Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Adopting an applied perspective, this unit introduces students to the range of professional contexts engaged in contemporary international development practice. The core focus is on what it means to do development, in a variety of different contexts, and what knowledge and skills a development practitioner needs to have to address real challenges encountered in the field. It introduces students to key actors in international development and the working cultures of large development institutions (e.g. World Bank, UN organisations; non-government development agencies; aid/relief organisations; aid celebrities, and development academics. This exploration is set against theoretical perspectives that inform values, assumptions, rationales and ethics underpinning development practice. Students critically reflect on their own position in development and develop self-reflexive, technical and communication skills required for professionals working in international development, regional planning, and humanitarian aid.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Not available in 2024OnlineOnline timetabled

Students are able to (1) articulate the roles in and approaches to development practice, including old and new actors and institutions in the development industry; (2) critically assess the differences between different approaches to development practice, and embedded opportunities and pitfalls; (3) demonstrate how diverse theoretical perspectives of development practice lead to alternative and competing behaviours and actions; and (4) apply reflexive, technical,and communication strategies to address particular challenges and novel ways of doing development in practice.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) seminar presentation; (2) analytical assessments (reading and blogging logs); and (3) critical essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Linda Robson
Contact hours
lectures/in-class workshops: 5 hours per week (for 9 weeks)
reading/ researching/writing: 13 hours per week (for 8 weeks)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.