International Development

It offers learners an opportunity to explore contemporary theories of social change and development and to critically analyse development policies and practices. It builds skills, especially in relation to critical reflection, research, leadership and working with groups and in the planning, management and evaluation of development projects.

It is aimed at advanced level learners who hold a primary degree or equivalent qualifications and who have experience of working in a development context in Ireland or in other countries in the Global North or South. Particularly welcome are leaders, facilitators and managers of community development projects, government and development agency staff, people involved in pastoral ministry, researchers, development educators, volunteers and activists. This course is also relevant to academics in the countries of the Global South engaged in teaching and research in development. Places are also retained for recent graduates who wish to study further before embarking on a career in development work.

Subjects taught

60 ECTS credits are required to complete the full Postgraduate Diploma in International Development. Postgraduate Diploma learners must complete five core taught modules (40 credits in total) – Political Economy of Development, Gender and Development, Introduction to Development Theory and Practice, Adult Learning, and Research Methods, as well as choose from a number of elective modules to make up the remaining 20 credits . Learners who enrol on the Postgraduate Diploma can transfer to the 90-credit MA in International Development at a later date should they wish to do so, and will get credit for any modules already completed.

Full-time learners take most taught modules in a classroom setting (on-campus delivery), while certain modules are available either by distance only, or can be taken either by distance or through on-campus delivery. On-campus delivery of each 5 credit module involves 25 hours of class-contact. Reflecting the diverse needs of our student population, a flexible approach to such delivery is taken with some courses offered through 2.5 hour taught classes over 10 weeks, with others offered through more concentrated one or two week blocks of time depending on timetable requirements and arrangements. Distance learning is structured to allow students to study at their own pace over a semester.

The Postgraduate Diploma in International Development adopts a learner-centred, participative approach to learning. This, combined with the diverse groups of full- and part- time learners, including a significant number of students from the Global South, creates a unique learning environment that builds on both the diverse array of experiences of learners and on the knowledge of experienced academic staff.

Entry requirements

Undergraduate degree (2.2 or higher) in a development-related discipline (e.g. Agricultural Science, Anthropology, Economics, Education, Engineering, Geography, Health-related discipline, Nutrition, Rural Development, Sociology or other Social Science etc) or a recognised international equivalent. Those with a professional background in work related to international development are particularly welcome to apply. In exceptional cases, applicants without a primary degree may be considered on the strength of their professional work experience, other qualifications and completion of a qualifying essay.

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Application dates

Closing Date : 30 June 2024


1 year full-time, 2 to 4 years part-time/flexible and distance learning

Post Course Info

Graduates of this programme are well placed to pursue a career in development and humanitarian related field either overseas or in Ireland, including both ‘hands on’ management/field positions overseas, support roles in head offices and/or working in the development education sphere domestically. The course is appropriate for those already working in the sector but looking to ‘upskill’, those recently returned from overseas work or volunteer experiences or those contemplating a career in the sector.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime,Blended

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