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Program Design and Development


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




This course provides students with a practical introduction and a critical appreciation of international development work. It introduces them to a set of approaches and tools that are used by international development practitioners in the design and development of projects in the field. The course encourages critical reflection of the tools and approaches used in international development today. In particular, it considers the value of different approaches across different social and political contexts and the trade-offs of involved in using these tools and approaches. The course will also consider the merits and value of “project-based” development more generally and also the respective merits of different design and implementation approaches to specific social programmes and their political-philosophical underpinnings.

Students will also learn about different types of project and the realities of funding these projects. They will gain a deeper understanding of considerations in project design particularly the broader institutional and political issues faced when they enter the world of international development. Students also learn essential team working skills by working in small groups to analyse a problem situation, design an intervention and present this in the form of a project proposal.

This course aims to develop students’ practical understanding of international development in terms of project management and planning and also its practical implementation. It will, therefore, use practical exercises and case studies, which will enable students to develop the skills necessary to design international development projects. It will prepare students who might be considering a career in international development whether that is with international organisations and NGOs or national development agencies.


This course has three forms of assessment:


Over the duration of the course you will be working on a case study to generate a project level response to a development problem. There is a choice of three case studies to choose from.  Groups are encouraged to come up with a fully costed and fundable proposal and where necessary to adapt and innovate with methods taught. It is expected that the completed project proposal should have explicit consideration of stakeholders and context, a project framework supported by evidence of theory, consideration of financial worth and time period as well as a monitoring and evaluation plan and budge.  Groups are encouraged to include other relevant sections as appropriate but do note that you are expected to include appropriate diagrams and tables etc. produced during your group work. This submission will be graded based on the group’s ability to correctly and accurately apply the various methods and techniques to structure a social development problem and produce a planned response in the form of a project proposal. The project proposal should be a typed document presented with a list of all the group members clearly typed on the front page. As a general guide the proposal should not be more than (7 500 words). Do note however that this is a general guide and excludes diagrams, figures and appendices.

Peer Assessment: To ensure that group processes work well, there is an element of ‘confidential’ peer assessment. This is worth 15% of the group mark. This means, for example if your group scores 80%, all group members will get a minimum of (85% of 80) 68. The remaining 12 marks is what will come from ‘confidential’ peer assessments. In the case of this example, the range of marks within a group would vary from the minimum (68%) to the maximum (80%).


To allow groups a chance to show case their projects all groups are expected to prepare poster presentations and to field questions on the projects. The class presentations provide a chance for formative feedback and allow the groups to review each other’s work.


You will sit for an examination worth 30% of the course unit mark. This will be a 2 hour examination covering knowledge of the methods and technique in the first section and reflections on project interventions in the second section.

Competences, learning outcomes and teaching activities (PDF)