KE7045 - Geopolitics of Development

What will I learn on this module?

This module aims to provide you with a critical understanding of the key contemporary experiences, policies and debates that characterize development in a time of significant geopolitical change and shifting relationships. The module will enable you to develop cutting edge and nuanced analyses of the changing landscape of global development, and to locate a range of important actors in the global development arena. The module critically debates historical relationships between aid and development, and the predominance of western development agendas and approaches; the emergence of new state and non-state actors, and with this new forms of development cooperation that may transcend the traditional and hierarchical North-South aid relationship; and the implications for development theory and practice. Practical exercises will apply your understanding of geopolitical change and its impacts, to real-world case studies.

How will I learn on this module?

In this module you will be exposed to often contrasting development debates and practices through research-led and research-tutored teaching and learning approaches. You will be encouraged to reflect critically upon key geopolitical shifts and the ways they are changing development ideas and practice.

The module will be delivered through a workshop-style of teaching. Sessions will include a mix of lectures, multi-media analysis, seminar-style activities and discussion, practical exercises, and student-led presentations. The sessions will draw significantly from active research projects in which the module teaching team is involved.

This module will be assessed formatively through presentations and in-class discussion around analyses of critical case studies; and summatively with a 2500-word essay (60%) and a 4-page policy brief (40%).

You will also be expected to engage in private and self-directed study. The MSc programme, module guide, internet site and tutor prescription will provide a clear framework for this study.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutorial time will be available to all students (on a group or individual basis) during staff ‘office hours’ or upon appointment with a module tutor.

You will also have access to the e-learning portal with a dedicated internet site to support this module. The site will include electronic copies of module and lecture materials, further reading materials, important module announcements, tutor advice/guidance and further internet links.

You will receive immediate feedback on formative work during the workshops. Small group work also emphasizes peer-to-peer learning.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Develop a critical understanding of how geopolitical change and the emergence of new development actors influences policies and practices of development
2. Evaluate how different philosophical approaches to aid impact practice and the global politics of development

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Develop an ability to communicate to different stakeholders
4. Demonstrate proficiency in deploying appropriate tools for project monitoring and management.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of how different actors embody different philosophical approaches and practices.

How will I be assessed?

This module will be assessed formatively through presentations and seminar discussions around analyses of critical case studies; and summatively with a 2500-word essay (60% of module; MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and via a 4-page (A4) (Times New Roman, font size 12) Policy briefing paper (40% of module) – MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.





Module abstract

The rise of emerging economies and the increasing role of non-state actors in development has significant consequences for Global Development with a clear shift to a new geopolitical landscape with new powers, ideologies and agendas. This module is geared to equip students with an up-to-date understanding about the implications of the fast-changing politics of development, and the roles played by new actors. The module critically assesses the historical role played by western donors, and we consider new forms of aid and south-south partnerships in shaping international development agendas and progress. The module draws heavily on staff expertise and direct research experience. The module is essential study for any career in an ever-changing development landscape.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
3 other options available

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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