MA Global Social Development
- Full Time
- Degree of Master of Arts
- Course Length
- 1 year
- Course Start Date
- September 2023
Take on the challenge of social development issues such as vulnerability, cultural complexity, resilience, gender inequality, social exclusion and justice, and education policies for development. These important topics are at the forefront of global development goals, and on the agendas of key international development agencies such as Oxfam, bilateral development agencies, the UN and the World Bank.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn about theory, analytical skills and practice and policy, all of which inform global work towards appropriate and effective social development interventions. You’ll also be able to acquire professional skills by taking one or more of our professional training workshops.
Students graduate from this MA with the skills to work in a range of social development fields and organisations, from the community to international levels.
Please note we are changing our name to the School of Global Development from 1 August 2023, as we mark our 50th Anniversary.
You will tackle fascinating questions and challenges in your degree including:
- Why do micro-credit interventions often contribute to continuing social inequalities?
- How does responsibility for climate change become politicised?
- What social changes explain rising levels of witchcraft accusations across many societies, and how can social development practitioners engage with these cultural practices?
- How can we, as social development practitioners, build interventions that can support people to reshape their lives and promote wellbeing?
- What roles should the state or civil society be playing in social development?
The MA Global Social Development enables you to understand local and global challenges to people’s wellbeing, in order to better inform solutions. You’ll learn about success stories and positive development processes, which offer potential solutions to problems. The academics teaching on the course bring their current research into the learning sessions, so that you have the chance to study at the cutting edge of research and new knowledge.
The course often analyses social development issues and interventions at the community level, focusing on the social actors on the ground who might be implementing or ‘receiving’ the intervention’s resources. Only by examining how and why people respond to interventions can we understand the effects or outcomes of interventions.
Whichever topics or themes you wish to focus your learning and expertise on, you’ll be able to tailor and build your degree from the wide range of optional modules available to you – allowing you to make your mark.
Study and Modules
At the heart of this Master’s programme are two complementary core modules. In the first semester, Social Analysis for International Development provides you with an understanding of key concepts from social theory, notably from anthropology, sociology and political science, and we can apply these to social development challenges, policies and practices. Examples you might examine include precarity and gambling, poverty and micro-finance interventions, environmental disaster and responsibility, or the structural drivers of HIV. Concepts of social structure, power and people’s agency are applied to all these key development issues.
In the second semester, you study Gender Diversity and Social Development, a module which explores relations between public policy, social development and various forms of diversity and difference, including race, ethnicity, disability and gender. It has both a practical and theoretical orientation, and will help you analyse diversity and its relevance to social policy and practice at the local, national and international levels. You’ll explore a range of different approaches for addressing diversity and difference, for example targeting and rights-based approaches.
Building around the core modules, you’ve the opportunity to develop your own profile of learning and expertise by choosing elective modules. You can choose from many modules, taught in-house, which help you build more applied and professional skills, research skills (especially if you're thinking of moving on to a PhD) as well as those offering further learning in the fields of politics, gender analysis, climate change, education or the use of media in global development.
In the summer period, you will work on your Dissertation or Development Work Placement. The Dissertation is a substantial piece of work, undertaken independently, but with a supervisor, to enable you to explore a topic of special interest to you, in depth. The Development Work Placement is similar except that you get work experience in a real development organisation and reflect on the experience in an extended essay in reference to academic debates.
Optional A Modules(Credits: 60)
Optional B Modules(Credits: 40)
Optional C Modules(Credits: 40)
Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, the University will endeavour to consult with students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will inform students.
Teaching and Learning
In the School of International Development (Global Development from 1 August 2023), we excel at sharing our enthusiasm and subject knowledge in the classroom with our amazing and diverse postgraduate students from over 40 countries. Because the nature of the crisis and associated restrictions are subject to uncertainty and change it is not possible to guarantee exactly any fixed level of classroom time. What is certain is that we will make the most of the face-to-face time permitted by government advice on safety, and offer a range of stimulating and interactive online sessions should the situation require them.
You’ll be taught by leading academics in the field of social development. These academics are active in research, with disciplinary or inter-disciplinary specialist expertise from anthropology, sociology, politics, and social geography, and with research expertise in various social development issues such as health, education, conflict, urban livelihoods and migration.
Your learning will be through lectures and participatory workshops and smaller group sessions. We encourage small group work, discussion, and active student-led sessions because these are often the most effective learning methods.
In some modules there are key reading workshops each week, which help you build deeper understanding of the most important materials. We also have pre-assessment workshops to help you think through and prepare your essays or policy papers.
In the summer semester, you will complete a dissertation where you focus your learning on a specific social development issue and research question. You’ll further develop your independent research and analytical skills, and develop a high level of expertise in one particular subject – expertise which potential employers will be interested in. You can work with published materials, secondary data or – if health and travel advice permit - do fieldwork in the UK or abroad. We cannot know what the situation will be in 2023 but will do our very best to facilitate your plans, consistent with official advice and UEA policies.
The six modules you complete in the autumn and spring will be assessed through coursework, such as an essay, a seminar presentation or a policy brief. In some of these modules you might also take a test upon its completion.
For each module, you’ll have the chance to practice your skills and ideas for the coursework with a ‘formative’ piece of work, for example the chance to get feedback on your essay plan or a mock test. The course exam is at the start of the summer semester and is based on the two main core modules.
You’ll get feedback on your assignments from the academic staff, who will explain the marks you receive and support you to develop your skills for subsequent work.
- Degree Classification
- UK 2.1 or equivalent
- Degree Subject
- Social Science
- English Foreign Language
We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:
IELTS: 6.0 (minimum 5.5 in only two components with 6.0 in the others)
PTE (Pearson): 64 (minimum 59 in only two components with 64 in the others)
Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.
Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests
INTO University of East Anglia
If you do not meet the English requirements for this course, our partner INTO UEA run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact email@example.com
This course is open to UK, EU and International applicants. The annual intake for this course is in September each year.
Additional Information or Requirements
Applicants should normally have a good undergraduate degree from a recognised higher education institution. The University will also take into account the employment experience of applicants where relevant.
If you do not meet the academic requirements for this course, you may be able to study one of the International Graduate Diploma programmes offered by our partner INTO UEA. These programmes guarantee progression to selected masters degrees if students achieve the appropriate grade. For more details please click here:
Fees and Funding
Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2023/24 are:
UK Students: £9,650 (full time)
International Students: £19,800 (full time)
If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).
We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.
Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.
Scholarships and Bursaries
The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.
Course Related Costs
Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.
How to Apply
Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.
To apply please use our online application form.
If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:
Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.
After the Course
After the course you’ll have specialised academic skills, transferable skills and expertise or work experience in an area of social development. You can return better qualified to your existing career, or pursue a new career trajectory in various fields of social development, ranging from community development or project implementation work, to research or policy analysis.
Our graduates go on to work for international non-governmental organisations (INGOS) or multi-lateral government agencies. Alternatively, you might continue your studies with a PhD, or professional qualification such as a PGCE.
A degree at UEA will prepare you for a wide variety of careers. We've been ranked 1st for Job Prospects by StudentCrowd in 2022.
A career in Global Social Development can take you in all kinds of directions such as:
Governmental and non-governmental organisations