KE4009 - Geographies of Development

What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about why global development has been uneven, what the consequences are and what has been done to address uneven development. We will begin by examining concepts of development and theories and models of development (e.g. modernisation, dependency, neo-liberalism and postcolonialism). This will provide a contextual foundation to explore other themes and issues which may include:
• Development organisations and their roles (e.g. NGOs, donors, multilateral agencies, the World Bank, the state etc)
• Key historical processes and interventions (e.g. colonialism, the debt crisis, structural adjustment, MDGs, SDGs)
• Approaches in development (e.g. basic needs, participation and empowerment)
• Population and development
• Property rights, the tragedy of the commons and development
• Urbanisation and rural development
• Gender and development
• Tourism and development
• Poverty and inequality, livelihoods, vulnerability and resilience
Through the use of case studies you will learn what uneven development means in a range of empirical contexts in the global South.

The skills developed on this module (particularly during the second semester include both self-management and working effectively as part of a group; the collection, analysis and presentation of secondary data; oral presentation skills).

How will I learn on this module?

For the first half of the module, you will learn through lectures predominantly, to lectures introduce and develop key concepts and ideas and provide a strong grounding in the subject. In the second half of the module, the emphasis is on student-centred learning and you will have an opportunity to give two presentations about a developing country that you will be allocated. This will enable you to develop your skills of self-management and team work, which is very important in relation to future employment. At the start of the second semester you will be given guidance about data sources that can be utilised in the presentations and you may arrange meetings with staff to discuss presentation ideas and content. You will be guided to appropriate readings throughout the course.

This module provides an excellent foundation for students who are interested in employment in the development sector.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

During the first semester, the module tutor and other teaching staff on the module will be available as part of the Department’s open door policy to discuss any points from lectures that need clarification. On-line resources will be available via the module eLP site, including online interactive reading lists to access key articles in alignment with your weekly lecture programme. The module tutor will support the establishment of peer reading groups to support learning. Question and answer sessions will be offered prior to the exam.

At the start of the second semester, the first session will provide information about sources of secondary data that can be used to support the development of your presentations as well as giving guidance on presentation skills. The module leader and other teaching staff on the module will be available as part of an informal open door policy through the second semester to support you with formative development of your presentations.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

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:
• MLO 1: Explain the meaning of; approaches to and theories of development
• MLO 2: Discuss the key global actors and their strategies for addressing global inequality
• MLO 3: Review and assess a range of development issues in relation to particular places in the global South
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 4: Work effectively as part of a group to plan and deliver two oral presentations, based on the collection and analysis of secondary data and academic and grey literature.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Assess the impact of global processes on local populations

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessments on this module are an examination at the end of semester one (50%), addressing MLOs 1 and 2, and two group oral presentations during semester two (25% each), addressing MLOs 3, 4 and 5.

The examination will assess your understanding and appreciation of the theories of development geography, the main causal factors and influences and the key global actors including their strategies to address global inequalities. The oral presentations will assess your ability to work effectively as part of a team in exploring a range of development issues affecting a particular location of your choice in the global South. The first presentation discusses the more generic aspects of development in the country and challenges and constraints. The second presentation leads on from this by focusing on a particular development challenge or issue.

You will receive formative support as you prepare for these assessments in the form of peer reading groups, interactive question and answer sessions and via interactive discussion with staff during classes, via the eLP and as part of the Department’s open door policy.





Module abstract

What accounts for the uneven patterns of development across the globe? In this module we will explore the process of development; some of the key ideas about underdevelopment; and development interventions to alleviate poverty. You will learn about some of the key issues associated with development such as urbanisation; population; gender and inequality as well as the roles and contributions of some of the key development organisations aiming to address uneven development. You will be assessed by an exam which follows a semester of lectures covering the key themes of the module; and two group presentations which will form the basis of student centred learning in the second semester. This module will provide a very important foundation for anyone who is interested in working in development as a career, for development NGOs, for example.

Course info

UCAS Code L700

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

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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