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Unit information: Development Studies in 2021/22

Unit name Development Studies
Unit code POLI21213
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Rob Yates
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

For people in the West, the notion that development is something which happens in far away places and is about doing good is very deep-rooted. However, what constitutes development, how to achieve it, and whether it is achievable or desirable takes us into a political and ethical minefield. This unit seeks to offer students the tools to come to an informed view about different models of development, whether there are better or worse ways of intervening in poorer countries, or whether it may be better to do nothing at all. The unit considers a series of issues including economic takeoff in Pacific-Asia, ideas of dependency, neo-liberal theories of development, including the rise of the governance agenda, post-development, and the politics of international aid. The aim will be to link theory and practice and to show the relevance of past debates to contemporary issues.


  • To provide an historically informed introduction to the theory and practice of development since 1945
  • To consider the strengths and weaknesses of different ways of thinking about and doing development
  • To offer students the opportunity to probe the political and ethical dimensions of a number of areas of debate in the field of development studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the unit the student will have developed the following:

  1. An understanding of the way in which the theory and practice of development has evolved since 1945
  2. An ability to adopt a critical position in relation to different ways of thinking about and doing development
  3. An understanding of the politics and ethical conundrums associated with different approaches to development pursued by local, national and global actors

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

25% country report (2000) and 75% essay (2000)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI21213).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.