Teaching and facilities

Teaching and facilities


Courses are taught by staff from a broad range of applied social and natural sciences that are working at the forefront of research and policy discussions in their own fields (click here for staff profiles). Our teaching provides an interface between theoretical understanding and practical experience, and our interactive approach to learning encourages students to develop a coherent understanding of current trends and debates.

‘Students … were attracted to the Reading Masters programmes by the variety and specificity, but most importantly, by the internationally renowned reputation of the University in general and the Graduate Institute, in particular…. they offered great praise for the overall quality of the education they had received. I judge the Masters programmes, like the Institute itself, to be among the very best in the world.’
External Examiner, 2012

How we teach

We teach using interactive lectures, critical reading tutorials, student-led small group work, field trips and learning through practice, all drawing on student participation. Students also have the opportunity to use their dissertation to carry out in-country fieldwork to build their expertise in research and analytical tools, professional engagement with policy makers or NGOs which can help career development. We also provide generic training support in research and study skills.

‘A big effort was made to bring the topics to life with real-life examples and lectures were very interactive, usually involving exercises and discussions. There was also a lot of flexibility with your module choices, which makes it possible to follow the topics you are interested in.'  Jonathan Bird, MA Social Development and Sustainable Livelihoods 2009-10

‘The most unique thing to me in this programme is that it tackles development from a wider spectrum in which solutions to development are found by the learners themselves. The independent learning skills have given me confidence to do research work and analyse different development problems and policies.’ Youngs Nyirenda, MSc in Applied Development Studies 2010-11

Programme structure and assessment

Programmes have a modular structure that allow students to select subjects that meet their own needs and interests, while developing a core set of knowledge and skills specific to their chosen degree. Masters programmes start in October and have a common format, lasting 12 months full time and 24 months part time (visa restrictions limit this to UK and EU students). Assessment is on a modular basis, using a variety of techniques suited to the subject area (essays and other assignments, problem solving exercises, presentations, class tests, and in some instances, written examinations). 

'Through the module assignments, the programme develops and further strengthens the capabilities of students towards critical thinking and analysis which is very crucial in development work.’
Diana Arboleda, MSc in Applied Development Studies 2010-11

Learning environment

We attract high calibre students from over 40 countries to the Institute each year. As well as recruiting students from the UK and EU, GIIDAE has one of the highest recruitment levels of international students in the UK and this broad international mix includes both young graduates and experienced mid-career professionals. This creates a unique learning environment for all students, with opportunities for peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.

‘I enjoyed a conducive learning environment; with excellent cordial relationship among students and lecturers from diverse countries and cultures. I also gained a wealth of knowledge and professional skills from dedicated and experienced lecturers who were always ready to attend to students.’ 

Inibehe George Ukpong, MSc Agricultural Economics 2010-11

'The highly effective and kind help of academic and administrative staff at GIIDAE ensured a support structure that saw us through the intensity very well.' 
William Mwanza, MSc Development, Policy, Practice and Process 2010-11

Overseas students choosing the University of Reading can expect a warm welcome, strong support and a high-quality living and learning experience according to the International Student Barometer (ISB) autumn 2011, which compared more than 200 international universities. The ISB found that 92% of overseas students were satisfied/very satisfied with the support they received and 87% would recommend studying at Reading, placing us in the top ten of UK institutions in this survey.


The Graduate Institute is located in a new building with state-of-the-art lecturing facilities, a PC lab with 24-hour access, wireless internet connection and its own catering facility. Campus life at the University of Reading has much to offer students. Contemporary study facilities, halls of residence, support servies, cafes and bars are centrally located. All this is just a short walk or ride from the centre of Reading with its mix of culture, nightlife, shops and eating-places. Excellent transport links put Oxford, London and Heathrow within easy reach.

Teaching staff

Staff who teach on the Graduate Institute programmes include the following:

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