International Development students with fans
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2022


On this BA (Hons) International Development degree course, you’ll tackle some of the major global challenges of our time. You’ll build your skills, knowledge and experience as you study key dimensions of global development.

Your studies will cover areas such as poverty and hunger, climate change, health and education, democracy and human rights.  You'll expand your understanding of the role and purpose of co-operation in international development, and use this to gain insights into strategies to improve people's lives on a global scale. 

Your learning won’t be limited to the classroom – you'll have opportunities to work with development organisations in the UK or overseas.

This course is ideal for a career working for organisations across the UK and the world in roles such as community development, advocacy, policy development and public affairs.

TEF Gold Teaching Excellence Framework

Entry requirements​

BA (Hons) International Development degree entry requirements

Typical offers
  • A levels – BBB–BCC
  • UCAS points – 104–120 points (calculate your UCAS points)
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
  • International Baccalaureate – 25

See full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

What you'll experience

On this International Development degree course, you’ll:

  • Examine global challenges including world poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, universal education and health care, gender equality and women’s empowerment, democracy, human rights and conflict and security
  • Study multiple disciplines including economics, human geography, politics and international relations, and specialise in the fields that most interest you  
  • Be taught by staff who are committed to their research in the field, keeping your studies up to date with the latest theories, knowledge and issues in international development
  • Get experience with an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) during your studies or as part of an optional work placement year
  • Learn from professionals working in the sector – recent events include a guest lecture from the Senior Strategic Advisor to Oxfam, a study day examining the conflict in the
  • Democratic Republic of Congo and a visit from an NGO based in Peru
  • Develop skills in analysis, criticism and argument, communication and problem-solving
  • Have the chance to learn a new language

To make sure your training is of the highest professional standard, we've developed this course with the England Standards Board for Community Development.

Optional pathways

You can also study international development with international relations or sociology – leading to a BA (Hons) International Relations with International Development or BA Hons International Development with Sociology award at the end of the course – or add language study with our BA Hons International Development and Languages programme.

I feel like I’ve found a University that cares about me and who I am, not what my A-Level grades or UCAS Track was. It’s a community and everybody is welcome.

Livia Fierro, BA (Hons) International Development Studies

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the field.

What can you do with an International Development degree?

This course gives you the skills for careers in areas such as:

  • International community development
  • Civil Service
  • Fundraising, campaigning and advocacy
  • Policy development
  • Public affairs
  • Project management
  • Social enterprise
  • Corporate social responsibility

What jobs can you do with an International Development degree?

Our graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • Programme management, support and evaluation roles for international agencies and non-governmental organisations
  • Fundraising development coordinator
  • Human rights advocacy
  • Media and digital content lead
  • Social researcher
  • Community development practitioner
  • Sustainable sourcing specialist for multinational corporations
  • Teacher

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level.

The best thing about my placement was really being able to see how a successful NGO was run from teaching classes, to fundraising, grant writing and recruiting volunteers. I really believe it gave me so many valuable skills I wouldn’t have been able to get if I didn’t do it.

Catherine O’Gorman, International Development student

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and opportunities that will complement your studies and match your ambitions.

We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in international development.

Students have completed work placements at organisations such as:

  • British Council
  • Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Otra Cosa Network

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

For my placement year, I spent time in London at a digital crowdfunding charity, GlobalGiving, where I coordinated a volunteering programme. My role allowed me to implement knowledge gained from the course and gain skills including communications, project management and digital marketing. I was appointed to visit some of GlobalGiving's non-profit project partners in Uganda and furthered my understanding of programme implementation through local organisations. The placement year has not only provided me with invaluable skills and networks for my future career, but has aided me in my final year of studies.

Rebecca Rees, International Development student

What you'll study on this BA (Hons) International Development degree

Modules currently being studied

Core modules in this year include:

  • Global Development – 20 credits
  • International Development: Academic Enrichment Programme – 0 credits
  • Introduction to Development Studies: Policy & Practice – 20 credits
  • Key Themes in International Relations – 20 credits
  • Performing Like a Pro: Skills for Professional & Academic Success – 40 credits
  • the Making of The Global South – 20 credits

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Economics and Politics of Development – 20 credits
  • Global Environmental Issues and Concerns – 20 credits
  • International Development: Academic Enrichment Programme – 0 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Analysing Foreign and Security Policy – 20 credits
  • Development Economics – 20 credits
  • Development and Democracy in Latin America – 20 credits
  • East Asian States and Societies – 20 credits
  • Empire and Its Afterlives – 20 credits
  • Gender in the Developing World – 20 credits
  • International Community Development – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Teaching – 20 credits
  • Learning from Experience – 20 credits
  • Managing Across Cultures – 20 credits
  • Modern Foreign Language (Institution-wide Language Programme) – 20 credits
  • Russian & Eurasian Politics – 20 credits
  • Study Abroad – 60 credits

Core modules in this year include:

  • Dissertation / Major Project – 40 credits
  • International Development: Academic Enrichment Programme – 0 credits
  • Rethinking Aid and Development – 20 credits

Optional modules in this year include:

  • Africa Revisited: Nation Building and 'state Fragility' in Post-colonial Africa – 20 credits
  • China & East Asian Economies – 20 credits
  • Ethnicity Class & Culture in the Developing World – 20 credits
  • Global Capitalism: Past, Present and Future – 20 credits
  • Global Health – 20 credits
  • Independent Project – 20 credits
  • Learning from Experience – 20 credits
  • NGOs and Social Movements – 20 credits
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

My course has taught me about environmental issues, gender inequality, community development practice and much more.

Alexander Sykes, BA Hons International Development student

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • examinations
  • case studies
  • projects
  • presentations
  • book reviews
  • assignments

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous year of how students on this course were typically assessed:

  • Year 1 students: 8% by written exams, 23% by practical exams and 69% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 27% by written exams, 10% by practical exams and 63% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 3% by practical exams and 97% by coursework


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • one-on-one tutorials

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

Teaching staff profiles 

Dr Ben Garner, Course Leader

Ben is the Course Leader for BA International Development and BA International Development and Languages. His research interests are in exploring the role of culture within the political economy of development, leading to work on subjects including the relationship between culture and trade liberalisation, the work of international organisations such as UNESCO, the World Bank and WTO, and the political economy of knowledge and creativity.

He teaches on the following modules: Introduction to Development Studies: Policy & Practice; Economics and Politics of Development; Democratisation in Latin America; Democracy and Democratisation; Ethnicity, Class & Culture in the Developing World.

Professor Tamsin Bradley, Professor of International Development Studies

Tamsin is a social anthropologist who for nearly 20 years has conducted research into violence against women and girls in Asia and Africa. Her projects have explored intergenerational change and the practice of female genital mutilation in Sudan; art heritage and resilience in South Sudan; rape in India; violence and displacement in Nepal and Myanmar; and the link between women's economic engagement and violence in Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

She teaches the following modules: Gender and Development; Anthropology of Development, and International Community Development.

Hear Tamsin speak about her research on our podcast Life Solved: Voices against violence

Dr Isabelle Cheng, Senior Lecturer

Isabelle is a specialist in East Asian development and international relations. Her research focuses on labour and marriage migration in East Asia with reference to migrant spouses' political participation and workers' rights under the 'gest worker' system. She is also conducting research on the Cold War in East Asia, to understand how the impact of the Cold War trickled down to people's everyday lives, including through culture and heritage. 

She currently serves on the Executive Board of the European Association of Taiwan Studies as Secretary-General. She is also a Research Associate of the Centre for Taiwan Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.  

Professor Andy Thorpe, Associate Dean

Andy is Professor of Development Economics, and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Business and Law. He has worked on national development strategies and poverty reduction programmes for the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the United Nations. His publications include three books on the political economy of Central American agriculture and a widely-reported 2009 paper on enteric fermentation (‘cow burps’), which highlighted the extent of methane production of cattle. 

He is  interested in research that has a meaningful and positive impact on people’s lives. My research is primarily in the arena of fisheries, in particular the policy-making processes and reduction of poverty in the small-scale artisanal sector.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We're planning for most of your learning to be supported by timetabled face-to-face teaching with some elements of online provision. Please be aware, the balance between face-to-face teaching and online provision may change depending on Government restrictions. You'll also do lots of independent study with support from staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle. Find out more about how our teaching has transformed to best support your learning.

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your BA Hons International Development degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.

Learning development tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (2022 start)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £16,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

If you do any placements outside of the EU/EEA, you’ll need to cover the travel costs. These costs are usually around £1000. You’ll also need to cover the living costs, which will vary depending on the duration and location of the placement.

You’ll also need to meet any additional tuition costs for units of study you take outside of your agreed study abroad programme. This normally costs around £200.


How to apply

To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L902
  • our institution code – P80

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

Preparing for this degree

You can prepare for this degree by staying informed about current working practices and issues affecting the sector.

  • The Guardian's Global Development page is an excellent and widely respected resource that is updated daily with the latest stories, as well as containing access to podcasts, opinion and comment pieces.  It's good to get into the habit of checking in there regularly to keep up to date and stay informed with what's going on in the world of international development.

  • United Nations, Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform.  This is the official resource for monitoring progress towards the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  You can explore this site to familiarise yourself with the various SDGs and the work that is underway around the world to try to reach them.  Familiarising yourself with this will be useful for work that you are asked to do in your first year.

  • Third World Network.  Website of the Third World Network (TWN), an independent non-profit international research and advocacy organisation involved in issues relating to development, developing countries and North-South affairs. 

If you are keen to get reading over the summer before you arrive, there are a couple of recommended books below.  Both of these are also useful companions to your first year of study on the International Development programme – and beyond.  You will be able to access both of these from the university library when you arrive (either in hardcopy or as electronic e-books), but if you were looking to invest in some summer reading to give yourself a bit of a headstart then either or both of these would be a good investment.  I regularly dip into these books for my own teaching and research.

Jason Hickel (2018), The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions

This book tackles some of the biggest questions in the world today: what are the causes of global poverty and hunger, and how can they be overcome?  The author challenges conventional wisdom on these issues and lays out a sophisticated and inspiring account, written in an accessible style.

Paul Hopper (2018), Understanding Development (2nd Edition). 

Compared to Hickel's book above, this is more of a "text-book" type book, which contains a number of very accessible, introductory chapters on thematic areas such as aid and development, health and development, education and development, etc.  It is an excellent textbook that equips you with key foundational knowledge in the field of international development, and is required reading in your first year.

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