KE7040 - Contemporary Development Challenges

What will I learn on this module?

What are some of the key problems in international development? How can we provide solutions for poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, health and sanitation? This module provides you with an opportunity to explore contemporary development challenges and to develop problem solving skills around real world issues.

The module will bring together the theory and methods part of the programme. Topics you will explore include – but are not limited to – poverty and inequality, hunger, health, sanitation or environmental degradation. You will learn about confliciting theories of solving these problems, contested debates about what poverty and inequality mean and how they are produced and who produces them, and what the best ways are to combat widespread problems such as hunger or environmental pollution.

How will I learn on this module?

Thematically the module will introduce you to key challenges in international development and the Sustainable Development Goals. We will present you with a particular development problem that we have developed in partnership with real-world development actors. Students will work to provide practical, theoretically and politically informed, solutions to these development problems, and present their solutions in an academic poster (30% of the module mark). The module is also assessed with a 3000-word academic essay (70% of the module mark), which addresses theoretical and policy elements of the Sustainable Development Goals

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module will be delivered via weekly workshops which will adopt a participatory approach including debates, group and pair work to maximise discussion. A key part of the module is the poster, and a key element of the workshops is to focus on your skills to produce a convincing solution to a development problem. During this time, your module tutor will hold regular tutorials to guide you through the process of working on your problem independently and of presenting it as an academic poster. Debate, discussion and activities in class will help you navigate your way through key theoretical and political issues in development, with reference to engaging case study examples. Guidance on essay writing will also be provided in the workshops.

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. Demonstrating knowledge of how development problems occur and what potential solutions to them are
2. The ability to evaluate contending approaches to development and to assess their impact on specific development problems

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Effectively communicate solutions to development problems to different audiences
4. Analyse the role of theories, tools, techniques and methodologies to combat development problems and make judgements about their appropriateness

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical implications that development interventions have, and to demonstrate an understanding of the appropriateness of proposed solutions to development problems

How will I be assessed?

During the workshops the tutor will give formative feedback on progress on the assessments, and there will be support within the workshops on creating an academic poster and writing academic essays.

Summative assessment is by a 3000-word essay (70% of the module mark, MLO 1-5) and the academic poster (30% of the module mark, MLO 1-5).





Module abstract

How do we fight development problems? What are the solutions that have been proposed to eradicate hunger, poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, and other problems in development? This module will give you the skills to evaluate and test approaches to solve problems that real-world development organisations face.

The module emphasises essential skills needed to work in the international development sector. These include independent problem-solving skills focussed on doing your own research (guided by the module tutor), evaluating different approaches to solve problems, making informed judgment on the viability of solutions, and presenting your work in an effective way to an academic audience. This requires you to address the practice side of development, and to communicate your findings to an academic audience, bringing together academic research and practice.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years part-time
3 other options available

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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