Not available in 2017/18
SA4E6      Half Unit
Rural Development and Social Policy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof David Lewis OLD2.40


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Knowledge of rural areas and relevant work experience is desirable but not essential. Knowledge of sociological and anthropological approaches to rural development also desirable.

Course content

Theories of rural development, history of rural development policy, changing rural livelihoods, land and agrarian reform, agricultural research and extension, the roles of private and non-governmental actors, natural resource management, food security, climate change and rural-urban linkages.


15 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

A formative 1500 word essay is required at end of Week 6, and feedback will be given.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list is included in the seminar programme. The following is an introductory reading list: R McAreavey, Rural Development Theory and Practice (2009); World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development (World Bank 2009); A Hall & J Midgley, Social Policy for Development (2004); A Shepherd, Sustainable Rural Development (1998); B Crow & H Bernstein (Eds), Rural Lives: Crises and Responses (1992); N Long, Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives (2001); I Scoones & J Thompson, Farmer First Revisited (2009).


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words).

Students are required to write an assessed essay of 2,500 words (25%). A two-hour written examination in the ST (75%).

Student performance results

(2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 0
Merit 0
Pass 0
Fail 00

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2016/17: 30

Average class size 2016/17: 15

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication