MA Intercultural Communication and International Development (MAICID)

In an unequal world, it can be easy for power to play a large role in decision-making and planning. International development practitioners with a critical understanding of the role of culture and communication in international development are better placed to make a real difference in contributing to solving some of the world’s most pressing human problems.

Why Sheffield?

  • Reflective Practice: Ethnography. Essential research skills;
  • Gives you an intercultural lens on world’s pressing problems;
  • Development research projects in the Global South;
  • IC in Practice. Hands-on intercultural problem-solving; finding creative solutions to problems; mediation in conflict situations;
  • Take an intercultural perspective on your personal and professional interests – solve problems which others don’t know how to;

At a glance

  • Entry: a British 2:1 degree, or equivalent, in Arts or Social Sciences
  • Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
  • Award: MA

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The world has moved a long way since the days of ‘aid’. This interdisciplinary course provides students with the opportunity to develop their expertise in both intercultural communication and international development. It responds to a recognised need for international developers with a high level of intercultural communication knowledge and skills, as well as professional interculturalists who can advise international developers in their work.

The MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development is one of our MA programmes in Translation and Intercultural Communication Studies. This programme is jointly taught between the School of Languages and Cultures and the Department of Geography.

It is designed for those who wish to become highly effective intercultural communicators in international and social development, it covers the main theories and concepts of intercultural communication as well as the changing theory, policy and practice of international development, considering their combined practical application to real-life international development contexts. You will develop essential skills in ethnographic research, which allow you to develop systematic approaches to understanding others’ perspectives. The importance of this in the international development field cannot be underestimated. At the same time, you can shape the course to suit your personal career needs and interests, choosing between various language, development and other subject options.

The MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development is one of our five Translation and Intercultural Communication Studies courses which offer post-graduate specialisations in closely related subject areas:
MA in Intercultural Communication
MA in Multilingual Information Management
MA in Screen Translation
MA in Translation Studies


By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Analyse and critically evaluate the main theories in intercultural communication and international development;
  • Relate these theories to real-life intercultural development contexts;
  • Evaluate, monitor and improve communication and/or development systems;
  • Develop independent research skills.

There are also many opportunities for you to sit in on modules in addition to those you are registered for. Please note that the course details set out here may change before you start, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the course start date.

Module content

The Programme Leader for the MA Intercultural Communication and International Development is Dr Jane Woodin.

It is delivered by the School of Languages and Cultures and the department of Geography.

To qualify for the award of MA in Intercultural Communication, students must accumulate 180 credits* over 12 months (full-time study) or 24 months (part-time study). This programme can also be taken as a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or as a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) respectively.

 Examples of the core and optional modules are listed below:

Core Modules
Module Credits
Concepts and Approaches in Intercultural Communication 15
Reflective Practice: Ethnography 15
Intercultural Communication in Practice 15
International Development Field Class 15
Ideas and Practice in International Development 15
Dissertation with Placement 60
Research Methods in Modern Languages and Cultures 15
Study and Dissertation Support 0
Optional Modules
Module Credits
Choose three modules to the value of 50 credits from :
the Department of Geography's Masters' programmes here
International Project Management 15

Translation Skills. Choose one translation option from the list below:
Advanced Translation from English into Chinese
Advanced Translation from French
Advanced Spanish-English Translation
Advanced English-Arabic Translation
Advanced Dutch-English Translation
Advanced Portuguese-English Translation
Advanced English-Italian Translation
Advanced German-English Translation
Advanced Translation from Russian
Czech to English Translation
Polish to English Translation

Language in Context 15
International Management 15
Enhanced Languages Project 1 5
Enhanced Languages Project 2 5
Tandem Learning for Intercultural Communication 15
Localisation for Linguists 15
Global Languages 15
Urban Development in the Global South 15
For full module descriptions, see the Directory of Modules here.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Teaching and learning

MA Intercultural Communication and International Development consists of a variety of teaching and learning methods, including staff- and student-led seminars, small group work, and one-on-one consultations with staff. Independent learning and assessment methods include essay writing, project work and oral presentations. All of these provide you with valuable skills for future employment. For details of learning and assessment visit our Prospectus page here.

We are also part of the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) which unites expertise and input from a range of subjects spanning politics and public health to music and sociological studies, and experience with working with a range of NGOs, public organisations and companies. You will learn invaluable research skills of participant observation which you can apply in your dissertation and future career.

Visit us to find out more about the course from the Programme Leader, see our facilities and study spaces, and much more.

Field Class

Students are required to take part in a compulsory field class to places such as Tanzania, Galapagos or Nepal (this will be arranged during the first semester).  These field class costs are included in the tuition fees. Details on the fieldwork class can be found here.

One of the unique features of this programme is the compulsory placement with dissertation. Our students are placed with some of the world's leading international agencies. Please note that the majority 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 will 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.


Our MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development opens up a wide range of career paths in a multitude of industries.

Graduates have entered careers as:

  • Intercultural trainers
  • Advisors to NGOs (non-governmental organisations)
  • International partnerships officers
  • Policy officers
  • Project managers
  • Research Officers

Companies and organisations our graduates have gone on to include:

  • Re-thinking Economics: Economics Campaign Manager
  •  the private sector (consultancy)
  • civil society (non-governmental organisations, e.g. Oxfam)
  • the public sector (government department or practitioner organisation, e.g. United Nations HABITAT organisation)

Some of our graduates have also set up their own companies, or continued onto postgraduate research degrees.

Previous students have done the following:

  • working for an NGO supporting blind women across the world (based in London);
  • working for a relocation/settlement programme in Malaysia;
  • working for a local tool manufacturing company;
  • working part-time, supporting us, here at the University;
  • worked as an International Project Officer at Doncaster College and now working as an International Partnerships Manager at a university in London;

A professional's view on Intercultural Communication and International Development

Peter Clarke, Research Officer of the Participation, Power and Social Change Team at the Institute of Development Studies

Peter has been working in International Development since 1987, including a 20-year period spent in Nicaragua. View his video to hear why he thinks that people working in International Development need to be culturally aware.

Featured graduate:

Cameron is working as an economics education campaign manager


Entry requirements

Students walking through the Language School's door

Before you apply, please make sure that you can provide the following:

  • a British Bachelor degree (with a result of 2:1 or equivalent from your country), in an Arts or Social Sciences discipline;
  • an intermediate working knowledge of 2 languages (CEFR B1/B2), one of which should be English - if your first language is not English, you must have passed the Academic IELTS language test with a score of 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).
  • Prior experience of having spent time in another country, preferably in a developing area, or volunteering in a charity/project;
  • two academic references;
  • a personal statement, in which you should, in no more than 350 words, explain why you have chosen to take an MA in Intercultural Communication and International Development and how studying this course will help you in your future career.

Deadline for applications: 31 July                                                           Apply now

English support is provided by the English Language Teaching Centre. Additional information about fees and funding and frequently asked questions is available at the links provided.