Friday, 27 May 2011

Development, Islam & the Muslim World


This innovative programme aims to train students to undertake studies and research addressing socio-economic as well as politico-cultural changes in Muslim-majority as well as Muslim-minority countries/regions around the world taking into account moral and religious values.

Programme Aims

The programme will examine the core issues of development studies, particularly socio-economic changes, global poverty, inequalities and relevant issues in developing countries with particular reference to the Muslim world. For Muslims, Islam is an essential part of daily life, which has far-reaching impact in social and political aspects of societies.

The programme will be taught from multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives, particularly from historical, sociological, anthropological, economic, and political perspectives in relation to various understandings of modernity and development in Islamic tradition as well as Islamic societies. Islam’s rich past has demonstrated a significant capacity for social and economic development, the flourishing and transmission of knowledge between Islamic world and other civilisations, and tolerance and acceptance of other religions, cultures and peoples. Many developing countries with large Muslim communities have large natural resources and considerable potential for growth and development, yet many are poverty stricken. Islam as the second largest religion after Christianity is the most influential religion in the political and social life of many Muslim-majority countries. It plays an important factor in influencing social, political and economic policies.

Students will be provided with a framework to study, research, and understand some of these and many other questions through studying this particular course.   Students will have the opportunity to study the complexity of modern Muslim societies and immense potentials for their socio-economic developments.   They will undertake detailed studies and analysis, which will contribute to global peace and prosperity. The focus  will be on theory and practice of development and modernisation within Muslim-majority countries as well as in countries such as European countries, where Muslims form large communities, but remain in the margins of society. There will be opportunity to investigate the causes of such marginalisation and how using Islamic teachings and framework they can overcome some of their problems both in Muslim world and where they form considerable large communities.


There are no exams. All assessment is by coursework, with most subjects assessed by a combination of:

  • A Critical Review (2,000 words)
  • An Essay (3-4,000 words)
  • A Seminar Presentation

Students who undertake an MSc will also be required to complete a research dissertation of 15-18,000 words.

Further Study & Careers

This programme will be useful for those who want to go on to teach in the field. Others may go on to use their expertise and qualifications to go on to further studies, or to work in areas such as: government services at local, national and international levels; diplomacy; consultancy and project work, developing co-operation in non-governmental and international organisations; the media, the voluntary sector and NGOs.

Programme Elements

Politics of Development

This course examines the different historical, political and sociological approaches to development that have been adopted since the 19th Century. Using case studies from around the world, the course explores the main challenges facing development today, and analyses new trends and opportunities. The attempt to eliminate global poverty and the obstacles that hinder this will also be discussed.

Human Rights: An Introduction

This course provides students with the tools to discuss and evaluate the links between human rights and international development. It asks the question: ‘What is the relationship between rights and culture?’, and looks at concepts such as ‘Good Governance’ and ‘Accountability’. The course provides a history and overview of the UN approach to development, and examines its implications, and the challenges and opportunities it faces, with particular reference to Muslim contexts.

Development Management

This course aims to equip students with the skills and tools required to manage development projects. It examines practical and theoretical approaches to development, and uses case studies to provoke discussion about the risks involved in development work, and about ways that they can be identified and reduced.

Development & Islam

This course explores the problems faced by development projects in Islamic communities, and examines how Islamcan provide a framework to meet challenges such as human law development, poverty, and migration. The course also relates the contemporary challenges of development to colonialism, post-colonialism, capitalism and globalisation in Muslim-majority countries.

Optional Course 1

Students choose one course from a list which will be made available at the start of the Autumn Semester.

Postgraduate Research Methods

This course addresses various research methods in the humanities and social sciences (e.g. analytical, comparative, historical and social) and introduces an in-depth critical analysis of contemporary research methods. Students engage with qualitative and quantitative methodologies in historical, textual, anthropological (ethnographic) and social scientific disciplines. They are also expected to reflect on different methodologies and select appropriate methodological approaches for their own research.


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