SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Development Communication

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2

Please note there are only 60 places available on this module.

The module is designed to develop theoretical / academic knowledge as well as practical skills in development communications, and the taught element is designed to achieve both these aims. The sessions are thus a mix of standard lecture format with skills workshops. Lectures will be a mix of theory and case studies in order to situate the academic knowledge within a practice context.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Introduction to development communication: what is it and why is it important?
  • The power of the media in shaping global responses to poverty & development
  • Development communication theory and practice: Behaviour Change Communications; ‘Edutainment’ and Folk Media:
  • Traditional media for development
  • Media and ICT’s: use of mobile phones & the internet
  • Communications in conflict and post-conflict societies
  • The role of development communications in international development agencies. Case study: UNICEF
  • Practical skills, including: designing a communications for Development strategy and media plan; understanding the use of technology in reporting and producing media content; practical skills in creating a Devcomm podcast: Journalism skills, reporting skills, producing,  editing and disseminating a devcomm podcast.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This module is designed to introduce students to theories, concepts and issues in development communication, and to provide practical training in development communication techniques and tools. The module will provide a combination of critical theory and practical skills that is unique in its approach and fits with the Department of Development Studies future goals.

By the end of this module, students should:

  • Have a good understanding of the role communications can play in development
  • Have a good understanding of key issues in development communications theory
  • Have a good understanding of different types of communication in relation to their role in development (their relative strengths and weaknesses, and issues that arise from the particularities of that type)
  • Have developed practical skills in designing a communications strategy for development issues, including: creating and editing podcasts and other audio output; integrating communications into development interventions; report-writing skills.


2 hour-long lectures over 8 weeks; 1 hour-long tutorial sessions over 8 weeks (linked to the lectures); Practical skills workshops: 3 hours each week for 2 weeks

Method of assessment

One essay of no more than 2500 words worth 50% of the final grade; A Multimedia Platform Project worth 40%; A Self-reflective journal worth 10% of the final grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply to this module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules