2021 start

Intercultural Communication and International Development

School of Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences

The world needs developers who can communicate across cultural boundaries and bring people together. You'll learn best practice for effective communication at work across a wide range of cultural groups, and develop your communication skills in more than one language.
Students taking photographs of their surroundings whilst on a field trip to the Galapagos Islands

Course description

This interdisciplinary course is designed to produce international development practitioners with advanced intercultural communication skills.

You'll develop a critical understanding of the role culture and communication play in international development. You’ll also learn the theory and practice of intercultural communication and international development, and how to apply these to real-life situations. 

The course is taught by the School of Languages and Cultures and the Department of Geography. A module on international project management integrates the two subjects and there are communication seminars designed for developers.

On our MA you'll develop essential skills in ethnographic research and form systematic approaches to understanding others’ perspectives. This course will help you develop an intercultural lens on the world’s most pressing problems.

The course includes a ten-day field class overseas that provides hands-on experience of research. Recent destinations have included the Galapagos, Tanzania and Nepal. The cost of the field trip class is included in the fees.

Dissertation placement

There will be an extra cost for the dissertation placement (which is often in the global south) but it's great experience and value for money. All students take a dissertation placement.

Our students are placed with some of the world's leading international agencies on the dissertation placement. Most of our placements are in the global south. We have some in the UK, and even a few in Sheffield, but unless you have overriding reasons (such as caring responsibilities) you should expect to do your placement outside the UK. 

Costs vary depending on the location of the placement – whether overseas or in the UK. You'll need to think about the cost of flights, accommodation, food and transport, which can add up to around £1,500 in addition to your tuition fees.

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This course is highly flexible – through optional modules you’ll have a variety of ways to develop your language skills and interests.

Explore core and optional modules


Lectures, seminars, small-group work, one-on-one consultations with staff, and workshops.


You’re assessed on coursework and a dissertation. The dissertation involves a work placement (often undertaken in the global south) with a development organisation.


1 year full-time

Your career

Our MA opens up a wide range of career paths in a multitude of industries. Our graduates work for non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam, the public sector, including the UN Habitat, and companies in the private sector.

Graduate roles include: intercultural trainer; adviser to non-governmental organisations; international partnerships officer; policy officer; project manager; consultant; and research officer.

Some of our graduates have also set up their own companies, or go on to PhDs.

Graduate profile: Shaza

MA Intercultural Communication and International Development graduate Shaza went to Sierra Leone on her research placement. After graduating, she got a job working for the Catholic Mission in Sierra Leone. She now writes and manages grants for the University of Makeni and Caritas for community development projects.

Postgraduate Cameron Fay, Intercultural Communication and International Development

The scholarship I received has allowed me to pursue my ambitions of undertaking an MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development. Coming from a low-income background, without it I would not have been able to fund my masters for many years. It has taken much of the financial stress out of studying and, as I am not having to work too many hours to fund my living costs, I am able to dedicate some hours towards volunteering with a local refugee centre.

It also allows me to engage fully with the course and take advantage of the opportunity to go on the field trip to either the Galapagos, Tanzania or Nepal, and to gain professional experience with an NGO in Mozambique!

Cameron Fay
MA Intercultural Communication and International Development

Entry requirements

A 2:1 in an arts or social sciences subject and an advanced working knowledge of two languages (CEFR B1/B2).

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or equivalent.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

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+44 114 222 0631

+44 114 222 7900

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.