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BA (Hons) Global Development

Delve into the complexities of global problems and discover opportunities for creating more sustainable and equitable futures.

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£22,080 per year (2020/21)

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Explore theories and practices of sustainability and global justice with tools from across the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.

We are all responsible for the drive towards a fairer world. This course will equip you with the skills to become a leader of change. You'll further your understanding of global inequalities and develop an awareness of how various organisations interact with each other as they contribute to, and resolve, problems such as global exploitation, environmental degradation and injustice. 

Supported by the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre, you'll learn through a problem-based approach, applying your skills to tackle real-life issues from the very first day.

You’ll gain the leadership skills and creativity needed to succeed in a range of careers in the private and public sector, non-governmental organisations, advocacy organisations, the media, research and consultancy.

Problem-based learning

Our innovative, student-led approach to learning allows you to develop your skills through practical application.

Leading research

We're ranked 8th in the UK for Politics research in Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Course content

Your teaching will span disciplines, offering you differing perspectives on worldwide issues. Option modules are available from a variety of departments, including History, Politics, Economics, Environment, Education and Social Policy and Social Work.

The course is built around a core programme of problem-based learning (PBL), developing your understanding of key concepts, theories and methods through focused small-group working. You'll take a highly active role in your learning as you work to define and solve open-ended problems.

A range of learning techniques including teamwork, debates, active learning and project work will enable you to deepen and widen your understanding of global development and develop your skill sets throughout the programme.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

Your first year will introduce you to core methods and theories in Global Development, and allow you to pursue your individual interests with three or more option modules.

Core modules

  • Foundational Issues in Global Development (30 credits)
  • Research Methods in Global Development (20 credits)

Option modules

Choose 70 credits of option modules:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In Year 2 you'll continue to develop your essential knowledge with two core modules, while honing more specialised skills with up to three option modules.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose 60 credits of option modules:

Year 3

In your final year, you'll consolidate your learning through the production of a dissertation - an extended piece of writing based on your own research - as well as a further core module and one to two option modules.

Core modules

  • Advanced Issues and Skills in Global Development (40 credits)
  • Global Development Dissertation (40 credits)

The dissertation is a chance for you to study a topic of your choice in depth. With the support of a supervisor, you'll identify a question and conduct independent research to find an answer. You will have the opportunity to learn and use quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques which are essential for modern social science research.

Option modules

Choose 40 credits of option modules:


Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Draw on a critical and reflective understanding of key principles, theories, and historical debates relevant to issues in global development.
  • Deal confidently with unfamiliar problems, working towards solutions through the creative application of appropriate theoretical and practical perspectives, and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Critically evaluate views and positions on global development, arriving at balanced judgements on the basis of well-reasoned and creative arguments. 
  • Communicate effectively to achieve collective aims in global development contexts, integrating and adapting practical, academic and interpersonal skills to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and provide evidenced, structured and well-supported advice. 
  • Apply a broad awareness of interdisciplinary perspectives in dealing with problems in global development, taking into account ethical, social, political, geographical, environmental, historical, and financial factors, human rights, ethnicity, gender, and other interest considerations. 
  • Work efficiently and effectively, independently, as part of a team, and in leadership roles, and negotiate professionally with others to achieve collective aims. 
  • Set future learning and professional development requirements and career goals by recording, reflecting upon and evaluating individual strengths, weaknesses and progress in personal learning and development. 

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £22,080

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

This course makes use of an innovative and student-oriented teaching format. In addition to traditional lectures, you'll have practicals and seminars that are student-led, with the assistance of a tutor.

Core modules are taught using problem-based learning; group work to identify and solve complex issues in the realm of Global Development. This method will develop your skills of analysis, reasoning and judgement. You'll also develop communication and project management skills that will enhance your effectiveness in the world of work.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

Your time will be split between the Department of Environment and Geography, Department of History and Department of Politics, all on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place nearby. 

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

For core modules you'll be assessed through group presentations, individual essays and group projects. Assessments for option modules may take a variety of formats, but are typically geared towards individual assessments such as essays and exams.

Careers and skills

When you graduate, you'll be prepared for a range of careers in the private and public sectors in international and national non-governmental organizations, advocacy, journalism and the media and research and consultancy. In these careers, you'll be able to draw on your knowledge of theoretical and practical debates in global development, your insights about global development that cut across disciplines, and the transferable skills you'll develop throughout the degree.

Career opportunities

  • Policy Advisor
  • Advisor
  • Research Associate
  • Research Officer
  • Consultant
  • Journalist

Transferable skills

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Problem solving

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels


Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
European Baccalaureate An overall average of 80%
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 162 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

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Department of Environment and Geography, Department of History, Department of Politics

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