DV442      Half Unit
Key Issues in Development Studies

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Elliott Green CON.8.07


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Health and International Development and MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

Not available to students enrolled on DV400 & DV431.


Course content

The course integrates the concepts and perspectives of a range of disciplines to consider major trends of development and change in modern history and key issues and debates in international development.  With reference to comparative historical experience, we explore the role of states and markets in development and/underdevelopment, colonial legacies, the political economy of growth and redistribution, and the role of politics and power in development. We examine key issues in development such as: the record of pro-market reforms; the experience of “developmental states”; and the challenges to development thinking and practice presented by feminist theory, environmental sustainability, globalisation and new patterns of global inequality (key issues may change from year to year).


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

There will be a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will give at least one class presentation, and submit one formative essay of 2000 words.

Indicative reading

The following are recommended basic readings for the course:

A. Deaton, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality (Princeton University Press, 2013). D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty (Profile, 2012). A Sen, Development as Freedom (Anchor, 1999).


Exam (80%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (20%, 2000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13.8
Merit 73.5
Pass 12.7
Fail 0

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2019/20: 118

Average class size 2019/20: 15

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication