UCC Undergraduate courses

International Development

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    International Development

  • Code


  • College

    Business and Law

  • Duration

    4 Years

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    BSc (Hons)

  • Fees

    EU Student Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    2 x H5, 4 x O6/H7; O6/H7 in Maths. See Requirements for full details.

  • CAO Points

    2021: 332

  • CAO Points Range

    2021: 332-579

Course Outline

Are you interested in human rights, health, education and environment in the context of development? Or the UN's sustainable goals and the fight against global hunger and poverty?  If so, this programme will be of interest to you.

The BSc International Development and Food Policy is the first undergraduate programme in Ireland to have a primary focus on international development, particularly on the countries of the global south. It will help you understand key issues of development and deliver skills such as languages, research techniques and project management.

In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to undertake a five-month work placement, typically with a development agency based in a developing country in Africa or Asia. 

The course addresses key challenges in global development:

  • Poverty and hunger
  • Agricultural and rural development
  • Food policy and food systems
  • Human rights, governance and gender
  • Health and development
  • Climate change
  • Role of international development agencies and non-governmental organisations
  • Migration and Refugees

It aims to:

  • Develop your understanding of the multidimensional nature of international development
  • Develop your understanding of cross-disciplinary methods for analysis of key development challenges
  • Equip you with practical skills to address global challenges
  • Ensure you can work effectively as individuals and in team settings


Year 1
Core modules:

  • FE1008 Data in Development studies
  • FE1013 Introduction to Development Studies I
  • FE1014 Communication and Facilitation Skills in Development
  • FE1018 Introduction to Development Studies II
  • FE1019 Introduction to Food and Agricultural Economics
  • FE1023 Socio-Economic Concepts for International Development and Food Policy
  • FE1024 Introduction to Development Economics
  • FE1025 Introduction to Sustainable Rural Development
  • GV1218 International Politics
  • SC1012 Introduction to Sociology (Part A)

Students select 10 credits from the following:


FR0105 Introduction to French
FR1005 French for Near Beginners*
FR1105 Threshold French**
FR1107 French for Reading Purposes I
HS0028 Spanish Language (Beginner Level) (10 credits)
GV1102 Introduction to Government and Politics
GV1204 Democracy, Ideology and Utopia
GV1400 Local Development and Public Health
MG1000 Principles of Management

Year 2
Core modules:

  • Food policy
  • Globalisation and development
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Supply chain management
  • Human rights law
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Small enterprise development

You can also pursue optional courses in languages, health, nutrition or government.

Year 3
Core modules:

  • Programme planning and management
  • Research methods
  • Agricultural systems in the developing world
  • Gender and development
  • Microfinance or food marketing

A key undertaking in Year 3 is the 24-week work placement: in most cases the placement is overseas in a developing country working with a development organisation. 

Year 4
You will write a dissertation on a topic relevant to international development. You will also study modules in:

  • Advanced programme planning
  • Global food policy
  • Macro-economics 
  • Humanitarian action 
  • Contemporary issues in development.

In addition, you can take optional courses in rural development, co-operatives, markets and social policy, languages, health and government.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

Direct contact hours through lectures normally comprise 12 hours per week. In first year, additional tutorials may be scheduled. There is a significant amount of continuous assessment in the course, including through assignments, group projects, in-class presentations. Students are expected to devote sufficient time to reading, preparation of assignments etc, as required in a full-time course.

Overseas placement in 3rd year will cost approximately €3,000 - €4,000 (partial bursaries may be available). 


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have formal examinations.  Many modules use other types of assessment including written assignments, group projects, in-class presentations, and some in-class tests.

The work placement in Year 3 is assessed on a pass/fail basis.


Why Choose This Course

My experience in Ethiopia


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My experience in Northern India


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My experience in Bolivia


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My experience in Malawi


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My experience in West Sumatra


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On this course, students engage with major global issues from a development perspective. These issues include poverty, hunger and inequality, sustainability, international food policy, human rights, peace and conflict, gender studies and climate change.

The course will give you the foundations necessary to work in the field of international development, whether with a non-governmental organisation, a state agency, an international organisation or within the private sector, or to advance to further study.  A distinctive feature of this course is the five-month work placement with a development agency, usually based in a developing country in Asia, Africa or Latin America. This allows students to gain hands-on experience of working in international development, to develop their practical skills and experience other cultures and societies.

The course provides a broad training in key socio-economic areas related to international development and food policy, as well as a set of generic transferable skills, such as programme management, research and report writing that will be valued by employers in many fields, particularly those operating in an international context.

Key facts

  • In-depth focus on international development and food policy issues over four years
  • Course input from development practitioners
  • Mix of theoretical and practical skills
  • Multi-disciplinary staff with a wealth of international experience
  • International work experience with a recognised development organisation

Placement or Study Abroad Information

A central feature of the course is the work placement, which takes place over five months in third year. Students are placed with well-established development organisations throughout the developing world and in Ireland to gain first-hand experience of development work. Students on placement are supported by a Placement Officer and allocated a Mentor from the Department of Food Business and Development.

A typical work experience includes opportunities to meet with communities in urban and rural areas, contribute to new development projects, run a social media campaign, conduct field reserach, draft policy document and funding proposals, and generally contribute to the daily operations of the host organisation.

Countries to which students travel include Ethiopia, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Cambodia, Thailand and Bolivia. As well as the practical experience of development on the ground and the technical skills acquired on placement, you will achieve valuable personal development in terms of self-reliance, self-confidence, communications,  and working in teams.

Africa Direct have found the students to be very helpful in getting a good insight into how our partners are performing. The standard of students has been very high and they have produced insightful reports as well as working productively for partners.” – John Slattery, Africa Direct.

Skills and Careers Information

Students on this course develop skills to work effectively in the areas of international development and food policy. These include project management, research methods, data analysis, programme evaluation and policy analysis. Students also develop a strong understanding of key global issues such as global poverty and hunger, migration, sustainable development,  human rights, race, gender, conflict and food systems. Students acquire general transferrable skills in areas such as IT, economic literacy, capacity for cross disciplinary understanding, team work, communications and report writing. French, Chinese and Spanish language options are also available.

Graduates  work in a wide range of organisations, e.g., within the UN system on refugee issues (UNHCR) and on gender equality (UN Women). Graduates also work in some of Ireland’s largest NGOs, including Concern and Trócaire, in areas such as agricultural development, human rights, poverty alleviation and food programmes. Employers value the diverse skills of our graduates who are well-prepared for work in  a wide variety of public and private sector organisations.


Leaving Certificate entry requirements

Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:



Other Language






*For 2021 entry, students must achieve a minimum O6/H7 in another language.

Mature students

Applicants should apply directly through the CAO (www.cao.ie), include a statement of interest and may be called for interview.  Applicants are assessed on education, life and/or relevant experience as demonstrated in the CAO Application and statement of interest.  

Find out about the mature entry requirements here.

International Students should visit the International Education website.

FETAC Requirements

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. The state will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student Contribution and Capitation Fees are payable by the student. In 2021/22 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €130.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

EU Applicants

Application to Year 1 of the degree programme is made directly through the Central Applications Office (CAO). Applicants should apply online at www.cao.ie. The normal closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of entry.

Non-EU Applicants

Mature Applicants

Application is made through the CAO (www.cao.ie) and the closing date for receipt of completed applications is 1st February of the year of proposed entry.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact