International Development

Social Development (2014 entry)

MA, 1 year full time/2 years part time

Subject overview

Global Studies is a unique interdisciplinary school, where you will benefit from: 

  • cutting-edge research on development, and high-profile research centres linking development to other global issues such as migration, human rights and security 
  • international faculty with expertise in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, with a critical and engaged approach to development, combining academic analysis and policy expertise 
  • a distinctive programme of guest lectures, research seminars and other events, covering a range of global political and development-related issues 
  • access to research placements with partner organisations around the world and our worldwide alumni base. 

Programme outline

You will be based in the School of Global Studies

This MA provides you with an intellectual understanding of the major issues in social development and an introduction to the knowledge and skills necessary for social development practitioners. Taught by active practitioners in the field of social development, the course provides opportunities for those already involved in social development to reflect on their activities in this field, while enabling those who have no experience of social development to gain the appropriate skills and knowledge. It is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, and emphasis is placed not only on developing your academic and analytical skills but also on improving your presentation skills. 

Assessment 

Most modules are examined through 3,000- 5,000-word term papers. You also write a 10,000-word dissertation. 

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2014 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

This MA is built around a number of core modules and options. However, it is also possible for you to choose an option from other MA degrees in the School of Global Studies, subject to the fulfilment of any prerequisites and the availability of places. Note that not all options run in any one year. 

Autumn term: Concepts of Social Development • Theories of Development and Underdevelopment. 

Spring term: you choose two from Activism for Development and Social Justice • Anthropology of Childhood • Anthropology of Reconciliation and Reconstruction • Critical Debates in Environment and Development • Cultural Understandings of Health and Healing • Embodiment and Institutionalisation of Violence, Conflict and Conciliation • Environmental Policy and Industrial Technology • Fair Trade, Ethical Business and New Moral Economies • Globalisation and Rural Change • International Relations of Global Environment Change • Knowledge, Power and Resistance • Migration, Inequality and Social Change • Poverty, Marginality and Everyday Lives • Refugees and Development • The Architecture of Aid • Transnational Migration and Diaspora. 

You also take a Research Methods and Professional Skills module, which provides training to prepare you for further research and a professional career. This module is delivered as a series of workshops including one that prepares you for your dissertation. 

We will help you find a 12-week study placement for the summer term and vacation. 

Summer term: you work on your dissertation, or on a dissertation with placement. 

Back to module list

Activism for Development and Social Justice

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module addresses the ways in which activists and activism have sought to engage in development and social justice. You will explore and evaluate different approaches to activism, grounding this in theories of social mobilization and citizenship, and will work through a series of practical examples to explore how activism has been used to address issues of development and social justice. In doing so you'll develop your knowledge of theories of social change and approaches to development and social justice, exploring how different kinds of activisms seek to bring about change.

The module explores the contributions that imaginative, insurgent, disruptive and chaotic forms of social action have to make to development, and covers a range of forms of collective action from the use of petitions and lobbying of representatives, to the use of the arts in "interrupting" everyday life to bring some of its elements into question, to mobilisation for protests and peaceful demonstrations, to non-violent direct action and info-activism.

Anthropology of Reconciliation and Reconstruction

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

In their ethnographies, anthropologies have studied 'intra-cultural' conflict resolution practices. As activists, they have contributed to the emergence of generic approaches to conflict resolution. They have, however, raised important questions regarding the acontextuality of generic practices and whether they can capture the complexity of local circumstances. The first part of the module will critically assess the relationship between local ('intra-cultural') and generic approaches to conflict resolution (as practiced by INGOs and other third-parties), asking whether the latter can be tempered with a sense of context-specificity. The module will also consider the sociology of mediation and peace negotiations and the power relations and dynamics involved.

The second part of the module will be concerned with the desire to 'reconstruct' society in the aftermath of violent conflict. 'truth acknowledging' exercises (such as Truth Commissions), issues of memory and ways in which a psychologised 'nation' can be 'healed' will be critically assessed. This will be contrasted with arguments in favour of 'retributive' exercises (such as international criminal tribunals and domestic trials).

We will study the following: introduction to module; conflict resolution in context; conflict resolution or conflict transformation? 'Culture' and mediation/negotiation; INGOs and conflict resolution; peace processes; memory and narrative; 'truth commissions'; international criminal tribunals; one-to-one term paper tutorials.

Anthropology of Childhood

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

Anthropologists have taken children's lives into account from the early stages of the discipline, as visible in the works of, for example, Mead and Malinowski. These accounts, however, were often based on adult's views on children. More recently, anthropological interest has shifted from these socially constructed and symbolic understandings of childhood to an engagement with children's own perspectives and practices (James and Prout 1990). These approaches assume the centrality of children as actors, rather than passive beings who are being acted on; children are seen as complete humans, rather than as deficient adults-to-be. This perspective has enabled a wealth of cross-cultural, ethnographic studies to emerge, describing ideas and practices surrounding children and childhood. These include key events of the lifecourse, such as birth and death, but also a focus on how children are shaped by, and actively shape, their social environments, such as families and peers, educational institutions and religious communities.

Key themes address children in the context of play and labour, childrens' bodies, spaces and mobilities, as well as their experiences of, and responses to violence. This module aims to give an overview of anthropological engagements with childhood, both historically and including its more recent methodological innovations. Broader theoretical discussions are complemented by in-depth ethnographic material from cultures and societies across the globe.

Overview:

Week 1 'Childhood' as a cross-cultural concept
Week 2 Anthropological Perspectives on Children
Week 3 Rites of Passage
Week 4 Education and Morality
Week 5 Childrens' Bodies and Spaces
Week 7 Labour and Play
Week 6 Childrens' Mobilities
Week 9 Children and Violence
Week 10 Individual Term Paper Tutorials.

Concepts of Social Development

30 credits
Autumn teaching, year 1

This module examines a number of key concepts in social development, situating them intellectually, historically and institutionally. For each topic we will look at how different concepts have been applied in aid policy and practice, and at the debates and controversies they have given rise to. By drawing on analysis of case studies and examples drawn from different countries, you are encouraged to reflect critically upon the theoretical, practical and ethical implications of each notion and to develop your own views about the applicability of these concepts and their potential impacts in different social contexts.

Critical Debates in Environment and Development

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

The aim of this module is to gain familiarity with cutting edge debates linking environment and development. A subsidiary aim is to develop research skills and in particular to develop skills in establishing analytical frameworks and the use of evidence. You should think critically about cutting edge topics. Current research has questioned much of the mainstream analysis of environmental problems and their social causes that now informs development policy and practice. This research emerges from environmental history, anthropology, remote-sensing, geography and non-equilibrium ecology, and from methods reflecting different social values (eg taking a pro-poor or politically marginalised perspective). It forces us to expose relations between power, environmental knowledge and environmental policy. This module considers and evaluates these challenges. We explore their significance for understanding the relationship between poverty, environmental science and policy, and consider how these relations are changing given the globalisation of environmental science and policy. 

Topics vary each year as different issues arise. Issues addressed by the module are currently: forest policy and REDD+; biofuels and the land grabs; neoliberal approaches and ecosystem services; conflict and environmental change; coastal hazards and pollution; biotechnology and food security; 9 billion people and the resource crunch; and low carbon technology.

Medical Anthropology: Cultural Understandings of Health and Healing

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

Medical knowledge, related practices and health-seeking are shaped by the social, political and cultural contexts in which they occur. This module draws upon theories, concepts, and approaches in medical anthropology to interrogate the concept of 'health' in its diverse formulations. The module considers how people integrate different types of medicine in their everyday lives. It examines 'health-seeking' in different medical traditions. 'The body' is used as an alternative framework for understanding medical pluralism, and the connections between experience, efficacy, and knowledge.

Dissertation (Social Development)

45 credits
Summer teaching, year 1

This module provides you taking the programme with the opportunity to complete under expert supervision a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choosing relevant to the field of social development. You may wish to conduct fieldwork for your dissertation, others may chose to work on secondary sources. In order to prepare for this work, you will have been given a training workshop in dissertation writing and you will be allocated a supervisor, who will help you prepare for your research, develop your problematic and supervise your independent research and writing through four half-hour one-on-one supervisions in the summer term.

Fair Trade, Ethical Business & New Moral Economies

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

Where and under what conditions are our T-shirts produced? How does Fair Trade impact on the livelihoods of small farmers in the Global South? Is Corporate Social Responsibility just a marketing ploy? Has ethics become only a matter of personal consumption behaviour?

This module familiarises you with discourses and practices around ethics and engagement in the global economy. It covers some of the ways in which ethics in markets, trade and global production networks are phrased and expressed in the contemporary world, and explores what sorts of mobilisations have emerged in the light of new ethical concerns. You will explore the ways in which ethical issues within the sphere of the economy have long been articulated in terms of moral economy, philanthropic giving, and relationships of patronage and dependency.  The module goes on to discusses the contemporary shift towards global trade and production networks, and the ways in which this shift has produced new ethical concerns around economic behaviour.

These concerns are increasingly (and differentially) expressed in terms of CSR, fair trade and ethical consumption. They also give rise to a series of engagements in terms of CSR interventions, ethical trade initiatives, civil society activism and critical consumption practices. You will assesses each of these initiatives from both a theoretical and an ethnographic perspective. You will also critically consider the implications of such engagements in terms of power, equality and gender, and the ways in which they emerge from and reproduce complex global interdependencies.

Globalisation and Rural Change

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module considers the impacts of globalisation on rural livelihoods. Attention is paid to the interconnectedness of the global, national and local levels in causing change in rural societies. We consider the influence of social relations on rural economic life and, conversely, the influence of rural economic life on social relations. The module explores the effects of population mobility and working for global markets on rural economic and social life, the future of agriculture and the role of non-agricultural activities for livelihoods.

Human Rights in International Relations

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

On this module you will examine the process of internationalisation of human rights and the main factors that underpin that process, including the nature of the international order, the relationship between human rights and sovereignty of states, and the problematic of intervention and redistribution. You will contrast the use of human rights as instruments of foreign policy with the involvement of international non-governmental organisations. You will examine both the global and the regional legal, and contrast questions of cultural hegemony with those that claim legitimate cultural autonomy.

Knowledge, Power and Resistance

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module reflects the various ways in which power and knowledge interact within contexts of development and economic change. The module provides you with the conceptual apparatus to theorise notions of discourse, power and resistance, but also deals in depth with the historically and culturally contingent nature of the various meanings given to development, modernity and tradition, and how these in turn are linked to different forms of knowledge. As the module shows, narratives and counter narratives of development are not only produced by the developers and developees, but also by yourself and fellow students. They are also inextricable from relations of power.

Migration, Inequality and Social Change

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module is primarily about migration for work in low-paid, low-status occupations. It lays emphasis on the connections between work migration and inequality and deliberately draws attention to the dynamic and contested social relations in which migrant experiences are embedded. The term 'work migration' is preferred to 'labour migration' here because it stresses the agency of the migrant. However, much of what we discuss as work migration is forced by economic compulsion and lack of alternative livelihoods. We focus as much on internal migration for work (for example within India and China) as we do on international migration. 

Particular attention is paid to global economic change (including the current crisis) and its link with changes in workplace relations. We are also centrally concerned with structures of ideas and how they change, including gendered and racialised ideologies of work. We study work migration as integrated into processes of social change, both caused by and causing changing relations between ethnic groups, genders and generations. Throughout the course ethnographic studies are drawn on to bring out how migration is experienced by migrant workers themselves, relatives they may have left behind, employers in 'destination' areas and local workers. The final sessions consider both ways of reducing the vulnerability of migrant workers and the development of a more critical approach to migration policy analysis.

Poverty, Vulnerability and the Global Economy

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module examines the processes of impoverishment and marginalisation of children, youth and adults in development contexts. A principle focus in on what anthropology can tell us about processes of impoverishment and marginality in development contexts – a complex and highly contextual field. By considering detailed ethnographic accounts of peoples’ everyday lives, you will also interrogate how local preferences, priorities and values can be incorporated into development policy. Throughout the module you will explore these topics with reference to the development policies and practices that have been aimed at `the poor’, as well as the wider political economies of economic transformation in the contemporary world. Focussing upon local contexts, a central premise is that people’s everyday experiences of poverty and marginality have to be situated historically, as well as in terms of the micro-dynamics of economic, social and political relations.

Refugees, Displacement and Humanitarian Responses

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

The aim of this moddule is to gain knowledge and understanding of the complexity of forced migration issues in developing countries and of the range of ideological and practical perspectives, which inform policy concerning the reception and settlement of refugees, and the resolution of conflicts, which gives rise to forced migration flows. At the end of the module you will be expected to have a conceptual and intellectual grasp of the principle components of the growing literature on forced migration and development, and a specific understanding of the practical experience of, and lessons learnt from, refugee assistance programmes over the past 50 years.

Research Methods and Professional Skills (Int Dev)

15 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module provides you with training in social science research methods (generic as well as specific to your dissertation research) as well as with a set of professional skills that prepare you for a professional career. The module is run as a series of half-day workshops from which you select three workshops to match your specific needs depending on disciplinary orientation, previous training and experience, future employment plans and personal interests. The workshops will cover a wide range of topics. The social research methods workshops will include interviewing, ethnographic methods, participatory research techniques and questionnaire design. The professional skills workshops will include, for example, stakeholder engagement, sustainable livelihoods analysis, environmental impact assessment, project planning and private sector consulting. The professional skills will also help to prepare you if you plan to take a work placement over the summer. As part of the module, you will also receive a workshop on dissertation planning and design.

Theories of Development and Underdevelopment

30 credits
Autumn teaching, year 1

On this course you will examine the theories associated with modernisation, dependency, participatory approaches, post-modernism and all-encompassing trope 'globalisation'. You will explore how our thinking about development has changed over time and why it has changed. While theoretical in orientation, you will consider through seminar discussions that the division between 'theory' and 'practice' is to some extent misleading.

Transnationalism, Diaspora and Migrants' Lives

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

Women and Human Rights

30 credits
Spring teaching, year 1

This module is divided into two halves. The first half consists of core topics providing a theoretical framework for the study of women's human rights. You will draw on feminist legal theory, human rights theory, anthropological and historical materials and international and national rights instruments and documentation. The second half focuses on the conception, implementation, adherence and breach of a specific right or related rights. 

Back to module list

Entry requirements

UK entrance requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in the social or natural sciences. Applicants with other degrees or relevant practical work experience will also be considered.

Overseas entrance requirements

Overseas qualifications

If your country is not listed below, please contact the University at E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

CountryOverseas qualification
Australia Bachelor (Honours) degree with second-class upper division
Brazil Bacharel, Licenciado or professional title with a final mark of at least 8
Canada Bachelor degree with CGPA 3.3/4.0 (grade B+)
China Bachelor degree from a leading university with overall mark of 75%-85% depending on your university
Cyprus Bachelor degree or Ptychion with a final mark of at least 7.5
France Licence with mention bien or Maîtrise with final mark of at least 13
Germany Bachelor degree or Magister Artium with a final mark of 2.4 or better
Ghana Bachelor degree from a public university with second-class upper division
Greece Ptychion from an AEI with a final mark of at least 7.5
Hong Kong Bachelor (Honours) degree with second-class upper division
India Bachelor degree from a leading institution with overall mark of at least 60% or equivalent
Iran Bachelor degree (Licence or Karshenasi) with a final mark of at least 15
Italy Diploma di Laurea with an overall mark of at least 105
Japan Bachelor degree from a leading university with a minumum C/GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 or equivalent
Malaysia Bachelor degree with a CGPA of 3.3/4.0 or B+
Mexico Licenciado with a final mark of at least 8
Nigeria Bachelor degree with second-class upper division or CGPA of at least 3.5/5.0
Pakistan Four-year bachelor degree, normally with a GPA of at least 3.3
Russia Magistr or Specialist Diploma with a minimum average mark of at least 4
South Africa Bachelor (Honours) degree or Bachelor degree in Technology with an overall mark of at least 70%
Saudi Arabia Bachelor degree with an overall mark of at least 70% or CGPA 3.5/5.0 or equivalent
South Korea Bachelor degree from a leading university with CGPA of at least 3.5/4.0 or equivalent
Spain Licenciado with a final mark of at least 2/4
Taiwan Bachelor degree with overall mark of 70%-85% depending on your university
Thailand Bachelor degree with CGPA of at least 3.0/4.0 or equivalent
Turkey Lisans Diplomasi with CGPA of at least 3.0/4.0 depending on your university
United Arab Emirates Bachelor degree with CGPA of at least 3.5/4.0 or equivalent
USA Bachelor degree with CGPA 3.3-3.5/4.0 depending on your university
Vietnam Masters degree with CGPA 3.5/4.0 or equivalent

If you have any questions about your qualifications after consulting our overseas qualifications, contact the University at E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in each section. Pearson Test of English (Academic) 62 overall, with at least 56 in all four skills

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

Visas and immigration

Find out more about Visas and immigration.

Additional admissions information

If you are a non-EU student and your qualifications (including English language) do not yet meet our entry requirements for admission directly to this degree, we offer a Pre-Masters entry route. For more information, refer to Pre-Masters for international students.

For more information about the admissions process at Sussex

For pre-application enquiries:

Student Recruitment Services
T +44 (0)1273 876787
E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

For post-application enquiries:

Postgraduate Admissions,
University of Sussex,
Sussex House, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877773
F +44 (0)1273 678545
E pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk 

Fees and funding

Fees

Fees for studying on courses available on a part-time basis will be charged at 50 per cent of the full-time fees listed below.

Home UK/EU students: £5,775 per year1
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £5,775 per year2
Overseas students: £13,750 per year3

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2014.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2014.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2014.

To find out about your fee status, living expenses and other costs, visit further financial information.

Funding

The funding sources listed below are for the subject area you are viewing and may not apply to all degrees listed within it. Please check the description of the individual funding source to make sure it is relevant to your chosen degree.

To find out more about funding and part-time work, visit further financial information.

Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust for Postgraduate Study (2014)

Region: UK
Level: PG (taught), PG (research)
Application deadline: 1 October 2014

The Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust are offering bursaries to Postgraduate students following any postgraduate degree courses in any subject.

For more information on scholarships go to the Scholarships web pages.

Faculty interests

Within the School of Global Studies there is a close academic collaboration between departments and interdisciplinary research centres. Both faculty and students are members of the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, the Centre for World Environmental History, the Justice and Violence Research Centre, and the Sussex Centre for Migration Research.

Research interests are briefly described below. For more detailed information, visit International development.

Dr Andreas Antoniades Globalisation, political economy. 

Dr Paul Boyce Gender, sexualities, health, South Asia. 

Dr Grace Carswell East Africa, Southern India; rural livelihoods; population-environment interactions. 

Professor Andrea Cornwall Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Brazil, India, UK: political anthropology, gender. 

Dr Vinita Damodaran Protest and nationalism in India. 

Dr Geert De Neve Politics of labour in India, anthropology of globalisation. 

Professor Saul Dubow Racial segregation and apartheid, ethnicity and national identity, the nature of imperialism and of colonial science. 

Professor Mick Dunford China, regional and urban economic development. 

Dr Nigel Eltringham Rwanda, anthropology of rights and reconciliation. 

Professor James Fairhead West and central Africa; environmental anthropology; conflict, violence, health. 

Dr Anne-Meike Fechter Ethnographies of aid workers, gender, South-East Asia. 

Professor Katy Gardner Mining, livelihoods and social development in Bangladesh; transnational migration and development. 

Dr Elizabeth Harrison Partnership and participation, development discourses, UK and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Dr Pamela Kea Gender relations, agrarian change and development. 

Dr Evan Killick Poverty, development and social relations in Amazonia. 

Professor Dominic Kniveton Climate systems and the hydrological cycle in southern Africa, migration. 

Dr Mark Leopold Conflict and political violence in Uganda. 

Professor Alan Lester Colonial origins of humanitarianism, imperial networks in Africa and Australia. 

Dr Julie Litchfield Poverty and development. 

Dr Peter Luetchford Central America, fair trade and development. 

Dr Kamran Matin Processes of modern socio-political transformation in the Middle East. 

Dr Lyndsay McLean Hilker Conflict and violence, reconciliation, ethnicity, Rwanda. 

Professor Peter Newell Environment, development and climate change. 

Dr David Ockwell Low-carbon technology transfer to developing countries, energy policy, communication and behaviour change. 

Dr Filippo Osella Social relations, migration, masculinity in South India. 

Dr Fabio Petito International political theory, international relations of the Mediterranean. 

Dr Rebecca Prentice Health, gender and the politics of labour. 

Dr Dinah Rajak Corporate social responsibility and development. 

Dr David Robinson Impacts of development; environmental change; soils, coasts. 

Professor Ben Rogaly Political economy of migrant work in India. 

Dr Pedram Rowhani Climate change and food, GIS, East Africa. 

Dr Jan Selby Peace processes and water politics in the Middle East. 

Dr Ben Selwyn Export production and development in Brazil. 

Professor Ronald Skeldon Professorial Fellow. Population migration in the developing world, especially Asia. 

Dr Anna Stavrianakis Global arms trade, civil society, imperialism. 

Dr Maya Unnithan India, reproductive rights and development.

Careers and profiles

Our graduates go on to work in development agencies within and beyond government, as well as in NGOs and community organisations. Recent graduates include a programme officer for the UNHCR, a consultant for the Colombian government and a country director for Shelter for Life International (Uganda). 

Won-Na's perspective

Won-Na Cha

'I graduated from the MA in Social Development at Sussex in 2009. For the next three years I worked for a Korean NGO in Tanzania and Kenya. Working in the field was both challenging and stimulating, and, though at times difficult, gave me invaluable experience for my current post as Assistant Programme Officer with the UN High Commission for Refugees in Sudan. I entered through the Junior Professional Officer programme of the UN, which is a scheme to promote diversity within the UN system and increase the representation of underrepresented nations.

'I really enjoyed the course and was impressed with how the lectures were held, with the wide intellectual space offered for discussion, and with the faculty who were always available for any questions. Without Sussex, I don't think I would have made it to the position I am now in.'

Won-Na Cha
Assistant Programme Officer
UN High Commission for Refugees in Sudan

For more information, visit Careers and alumni.

School and contacts

School of Global Studies

The School of Global Studies aims to provide one of the UK's premier venues for understanding how the world is changing. It offers a broad range of perspectives on global issues, and staff and students are actively engaged with a wide range of international and local partners, contributing a distinctive perspective on global affairs.

School of Global Studies,
University of Sussex, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9SJ, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877686
E devstudiespg@sussex.ac.uk
International development

Discover Postgraduate Study information sessions

You’re welcome to attend one of our Discover Postgraduate Study information sessions. These are held in the spring and summer terms and enable you to find out more about postgraduate study and the opportunities Sussex has to offer.

Visit Discover Postgraduate study to book your place.

Other ways to visit Sussex

We run weekly guided campus tours every Wednesday afternoon, year round. Book a place online at Visit us and Open Days.

You are also welcome to visit the University independently without any pre-arrangement.

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