Master’s in Development Practice (MDP)

What is the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Degree?

The Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) at UB is a modular cross-disciplinary program providing skills and knowledge required to better identify and address the global challenges of sustainable development, such as poverty, population, health, conservation, climate change, and human rights. Core courses cover the natural, social, health, and management sciences. A global course on Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development brings together expert practitioners, students and faculty from around the world. Practical field training and academic programs are being launched in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (MAF) committed 16 million US$ over the period from 2009 to 2013 to create MDP programmes at over 20 universities worldwide and with it a global network of faculty, students, practitioners and partner organisations.

As one of the nine universities selected by MAF for delivery in 2010, the University of Botswana has been awarded 2.5 million Pula (330,000 US$) for seed funding. However, UB’s MDP framework considerably differs from other partners’ programmes by integrating a compulsory in-company research project and by its modular mode. By departing from full-time delivery, UB’s MDP will allow professional capacity development for participants living outside the capital’s catchment area, from Botswana as well as from other member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). An accreditation of UB’s modular MDP with a European agency is under way, making it particularly convenient and attractive for international exchange students and/ or regional volunteers to engage in part of UB’s MDP and to take worldwide recognised credits back to their home institutions. The MDP also integrates Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas for participants only interested in selected MDP modules.

What prompted the Promotion of Global MDP Programmes?

In 2007, the International Commission on Education for Development Professionals set out to challenge the narrow scope of current respective programmes available and to broaden the training and knowledge base by integrating the core disciplines of health, natural and social sciences and management. By acquiring interdisciplinary knowledge as well as practical skills via two intensive practical field-training experiences, students are equipped to work across different fields to design and manage integrated development interventions and to implement appropriate policies to support sustainable devel-opment. Hence, the MDP will provide training and competencies beyond the typical classroom study of economics and management found in most development studies programs.

What Professional & Career-oriented Aims underpin UB’s MDP?

UB fully backs the recommended multidisciplinary approach to sustainable development and employs a holistic perspective by integrating systems thinking, economic, natural resource, health, social, ecological, technological, environmental, legal, and management dimensions. UB’s MDP promotes modular study opportunities for regional and international students as well as for professional capacity development. It, particularly, supports – together with other modular programmes at UB – organisations in regard to their staff development, recruitment and retention needs by enabling convenient access for citizens residential/ employed outside Gaborone, less time-consuming and less costly compared to academic competitors in the region. Graduates will be well prepared to confront complex sustainable development challenges in the private or public sector. The MDP’s structure, contents, delivery, and assessments are geared towards the achievement of five major aims:

  • Integration of the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice Recommendations incl. scope, duration, contents, and learning outcomes of the eighteen competency areas expressed (see front cover) across the four key disciplines (health, management, natural & social sciences);
  • Compliance with Regional Credit and Qualification Frameworks concerning size and workload distribution of postgraduate qualification(s) and level descriptors;
  • Equivalence of UB’s MDP with international qualifications as evidenced by an International Accreditation Agency’s Audit during the first year of delivery;
  • Development of communication, project management, and leadership skills as expected by the professional world of government, enterprises and other organisations, as exemplified by the findings of the Global MBA Recruiters Survey and UB’s Graduate Attributes;
  • Contribution to Botswana’s Economic and Social Development Agenda by assuring that graduates entering employment are equipped with knowledge, skills, entrepreneurial talent as well as attitudes to create a society and economy that will bring benefits for the advancement of the country and its people.

Special MDP Regulations

In order to be awarded the MDP degree, a participant must complete successfully all the programme elements as listed in chapter 4.3 and earn 125 UB/ECTS credits for the Master, 48 UB/ECTS credits for the Postgraduate Diploma, or 24 UB/ECTS credits for a Postgraduate Certificate. Credits taken at another tertiary institution as exchange student or credits recognised based on UB’s ‘Articulation, Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy and Procedures’ can be taken into account.

Subject to regulations governing Admissions, Fees, and Discipline, the provisions of Academic General Regulations 000, and General Regulations for Master’s Degree 40.00 and 41:00, the following special regulations of the School of Graduate Studies as the coordinator and the Faculty of Social Science as awarding body of the MDP shall apply.

40.24 A graduate MDP student undertaking an in-company research project may apply on behalf of the respective organisation to the MDP Board for a confidentiality agreement which places time-limited restrictions on the presentation of the Dissertation, or the deposition of the Dissertation in the University Library or other libraries.

41 Regulations Specific for the MDP Degree Programme

41.1 The programme of study will be offered for the award of the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Degree (3,125 hours, 125 credits)

Postgraduate Diploma in Development Management (1,200 hours, 48 credits)

PG Certificate in Sustainable Development Practice (600 hours, 24 credits)

PG Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Development ( 600 hours, 24 credits)

PG Certificate in Water Resource Management (600 hours, 24 credits)

PG Certificate in Sustainable Infrastructure Development (600 hours, 24 credits)

shall be specified in the Programme and School Regulations and shall be offered in the following mode: Modular Course Work, Field Study/Studies, and Dissertation (for Master qualification).

Course Table for the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP)

Code                        Credits          Type                   Module or Course Title

STM610                    9 (2wk)         Module                 Systems Thinking & Methodologies (STM)
FDP620                    9 (2wk)         Module                 Fundamentals of Development Practice (FDP)
LDP602                    2 (1wk)         Excursions             Local Development Projects (Field Visits)
TAP630                     9 (2wk)         Module                 Tropical Agriculture & Pre-Field Study (TAP)
HSM640                   9 (2wk)         Module                 Health Sector Management (HSM)
TKS710                     12 (3wk)       Module                 Towards a Knowledge Society (TKS)
MDI720                    12 (3wk)       Module                 Managing Development Interventions (MDI)
SID730                     12 (3wk)       Module                 Sustainable Infrastructure Development (SID)
SDP740                    12 (3wk)       Module                 Sustainable Development Practice (SDP)
GLO601                    3                  Online                  Global Classroom
FDP701                    12                Practice                Field Placement 300 hours or
FDT702                    12 (6wk)       Practice                Field Training Programme 300 hours
FDT703                    24                Research               Advanced Field Training incl. Thesis 600 hours

41.3 Entrance Qualifications

41.3.1 The normal minimum entrance requirement for the graduate MDP programmes shall be one of the following: a minimum of a 2.2 or equivalent in their first degree, relevant to the MDP.

41.3.2 In addition, the programme will cater for two student categories:

(a) Candidates who fulfil the academic entry requirement and who at the time of application are working in the field of development. Such candidates will be required to have gained at least two years of work experience in the area of development.

(b) Alternatively, the programme will cater for individuals with a professional training who want to convert their existing qualifications into a development orientated qualification. These candidates will also be expected to fulfil the academic entry requirement but will be exempted from the two year work experi-ence requirement.

41.3.3 Candidates who already hold a post-graduate degree will be exempt from the 41.3.2 academic requirements.

41.3.4 In the case of all candidates, preference will be given to those who plan to make a career in areas specifically related to issues of development policy and practice.

41.4 Application for Admission

41.4.6 Students who have failed any of the MDP programmes are eligible to re-apply to that programme after one semester. Re-application is limited to two times.

41.5 Programme Structure

The curriculum for the MDP degree programmes shall be specified in Departmental and School Regulations.

41.5.1 Duration of the Programme

  • The normal duration for a student in a MDP programme shall be as follows:
  • A minimum of 28 months to a maximum of 72 months in the modular mode for Master and Postgraduate Diploma; 28 months to a maximum of 36 months for Postgraduate Certificates.

41.6 Registration

41.6.1 According to the recommended MDP programme progression, the normal workload for a modular MDP student shall be 48 notional hours for on-campus residential weeks and 12 hours for interim off-campus weeks. The workloads in the modular delivery mode vary according to scheduling.

41.6.2 To be awarded a MDP degree, a candidate must complete a minimum of 125 credits and complete all work as specified in Programme and Course Outlines resulting in a minimum GPA of 2.5 (55%) in all courses including the Research Dissertation.

41.6.3 The general regulation 41.6.3 does not apply due to the modular delivery modes of the MDP programme.

41.7 Assessment

In accordance with the General Regulations for Master’s Degree 41.7.

41.7.1 Continuous Assessment: Continuous Assessment shall be as prescribed in General Regulation 00.81. Other modes of assessment deemed fit by the course lecturer could be used subject to approval of departmental quality assur-ance committees.

41.8 Progression from Modular Phase to Modular Phase

41.8.1 Cancelled.

41.8.2 A student who has maximal one course shown as failed or incomplete in his/her transcript at any time may register for the next module or modular phase.

41.8.3 Students are permitted to retake a failed course only once. All core courses must be passed. A failed optional course may be replaced by another (substitute) optional course, which must be passed straight away.

41.8.4 Add Regulation 41.8.4 and should read: A student who obtains less than 50% of courses registered in a semester will have failed the programme. Regulation was omitted in 2012/2013 SGS Academic Calendar. As a result, regulation 41.8.4 becomes 41.8.5, 41.8.5 becomes 41.8.6, 41.8.6 becomes 41.8.7.

41.8.5. With the approval of the School Board and the School of Graduate Studies Board, MDP programme regulations can stipulate how individual parts of a failed course’s Continuous Assessment can, in a limited time frame, be repeated without having to retake the complete course. The choice of this option by the student constitutes a re-take of the student according to 41.8.3; any part of the continuous assessment can be re-taken only once and the mark of the re-take supersedes the initial mark.

41.9 Dissertation

in accordance with the General Regulations for Master’s Degree 41.9

41.9.1 The Dissertation Supervisor shall normally be nominated by the School before the registration of the dissertation. Such a supervisor shall normally be a member of academic staff of the related MDP departments in which the research is being pursued, or with the approval of the School of Graduate Studies, the Supervisor may be from another department or appropriate external institution. The Department shall nominate up to 2 additional members who shall be Co-Supervisors, who with the Supervisor shall constitute a Supervision Committee. In case of an in-company project, a co-supervisor - if adequately qualified - can be from an external organisation.

41.9.7 The Dissertation shall normally be submitted within two semesters for modular students, after the semester the proposal has been approved.

41.9.9 In case of an In-company project, the Supervisor is expected to endorse or prepare a short briefing concerning the particular complexities the student has encountered/tackled in his/her in-company research dissertation to assist the internal and external examiners in making an informed assessment.

41.10 Research Essay - not applicable

41.11 Examination of a Dissertation

in accordance with the General Regulations for Master’s Degree 41.11

41.12 Notification of results and award of the MDP degree in accordance with the General Regulations for Master’s Degree 41.12

41.13 Evidence of proficiency in English language is a requirement


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