an approved university or an equivalent professional qualification in a relevant field (the equivalent US Grade Point Average is 3.2) or
  • A lower second-class Honours degree from an approved university with relevant work experience within the development sector.
  • Degrees from all disciplines are considered and a candidate’s work experience can also be taken into consideration.

Months of entry


Course content

Our International Development masters course will provide you with an understanding of the evolution of thinking and practice in international development over the last fifty to sixty years.

The core module on this distance learning course aims to familiarise you with the key concepts of international development. You will introduced to theories such as modernisation, dependency, neo-liberalism and the ‘crisis’ in development theory which will enable you to develop a better understanding of why some countries remain in poverty, whilst others are rich. You will also explore the changing roles of international development organisations and states in promoting international development (such as aid, trade and fiscal, monetary and social policies).

The emphasis throughout this international development course will be on encouraging you to reflect critically on what has worked well or not and why. The flexibility offered by the choice of 5 optional modules will also allow you to tailor the course towards your individual interests and career aspirations.

The course begins with a two week online induction module (non-accredited).

The MSc International Development programme is associated with the International Development Department which is well-regarded internationally by sponsors, donor agencies, governments and NGOs. You will benefit from:

  • Expertise in key issues and skills valued by employers
  • Being part of a vibrant, welcoming community
  • A flexible programme with a wide choice of modules
  • Being part of a diverse and international student body
  • Strong support in study and English language skills

Why study this course?

  • For those considering a career in the development sector, this course will explore a wide range of development issues and approaches, with no prior knowledge assumed.
  • For those already working in the field of development, this course covers practical approaches to addressing development challenges, which can be directly applied to the workplace.
  • Through this course you will become part of an online community of students, many of whom already have extensive experience of working in development.
  • This is a flexible course of study, ideal for those who are working or have other commitments which would make it difficult to participate in a campus-based programme.

Information for international students

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less that 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    48 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification
  • PGDip
    48 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Further information