SA4E6      Half Unit
Rural Development and Social Policy

This information is for the 2018/19 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 International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations). This course is available with permission 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 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars 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: IFAD Rural Development Report 2016 (International Fund for Agricultural Development); I Scoones & J Thompson, Farmer First Revisited (2009); R McAreavey, Rural Development Theory and Practice (2009); 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).


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the ST.

Students are required to write an assessed essay of 3,500 words.

Student performance results

(2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.7
Merit 66.7
Pass 10
Fail 6.7

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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

Course survey results

(2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 83%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)