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School of Environment, Education and Development

Men in a street
MSc International Development: Poverty, Inequality and Development
Examine the different conceptualisations and characteristics of poverty and inequality.

MSc International Development: Poverty, Inequality and Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2017

Course unit details:
Poverty and Development

Unit code MGDI60142
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course examines the relationship between poverty and development at three different levels: macro, meso and micro-levels. Key concepts, debates and approaches addressing the conceptualisation, measurement and analysis of poverty and poverty reduction are critically explored.



The unit aims to:

  • Introduce the competing conceptualisations and measurements of poverty
  • Explore how poverty can be addressed differently at the global, national and local levels
  • Examine the current international post-2015 poverty agenda and discuss the diverse strategies and mechanisms for reducing poverty


Learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Have a critical understanding of the different approaches to understanding, measuring and analysing poverty
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the diverse levels at which poverty can be addressed and the challenges encountered at each level
  • Critically engage with the key strategies and mechanisms for reducing poverty
  • Understand the current international post-2015 poverty agenda and its implications
  • Identify the different factors causing poverty and its persistence

Intellectual Skills

  • Be able to conduct a critical analysis
  • Be able to compare different case studies
  • Be able to conduct research on poverty

Practical Skills

  • Writing academic essays
  • Preparing and delivering presentations
  • Debating and discussing

Transferable Skills and Personal Qualities

  • Group work / team work
  • Group and individual presentations - Communication skills
  • Critical thinking and reflection


Teaching and learning methods

All lectures are posted on Blackboard. Handouts are provided in most of the lectures. The lecture usually includes an interactive short group exercise mid-way during the lecture to stimulate discussion.

Tutorials are held in groups of 10-15 max to allow students to debate the various topics and give them the opportunity to prepare different themes and present them in small groups.

Lectures: 9 x 2 hour sessions
Tutorials: 3 x 2 hour sessions

+ 2 x 1 hour essay writing workshops


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Essay outline (formative) (one page) - feedback provided as track changes via email.

Essay - detailed written feedback provided once marked.

Recommended reading

Addison, T., D. Hulme and R. Kanbur (2009) Poverty Dynamics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. OUP.

Banerjee, A. V.; R. Bénabou and D. Mookherjee (eds) (2006). Understanding Poverty, London: Oxford University Press.

Barrientos, A. and D. Hulme (eds.) (2008). Social Protection for the Poor and Poorest: Concepts, Policies and Politics.  London, Palgrave.

Booth, A. and P. Mosley. (eds) (2003) The New Poverty Strategies: what have they achieved? What have we learned? Palgrave/Macmillan.

CPRC. The International Chronic Poverty Reports I & II. Also see the CPRC Working Paper series.

Grusky, D. B. and R. Kanbur (eds) (2006). Poverty and Inequality, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Hulme, D. (2010) Global Poverty: How Global Governance is Failing the Poor. Routledge.

Maxwell, S. (1999). ‘The Meaning and Measurement of Poverty’, ODI Poverty Briefing No.3: February.

Mosse, D. (2010) A relational approach to durable poverty, inequality and power, Journal of Development Studies  46(7) pp. 1156-1178

Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

World Bank (2000) World Development Report 2000/1 (World Bank)

UNDP. Human Poverty Reports.

UNRISD (2010) Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 18
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 126

Additional notes

Contributors: Armando Barrientos, David Hulme, Kunal Sen, Sam Hickey and Caroline Moser

GDI Programmes on which course unit is offered: ID, ID: DM, ID: GTI, ID:ECCD, ID: PGDP, ID: PCR (co), ID: PID (co)

Semester 2 - Thursday 12-2 PM

Tutorials to be scheduled separately.

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