SP412      Half Unit
Non-Governmental Organisations, Social Policy and Development

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof David Lewis OLD2.40


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations). This course is available on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process.



Students will benefit from having 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; NGO relationships with other institutional actors including government, donors and private sector; challenges of NGO effectiveness and accountability; NGO organisational growth and change; and conceptual debates around civil society, social capital, social movements and globalisation.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will sit a mock exam as their formative work. Students will receive feedback from their academic Mentor 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

Bebbington, A., Hickey, S. and Mitlin, D. (2008) Can NGOs Make a Difference? London: Zed Books; 

Beck, E. (2017) How Development Projects Persist: Everyday Negotiations With Guatemalan NGOs. London: Duke.

Edwards, M. and Hulme, D. (1996) 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;

Holmen, H. (2010) Snakes in Paradise: 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;

Lashaw, A., Vannier, C. and Sampson, S. (2017) eds. Cultures of Doing Good: Anthropologists and NGOs. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press;

Lewis, D. and Kanji, N. (2009) Non-Governmental Organisations and Development. London: Routledge;

Lewis, D. (2014) NGOs, Management and Development. London: Routledge.



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

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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