Global Development

Open University in Ireland

Global Development

The world is at a turning point. In these times of uncertainty and change, this MSc in Global Development equips you with the knowledge, understanding, and skills, to investigate, analyse, evaluate and respond to the major global challenges of our times. Studying on this innovative, interdisciplinary and flexible course involves critically examining development theory, policy and practice across a range of contexts. You'll have the opportunity to explore six major issues: migration, socio-economic security, environmental sustainability, technological innovation, the global politics of development, and the politics of doing development. You’ll also deepen your understanding of the issues of most interest to you by examining them through four cross-cutting challenges: conflict, governance, justice, and transformation. This will lay the foundation for undertaking your own independent research project. Supported by a dedicated supervisory team you will examine a development topic of your choice, deepening your knowledge, enhancing your skills and finding ways to have impact in a world of change, whilst helping you to achieve your own personal and professional goals.

Overall, the MSc will enable you to build in-depth knowledge and understanding of key development issues, ideas and debates as well as an advanced capacity for critical and reflexive thinking, independent study and research, and collective dialogue and action.

Subjects taught

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits and there are two routes to achieving this with a choice of modules at Stage 1.

Route 1 begins with Understanding global development (DD870) which critically interrogates global approaches to contemporary development and sets these in the context of the evolution of development thinking and practice.

Route 2 begins with Global development in practice (D890) which is presented on the award-winning FutureLearn platform. With an emphasis on development as practice, this module helps you discover, critically analyse, evaluate, and apply the key tools and techniques needed by a development manager or practitioner.

Route 1
Compulsory modules

Stage 1
Understanding global development (DD870) 60

Stage 2
Key challenges in global development (DD871) 60

Stage 3
Researching global development (DD872) NEW 60

Route 2
Compulsory modules

Stage 1
Global development in practice (D890) 60

Stage 2
Key challenges in global development (DD871) 60

Stage 3
Researching global development (DD872) NEW 60

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Entry requirements

We recommend that you hold a UK bachelors degree (or equivalent), or have had experience of working in a development-related agency (international or local), in either a paid or voluntary capacity, prior to starting this qualification. However, these requirements are not compulsory and you will not be required to provide any supporting documentary evidence.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details. If you’re not sure whether your English skills are good enough, there is some help and guidance at our Skills for OU Study website.


2 - 3 years.

How long it takes
Most students study this qualification in three years by studying 60 credits a year. To achieve this you should expect to devote 13 – 15 hours each week to your studies. You can however study Stages 2 and 3 simultaneously and complete within two years. This will require you to be able to devote 26 – 30 hours each week to your studies. We strongly recommend that you speak with a study adviser if you are considering doing this.

If you start this qualification with Understanding global development (DD870), Route 1, and achieve a resubmission result outcome on your first submission, it will be possible to pass the module on resubmission and progress to Stage 2 in the same calendar year.

If you start with Global development in practice (D890), Route 2, this module is designed for the FutureLearn platform and it offers a different model of learning and timescales. This means that if you achieve a resubmission result outcome on your first submission, it will not be possible to pass Stage 1 and progress to Stage 2 in the same year. You will need to wait until October of the year following your first submission to start DD871.

Enrolment dates

See Course Web Page link for next start date.

Post Course Info

Career relevance
Development scholars and practitioners are highly employable social scientists. They go on to a wide range of destinations after graduation, including:

•Development Managers
•Government policy makers
•Development consultants
•Business managers
•Environmental consultants
•Data analysis and visualisation using development techniques
•Transport planners
•Commercial analysts
•Financial services
•International Development
•Field centre instructors

In addition, a significant number of postgraduate students choose to register for doctoral studies in a variety of specialised areas.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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