Maynooth University Department of International Development


Award Type and NFQ level : TAUGHT MASTERS (9)

CAO/PAC code : MH51N

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 30 June 2022

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The MA in International Development (part-time) is a taught master programme that can be taken by either attending classroom modules part-time entirely by distance learning (on-campus attendance not required), or by a combination of both study modes. Learners who attend most modules in a classroom setting can complete the full programme in as little as two years, while distance learners typically take between 3 - 5 years (maximum) to complete all requirements.

The MA is designed to prepare participants for work in International Development in a community, local government, youth/adult education or NGO setting. It offers learners an opportunity to explore contemporary theories of social change and development and to critically analyse development policies and practices. It builds skills especially in relation to critical reflection, research, leadership and working with groups and in the planning, management and evaluation of development projects.

It is aimed at advanced level participants who hold a primary degree or equivalent qualifications and who have experience of working in a development context in Ireland or in other countries in the Global North or South.  Particularly welcome are leaders, facilitators and managers of community development projects, government and development agency staff, people involved in pastoral ministry, researchers, development educators, volunteers and activists. This course is also relevant to academics in the countries of the Global South engaged in teaching and research and development. Places are also retained for recent graduates who wish to study further before embarking on a career in development work.


The MA in International Development programme commences in September each year.

Part-time students are encouraged to commence at that time, but can enrol throughout the year based on module availability.


Undergraduate degree (2.2 or higher) in a development related discipline (e.g. Agricultural Science, Anthropology, Economics, Education, Engineering, Geography, Health-related discipline, Nutrition, Rural Development, Sociology or other Social Science etc.) or a recognised international equivalent.
Those with a professional background in work related to international development are particularly welcome to apply. In exceptional cases, applicants without a primary degree may be considered on the strength of their professional work experience, other qualifications and completion of a qualifying essay.

Minimum English language requirements:

IELTS: 6.5 minimum overall score- TOEFL (Paper based test):560

Duolingo: minimum score 110

TOEFL (Internet based test): 92

PTE (Pearson): 59

Maynooth University TOEFL code is 8850

90 ECTS credits are required to complete the MA in International Development. Learners must complete five compulsory taught modules (40 credits in total) – Political Economy of Development, Gender and Development, Introduction to Development Theory and Practice, Adult Learning and Research Methods, as well as choose from a number of elective modules to make up the remaining 20 credits. In addition, MA learners complete a 30-credit research based thesis. Part-time and distance learners take taught modules throughout the programme while the Research Methods module and final research thesis are completed in their final year.  Learners cannot commence their final research thesis without having completed all taught modules.

A flexible approach to delivery is offered with the option of studying:

- Part-time through on campus delivery

- A combination of on campus delivery with distance learning

- Undertake the full programme by distance learning with no requirement to attend any modules on campus

On-campus delivery of each 5-credit module involves 25 hours of class contact. Reflecting the diverse needs of our student population, a flexible approach to such delivery is taken with some courses offered through 2.5 hour taught classes over 10 weeks, with others offered through more concentrated blocks of time depending on timetable requirements and arrangements.

Distance learning is structured to allow learners to study at their own pace over a semester.

The Department of International Development applies a learner-centred, participative approach to learning. This combined with the diverse groups of full- and part-time learners, including a significant number of students from the Global South, creates a unique learning environment that builds on both the diverse array of experiences of participants and on the knowledge and experience of academic staff.

Learners who attend most modules in a classroom setting can complete the full programme in as little as two years, while distance learners typically take between 3 - 5 years (maximum) to complete all requirements.

Course Duration: 2 to 4 years part-time/flexible and distance learning

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Course Duration: 2 to 4 years part-time/flexible and distance learning

Graduates of this programme are well placed to pursue a career in development and humanitarian related field either overseas or in Ireland, including both ‘hands on’ management/field positions overseas, support roles in head offices and/or working in the development education sphere domestically. The course is appropriate for those already working in the sector but looking to ‘upskill’, those recently returned from overseas work or volunteer experiences or those contemplating a career in the sector.

The following information should be uploaded to PAC:

  • Online PAC application form
  • Personal statement of your academic and professional goals (SEE BELOW)
  • Names and contact details of two referees who have agreed to write letters of recommendation for you
    The reference letters should be included with the
    other documents uploaded.  (See note below) 
  • Official Transcripts of degrees not earned at Maynooth University**
  • A copy of your Birth Certificate or valid Passport (non-Maynooth University students only)
  • IELTS, TOEFL or Duolingo certificate where English is a second language (at least 6.5 in IELTS test, a score of 580 in print based TOEFL or a score of 110 with Duolingo is required)


**Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. A certified copy is a photocopy of a document that has been stamped and verified by one of the following: a Lawyer or Solicitor; a Local Embassy or Consulate official; Commissioner for Oaths or Member of Judiciary; A British Council Official; A University Dean or Registrar.

Writing the Personal Statement of Academic and Professional Goals (500 words)

All applicants should provide a personal statement (around 500 words) of your academic and professional goals. Your personal statement should include the following: a brief description of any aspects of your work or other experience which you feel are relevant to the programme; your general research interests in the field of international development and/or ideas for a thesis project; your professional/career goals and how the degree in International Development will help you achieve them.


Arranging for letters of recommendation

You must make prior arrangements with two referees to write letters of recommendation on your behalf; these should be academic references, or if you do not have recent academic experience, then some other type of professional reference; personal character references are not appropriate. In your application, provide the names and contact details (preferably emails) of these two referees.


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