UCL Summer School


Politics of Global Development

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session Two
Module leader
Bethsabée Souris
None. Standard UCL Summer entry criteria apply.
Assessment method
Essay (60%), Policy paper (40%)
Download syllabus (PDF)
Politics of Global Development

Module overview

This module will provide an introduction to, and an overview of, the politics of global development.

The module will take a case-based approach – using grounded, empirical cases – to illustrate the role of politics in development; allowing students to unpack the theory, concepts, and history of international development. It will emphasise the links between theory and practice, and students will be provided with the opportunity to hear from guest speakers working for various development organisations. The module is divided into three parts: part 1 will look at the politics of developing countries, including sessions on institutions; leaders and coalitions; bureaucracy and civil society; and contestation, power, gender and conflict. Part 2 will look at global processes, including sessions on trade, aid, finance and investment; migration; and global governance. Part 3 will focus on development organisations, and will look at how donor agencies, International Organisations, and NGOs operate on a day-to-day basis and the reality of the current challenges they face.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Understand the centrality of politics for international development, poverty and inequality; how political factors and processes – such as formal and informal institutions, leadership, government and non-government actors, and interests and ideas – shape and are shaped by the process of development
  • Have had hands-on experience of using the political economy analysis tools used by donors and NGOs to design a development intervention, and have engaged with a range of policy-makers and practitioners working in international development
  • Have an understanding of the international political economy of development, and how relations between richer and poorer nations – and the rules that govern these relations – shape and are shaped by development processes
  • Have received an introduction to different development organisations, how these organisations engage with politics in developing countries, and of criticisms of these organisations
  • Have received an introduction to different types of research on the politics of global development, and have gained an understanding of the link between theory and practice in international development.

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 2,000-word essay (60%)
  • 1,000-word policy paper (40%)

Module leader

Bethsabée Souris works in the Department of Political Science. Her research focusses on how transnational ethnic communities (i.e. refugees and diaspora) affect the behaviour of ethnic armed group in a domestic insurgency. Her research explores how refugees and diaspora might influence the fragmentation of rebel groups as well as the types of activities they conduct and their targets. Her theoretical framework is tested using qualitative methods, including process-tracing, in the case of the Karen National Union (KNU) insurgency in Myanmar. She has conducted fieldwork at the Thai-Myanmar border. In 2017, Beth led the UCL Summer School module International Politics of Human Rights.

Application information

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