SA4H9      Half Unit
Non-Governmental Organisations, Social Policy and Development

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Armine Ishkanian OLD1.13, Dr Timothy Hildebrandt, Prof David Lewis and Dr Muzafferettin Seckinelgin


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in African Development, MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Social Policy (Research) and MSc in Social Policy and Development. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Students will preferably have some experience of work within NGOs and/or relevant government departments or donor agencies working with NGOs.

Course content

The course focuses on the specialised field of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within the field of social policy and development, and considers theoretical and policy issues. Main topics include the history and theory of NGOs; the changing policy contexts in which NGOs operate; NGO service delivery and advocacy roles in policy; challenges of NGO accountability; NGO organisational growth and change; conceptual debates around civil society, social capital, social movements and globalisation; and NGO relationships with other institutional actors including government, donors and private sector.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will sit a mock exam held in LT. Students will receive feedback from their academic adviser on the mock exam. Weekly student led seminars which involve discussion of the assigned readings will also help to develop students' critical thinking, reading, and analytical skills 

Indicative reading

Anheier, H.K. (2005) Nonprofit Organizations: Theory, Management, Policy. London: Routledge; Bebbington, A., Hickey, S. and Mitlin, D. (2008) Can NGOs Make a Difference? London: Zed Books; Edwards, M. and Hulme, D. NGOs, Performance and Accountability: Beyond the Magic Bullet. London: Earthscan; Glasius, M, Lewis, D. and Seckinelgin, H. (2004) eds. Exploring Civil Society: Political and Cultural Contexts, London: Routledge; Kaldor, M. and Anheier, H.K. Global Civil Society Yearbooks 2001-2010. Oxford University Press/Sage; Holmen, H. (2010) Snakes in Parsdise: NGOs and the Aid Industry in Africa. Sterling VA: Kumarian; Howell, J. and J. Pearce (2001) Civil Society and Development: A Critical Exploration. London: Lynne Rienner; Lewis, D. and Kanji, N. (2009) Non-Governmental Organisations and Development. London: Routledge.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 11.2
Merit 52.8
Pass 33.7
Fail 2.2

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 34

Average class size 2015/16: 17

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 88%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)