Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Geography


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module provides students with a critical understanding of:
  • The changing and diverse ways in which geographers have theorised the spatiality of development
  • The history of development theories, strategies and ideologies
  • The changing geopolitical and geoeconomic contexts of development
  • The ways in which development is lived, experienced and resisted in the ‘everyday’


  • The module will address key themes in geographies of development, for example:
  • History of development thought and practice
  • Critical geographical approaches to development
  • Theories, ideologies and strategies of development past and present
  • Orientalism and tropical geographies; post colonialism and development
  • The geopolitics of development
  • Geographies of resistance and alternatives to development
  • Migration, displacement and development
  • Materialities of development
  • The environment/development interface, conservation and sustainability
  • Post-development
  • Urban metabolism

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students are expected to be able to:
  • Understand key theories, ideologies and strategies of development past and present
  • Trace the emergence and evolution of geographical approaches to development
  • Appreciate the geographical contingencies of development experience in the global South
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Show an appreciation of the spatiality of development
  • Analyse a range of contemporary development debates through an engagement with relevant theoretical frameworks and empirical experiences
  • Think critically about contemporary development theory and practice
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an ability to formulate critical and sophisticated arguments and analysis
  • Demonstrate a capacity to communicate effectively in written assignments
  • Demonstrate an ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise information obtained from a variety of sources
  • Demonstrate a capacity to evaluate the merits of contrasting theoretical and conceptual approaches
  • Demonstrate an understanding of both the theoretical debates and empirical issues through case studies and grounded examples

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The lectures will introduce students to the concepts, theories and contemporary issues of development and its geographies
  • In their independent learning, including reading widely, students will deepen their understanding of different perspectives on development
  • Small group discussion and debate in seminars will allow students to work through theoretical understandings introduced in lectures and apply such understandings to contemporary examples
  • Examination and coursework will test critical understanding of concepts and critical thinking

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 15 Term 1 and 2 1.5 hours 22.5
Lectures 2 Term 1 and 3 2 hours 4
Seminars 4 Term 1 and 2 1.5 hours 6
Preparation and Reading 167.5
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Online 24 hour unseen examination 2 hours (recommended) 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay 5 x sides A4 100%

Formative Assessment:

Oral presentation/s in small groups during seminars where peer feedback and oral feedback from staff will be provided.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University