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IR207: Development in the International Political Economy

Subject Area: International Relations, Government, Psychology and Society

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Course details

  • Department
    Department of International Development
  • Application code
Session oneNot running in 2024
Session twoNot running in 2024
Session threeOpen - 29 Jul 2024 - 16 Aug 2024


Applications are open

We are accepting applications. Apply early to avoid disappointment.


Why do some countries get rich but others remain poor? Will trade wars and climate change slow down economic growth? How can we build democracy and gender equality in poorer countries? These are some of the challenges faced by global leaders and explains why International Development studies is now a growing field of social sciences and a focus of public policy.

This course will provide you with an introduction to International Development - the study of how to achieve prosperous, healthy and fulfilling lives. Its objective is to explain the core debates in International Development, and to review potential policy interventions at global, national, and sub-national levels. The multidisciplinary nature of the content means you will explore important topics such as economic globalisation, trade and investment, international aid, armed conflict and climate change from the perspective of political science, international relations and political economy.

Another key feature of the course is to examine the role of international organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organisation and other aid and civil society organisations. As a result, you will leave the course with the ability to analyse and interpret the complex relationship between different international actors. You will also develop an understanding of important approaches used by governments, international organisations and civil society to create meaningful change at a local and international level.


Students who receive an offer for this course are also eligible to apply for the Academic Director's Scholarship.

Key information

Prerequisites: At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees: Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment: One examination and one essay

Typical credit: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

Please note: Assessment is optional but may be required for credit by your home institution. Your home institution will be able to advise how you can meet their credit requirements. For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment

Is this course right for you?

This course attracts students from politics, international relations, economics, geography, and sociology, as well as professionals looking for a fast introduction to academic and policy debates about development. If you are interested in developing a well-rounded understanding of international development drawing on different disciplines within the social sciences then you should consider taking this course. It is especially suited if you are targeting a role in government, research, policy development, journalism or within a non-government agency. 


  • Understand the core debates in International Development and the development of the discipline within the social sciences

  • Review potential policy interventions available to governments and international actors at global, national and sub-national levels

  • Discuss the role of international organisations and their ability to make meaningful change locally and globally

  • Identify different approaches used by governments, international organisations and civil society to create change


Jonathan Tam, Canada

The fundamentals of my course are covered at my home institution, but the summer school course gives me an extra breadth into how the industry works. It’s been a really good experience in diversifying my skill set.


The design of this course is guided by LSE faculty, as well as industry experts, who will share their experience and in-depth knowledge with you throughout the course.

Tim Forsyth

Professor Tim Forsyth

Professor of Environment and Development - Head of Department


LSE’s Department of International Development promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching and is concerned with the causes of poverty, social exclusion, economic stagnation, humanitarian crises and human security. The Department’s aim is to provide students with an understanding of why and how some late-developing countries have succeeded in overcoming these problems while others have not, or have seen their progress derailed by disasters and conflicts.

Students will learn from world-leading faculty who have considerable experience in living and working in the developing world and have engaged in policy-relevant research and consultancy work with international development agencies and non-governmental organisations. Engaging with cutting-edge research, students build real-world skills and gain exposure to critical issues, questions and state-of-the-art thinking on the most relevant topics within International Development.


Applications are open

We are accepting applications. Apply early to avoid disappointment.