Independent study project in Development Studies

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 3
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

The ISP is only available to students achieving and overall 2.1 degree classification in year 2, or by permission from the ISP convenor listed on this page (this is in line with existing departmental policy)

The Independent Study Project (ISP) gives students the opportunity to develop, implement and write up an independent research project. It may be based on original field work, the critical analysis of statistical data, the critical evaluation and analysis of documents, or the original synthesis of secondary materials. Students are required to select this module through pre-registration. Any enquiries should be directed by e-mail to the ISP convenor.

See the UG Independent Study Project (ISP) Guidelines for a copy of the School’s Code of Practice on ISPs.


Students taking this option should prepare and submit a proposal title and 300 word synopsis of the proposed topic of the ISP to the ISP convenor via Moodle (deadline specified on BLE page). If informal agreements have already been made with prospective supervisors, they should also be sent copies of proposals at this time. In consultation with the ISP convenor and department staff, topics will be approved and supervisory arrangements finalised shortly thereafter. A meeting of all ISP students and the ISP convenor will also be held early in term 1 (tbc) to ensure clarity about what is required and to answer any questions students may have.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


On successful completion of the module, students will be able to

  1. Demonstrate their substantial understanding of a key issue, topic or theme relating to Development Studies.
  2. Organize their ideas in response to theoretical and empirical material and plan, develop and present a written argument in relation to this.
  3. Show their ability to effectively gather, manage, synthesize and employ relevant data in support of their written argument.
  4. Demonstrate their capacity to work independently under the guidance of an academic supervisor.
  5. Show that they have followed good academic research practice and have achieved a good level of competence in academic writing.



Teaching will be in the form of an occasional ISP seminar which will provide training in the design, preparation and writing of a research paper. Students will meet with the module convenor for occasional one hour seminars during Terms 1 and 2 and present draft outlines of work in progress for discussion and comment. In addition, each student will work under the supervision of a member of staff with relevant theoretical and/or regional specialisms. The expectation is that after finalising the study project topic (in the course of the first four weeks of term) students will meet with supervisors to discuss progress on the study project.

Scope and syllabus


Learning will be largely autonomous and independent.


Method of assessment


One report of 10,000 words. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply to this module.



Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules