SO7008 - Contemporary Development Challenges

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What will I learn on this module?

What are some of the key problems in international development? How can we provide solutions for poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, health and sanitation? This module provides you with an opportunity to explore contemporary development challenges and to develop problem solving skills around real world issues.

The module will bring together the theory and methods part of the programme. Topics you will explore include – but are not limited to – poverty and inequality, hunger, health, sanitation or environmental degradation. You will learn about confliciting theories of solving these problems, contested debates about what poverty and inequality mean and how they are produced and who produces them, and what the best ways are to combat widespread problems such as hunger or environmental pollution.

How will I learn on this module?

Thematically the module will introduce you to key challenges in international development throughout weeks 1-7. We will then present you with a particular development problem that we have developed in partnership with real-world development actors. Throughout weeks 8, 9 and 10 you will work in groups to provide solutions to these development problems. You will then present your solution in an assessed academic poster conference at the end of the module and in a 3000-word academic essay, each of which constitute 50% percent of the final module mark.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A key part of the module is group work in weeks 8, 9 and 10. While weeks 1-7 take place in a 3-hour workshop style format, in the next three weeks the focus is on your skills to produce a convincing solution to a development problem as a group. During this time, your module tutor will hold regular tutorials to guide you through the process of working on your problem independently and of presenting it as an academic poster presentation. The tutor will also be available to assist with any questions around the essay. During the group work weeks, peer support is essential, but the tutor can be accessed during and outside of tutorials to help with thematic and logistical input.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrating knowledge of how development problems occur and what potential solutions to them are
2. The ability to evaluate contending approaches to development and to assess their impact on specific development problems

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Effectively communicate solutions to development problems to different audiences
4. Analyse the role of theories, tools, techniques and methodologies to combat development problems and make judgements about their appropriateness

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical implications that development interventions have, and to demonstrate an understanding of the appropriateness of proposed solutions to development problems

How will I be assessed?

During the group work phase the tutor will give formative feedback on group progress during tutorials.

Summative assessment is by a 3000-word essay (70% of the module mark, MLO 1-5) and the academic poster presentation (30% of the module mark, MLO 1-5).





Module abstract

How do we fight development problems? What are the solutions that have been proposed to eradicate hunger, poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and other problems in development? This module will give you the skills to evaluate and test approaches to solve problems that real-world development organisations face.

The module emphasises essential skills needed to work in the international development sector. These include independent problem-solving skills focussed on doing your own research (guided by the module tutor), evaluating different approaches to solve problems, making informed judgment on the viability of solutions, and presenting your work in an effective way to an academic audience. This requires you to address the practice side of development, and to communicate your findings to an academic audience, bringing together academic research and practice.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 16 months full-time
3 other options available

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start January 2020

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