↑ Return to Studying at Kimmage DSC

Print this Page

MA in International Development by Flexible & Distance Learning

The Post Graduate Diploma / MA Degree in International Development by flexible and distance learning (FDL) offers learners the opportunity to combine work and study anywhere in the world, while still connecting online with a diverse and vibrant learning community. Learners can undertake the MA completely online or they can combine the best of distance and e-learning with classroom participation – it is tailored to the needs of learners who like to study in their own time and at their own pace, but still want to have the option of drawing on the benefits of face to face, participatory and experience-based interaction with other participants and tutors.

It is a less costly option than a face to face programme, especially for learners living outside of Dublin or Ireland, as travel and living expenses are minimised, and because you can continue to work where you are based. Despite geographical distance, by participating in online discussions and other networked activities, learners are still part of a community of learners at Kimmage.

Participants successfully completing the programme will be awarded an internationally recognised MA in International Development, validated by Maynooth University.

This programme is aimed at advanced level participants who hold a primary degree or equivalent qualifications and who have experience of working in a development context. 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. Some places are also retained for recent graduates who wish to study further before embarking on a career in development work.

MA learners who combine online and classroom based learning can specialise within the programme by choosing from a number of elective areas that are most suited to their area of interest. These ‘specialist pathways’ include ‘Globalisation and Change’; ‘People Centred Development’ and ‘Development and Management’. Note that this course is also available through the Full-Time Study and Part-Time Learning options.

What this Programme is About

The programme is designed to prepare participants for work in 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 research, leadership and working with groups and in the planning, management and evaluation of development projects

The programme aims to give participants the opportunity to develop:

  • a critical awareness of social, economic and management issues underlying socio economic change
  • conceptual and analytical skills critical to understanding and engaging with contemporary debates relating to development, including contrasting arguments and understandings of development processes
  • the ability to apply such knowledge to policy analysis and practical problem solving
  • a set of operational skills pertinent to working in the public, private, faith-based and NGO domains, especially in relation to leadership, motivation and working with groups and in the planning, management and evaluation of development projects
  • understanding of research processes appropriate to different development contexts and issues, and the ability to undertake effective primary research in the development field
  • new friendships and contacts with a dynamic and diverse group of committed people


We are accepting applications for the following online modules commencing March 2018:

Learners can commence with just one, or a number of these modules, continuing with further modules in October 2018, to build credit towards an MA award.


Applicants to the PG Dip or MA programme must hold a University Degree, preferably in a development related discipline. Those with a professional background in some form of development work are particularly welcome to apply. In exceptional cases, applicants without a degree may be considered on the strength of their professional work experience and qualifications.

English Language

All applicants to the PG/MA in International Development must have a high level of English language ability in reading, writing and study skills, equivalent to a score of 6.5, or higher, in the IELTS test, or a score of at least 580 in the paper-based TOEFL test (PBT), 237 in the computerised TOEFL test (CBT), or 90 in the Internet test (IBT), is required. Applicants for whom English is not their first language will be asked to provide evidence of language ability as tested by the British Council, or another registered body.

Computer Requirements

Proof of computer proficiency, e.g., the ECDL, is not required for acceptance to the programme, however, all candidates should have competency in using Internet, email and word processing and must have access to the use of a computer with the following capabilities:

  • Internet connection and an up to date web browser such as Internet Explorer 6.0 or above.
  • Access to a private email account.
  • Software that can read Word and PDF files.
  • Sufficient capacity for downloading and use of any required software.
  • Access to video camera, audio and microphone and Skype
  • Access to a printer is desirable as it will enable you to print out hard copies of materials from the online platform.

Learners can take a general MA in International Development degree, or choose from a number of specialist MA pathways by selecting certain elective options.

It is possible to take the General MA in International Development entirely by Flexible and Distance Learning (though you can, if you wish, attend some modules in Kimmage). If you wish, as part of your General MA, to choose particular elective options which are not available by FDL, you will need to attend Kimmage to take some modules in a face-to-face classroom setting. Contact us for further information on this.

Mandatory Modules

Mandatory Modules
Introduction to Political Economy
Gender and Development
Introduction to Development Theory and Practice
Adult Learning for Development
Research Methods
Dissertation (MA only)

Module terms run from October to January, and March to June.


Learners choose from any of the electives listed below to the value of 30 credits. Students must take at least one of Managing Development Organisations (KD603) and Results-Based Management (KD612), but may take both.

Elective Modules
Anthropology and Globalisation
Conflict, Development and Security
Facilitation for Change
Financial Management
Globalisation and Movements for Change
Health and Development
Human Development
Human Rights and Advocacy
Leadership in Groups
Managing Development Organisations
Political Economy of Environment and Development
Results Based Management for Development
Sustainable Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation

Please note that some modules may not be available or may have to be re-scheduled to allow for minimum numbers of participants [minimum = 12 participants required for Kimmage DSC classroom modules and minimum of 10 participants required for FDL and VCT modules].


For each module delivered by Distance Learning you will be required to submit a final written assignment for 50% of marks. In addition you take tutor marked continuous assessment assignments and participate in forum discussions for each module – which account for 50% of marks. For these you receive feedback which will help you to see your progress. For modules delivered by classroom (face-to-face) format, assessment is by a combination of continuous assessment, project work, examination or final essays. Participants who continue towards an MA award are expected to submit a final dissertation [20,000 words] within the time allocated.


The PG Diploma/MA in International Development by FDL commences in March and October of each year. Learners who opt to register for the full MA through the FDL mode of delivery, can complete the entire programme in 25 months (20 months for a PG Diploma), if they choose the ‘Fast Track’ option; or 4 years (3 years for a PG Dip) if taking the MA through the ‘Slow Track’ option. It is is also possible to start by taking single modules (short courses), and then decide at a later stage to continue for a full award. See details below.

Study time for each module is approx. 100 hours. For FDL, this study time is usually undertaken over a period of 14 – 15 weeks in each of two semesters (October – January and March – June). For those doing the PG Diploma/MA (Fast Track), learners are encouraged to undertake 3 – 4 modules each semester over a period of 4 semesters. Learners may decide to take the ‘slow track’ approach, taking, for example, single modules only in some semesters and 2 or more modules in others. This allows learners to complete the PG Diploma or MA over a longer period of time (e.g., over approx. 3 years).

For FDL, it is expected that each unit (4 units in each module) will require 3 weeks study @ 6 hours per week. This includes reading module materials, reflections and exercises, participation in discussion forums, continuous assessment and additional reading. Summative or final assessment requires approx. 25 additional hours. There are no hard and fast rules around how much time you will need to spend on any aspect of the course, but it is important to be clear that if you are undertaking two or three modules over a 15 week period (including assessment), it is likely that you will need to spend approx. 6 hours study on each module each week.


Once registered you will be sent a password that gives you access to the Kimmage DSC FDL Moodle virtual learning environment. This provides easy access to study resources, as well as fast and efficient academic and administrative support. It also enables you to be part of a learning community by discussing both academic and non academic issues with tutors and fellow learners through the Internet.

You will have access to :

  • Discussion Forums where you will engage with your tutors and other learners on a regular basis and where you will be informed of important events, resources, etc.
  • Orientation Materials and A Study Guide for each FDL module offering an introduction to the programme, an introduction to the online learning environment, useful administrative information, study tips and advice, and a study calender, which assists you in planning your study, as well as highlighting important deadlines
  • Detailed Course Materials for each FDL module you have registered for, which will take you through your programme of self directed study. Composed of different Units, these materials incorporate exercises, assignments and other activities into the study text. Unit Materials can be downloaded and printed.
  • Links to key Essential and Background Readings for each module and other relevant resources
  • Assignment Submission and Tutor Feedback Area


Our online application system to the FDL programme is bespoke and has been designed and developed with security as a priority. All personal information of applicants is protected and inaccessible from those without login information, which is restricted to specific Kimmage DSC personnel.

Internet Access

In relation to participant access, even those with slower Internet speeds will be able to use the online learning environment, while it will run most effectively for those with reasonably fast broadband connections. Learners with lower Internet speeds will be specifically considered in relation to the download times of programme material, which will be compressed and optimised where possible.

Library Access

You will be issued with an Athens password to gain access the the Kimmage DSC online library resources. There is also a library resources section and discussion forum on Moodle, supported by the Kimmage DSC librarian, where learners and tutors can access and share useful online resources.

Study Support

Tutors are allocated to each distance learning module, allowing numerous opportunities for receiving support and guidance from subject specialists through the study year. Tutors will also provide feedback on discussion forum and continuous assessment assignments. Administrative and IT support will also be available to those who need it.


The Short Course Scheme enables participants to study one or more individual modules outside the structure of one of our formal programmes. Single Modules are ideal for participants who wish to update their professional knowledge, enhance their career, or sample the PG/MA programme.

Single Module learners can subsequently transfer and register for the full MA or PG Diploma and will be credited with any modules already successfully completed. To register they will have to pay the registration fee in addition to further module fees. Single Module learners are not permitted to undertake Research Methods 2, or an MA dissertation, without successfully completing all other course modules.

Short Course Scheme applicants should complete exactly the same Online Application form as other applicants, but should be careful to indicate their module/course choices where indicated on the form (see Application Details below). Short Course participants receive exactly the same study materials and access to the FDLMA online platform as participants registered for the PG Dip/MA, however access will be restricted to only those modules for which they have paid.


Both the PG Diploma and the MA in International Development are Level 9 awards under the Irish National Framework of Qualifications and are validated by Maynooth University.

Participants for this programme are accepted on to a common postgraduate programme. Participants who meet the required Pass standard having completed all course work modules, will be permitted to continue towards an MA award (90 credits )

Participants who choose to exit their programme having completed all modules, or those who do not meet the minimum standard, will be registered for the award of Post-Graduate Diploma in International Development (60 credits).

If you chose to undertake just one, or a few, modules, you will receive Single Subject certification which will record: the Level of the Award, the module/course(s) completed, results, and credits.

Graduates of the PG Diploma and MA in International Development programmes have gone on to work in areas such as health, environment, human rights, gender and development, agriculture and education.
These include personnel in senior management positions in NGOs, Faith-Based Organisations and in local government in Ethiopia, Lesotho Malawi, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia, UN staff and volunteers in Sierra Leone, Nepal, Afghanistan and Mozambique, community development facilitators in Peru, Liberia, Myanmar and Ireland, as well as human rights and peace activists in Pakistan, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.

Click here for a selection of profiles of former students.

Apply for Single Module Study

Permanent link to this article: http://kimmagedsc.ie/studying-at-kimmage-dsc/fdlma-2/