Award Type and NFQ level : TAUGHT MASTERS (9)

CAO/PAC code : MH50N

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 30 June 2024

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The full time MA Degree in International Development is a 1-year taught masters level programme 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 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 in development. Places are also retained for recent graduates who wish to study further before embarking on a career in development work.

Learners can specialise within the programme by choosing from a number of elective areas that are most suited to their area of interest.

The MA in International Development applies a learner-centred, participative approach to learning. This, combined with the diverse groups of full and part-time learners, creates a unique learning environment that builds on both the diverse array of experiences of participants and on the knowledge and experience of facilitators and instructors.



Undergraduate degree (NFQ Level 8 (or equivalent) honours 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:
Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and international applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

90 ECTS credits are required to complete the MA in International Development. Learners must complete four compulsory taught modules (35 credits in total) - Contemporary Global Issues, Challenges and Responses (or Introduction to Development Theory and Practice), Critical Learning and Participatory Development Practice, Gender, Identity and Inclusion, and Research Methods - as well as choose from a number of elective modules to make up the remaining 25 credits. These address subjects such as: conflict, development and security, political economy of environment and development, managing development organisations; results-based management, anthropology and development, global food systems. Students also have an option to take a Development Work Placement module in the second semester.

In addition, MA learners complete a 30-credit research-based thesis. Taught modules commence in mid-September and end by early May of the following year.  Learners then have approximately 5 months to complete and submit a final research thesis at the end of September.

Delivery Options

Full-time learners take most taught modules in a classroom setting (on-campus delivery), while certain modules are available online only. On-campus delivery of each 10-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 8 -10 weeks with others offered through more concentrated one-week blocks of time depending on timetable requirements and arrangements.  Online learning is structured to allow learners to study at their own pace over a semester.

Learning Approach

The MA in 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 international students, creates a unique learning environment that builds on both the diverse array of experiences of participants and on the knowledge and experience of facilitators and instructors. 

Course Duration: 1 year full-time.

Course Duration: 1 year full-time

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)

* IIELTS, 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 Univeristy 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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