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You will develop a number of core skills and techniques through varied study methods and research work.

Hands-on experience

In addition to your theory-based studies, you're encouraged to develop work, volunteering and overseas experience to enhance employability and career options. This is why we encourage student volunteering and placements, and enable our students to write a research dissertation based on a real-world practical or policy issue.

We also host events and sessions with guest lecturers from the industry so that you have the opportunity to network directly with potential employers.

Study abroad

Stand out from the crowd by considering our Study Abroad option. By choosing to do a four-year degree, you can apply to study at one of our partner institutions for a year, or spend six months abroad and another six months working in the sector.

In an increasingly international and mobile world, studying abroad can help boost your future employability. It provides an exciting opportunity to acquire numerous transferable and desirable skills, and study specialisms additional to what's offered at Reading. It's also a fantastic life experience.

To qualify for the Study Abroad option, you must meet the requirements of the host institution. This option is highly competitive and is therefore not guaranteed.

All courses offered by our partner universities are taught in English.

Learn more about studying abroad


A placement is a fantastic opportunity to gain work experience, develop industry-specific knowledge and skills, and network with potential future employers.

For those working in the international development sector, it is important to develop work, volunteering and overseas experience to enhance employability and career options.

Our Professional Practice Placement module in second year encourages development of careers curiosity and career planning skills alongside active networking with people working in the development sector to explore job roles and undertake a short period of work experience as a taster of the sector.

Professional placement year

If you're doing a four-year degree, you'll have the opportunity to spend 12 months on a placement year and work with one of our industry partners.

Your placement will be directly related to your degree programme or potential career path, giving you the freedom to find a placement that suits you and your career aspirations.

Many of our students have completed placements with large, global organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme, or with multinational corporations such as the American telecommunications firm Verizon (based in Reading). Other students have spent their year working on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainbility Programmes with organisations like Network Rail.

Recent students have undertaken varied placements in the UK and overseas with charities, NGOs and commercial companies, including Network Rail, Reading Refugee Support, Otra Cosa Network (Peru) and DAI.

All gain broad-based experience in project management, day-to-day operations and communication. Typically, our students are responsible for a specialist task. This may mean working with end-users, liaising with clients, delivering presentations or writing reports, all of which mean learning many new, transferable skills as part of their role.

You will be supported by our advisory services and a dedicated member of staff, who will assist in finding and supporting your year out.

My placement taught me a lot as I was able to look at all aspects of a voluntourism charity, including branding and marketing, fundraising, training and preparation, and collaborating with partner organisations. It equipped me with the skills that I will need for employment after my studies. Being able to work for a community project based in an economically disadvantaged region of Peru has truly brought my studies to life and has taught me so much.

Jessica Hughes-Pratt, BSc International Development

Six-month placements

On a four-year degree, you have the option to spend six months on a placement with the other six months spent studying abroad.

Summer placements

Many of our students undertake three months of paid work experience during the summer vacation to gain further insight into the career path they want to pursue.

You can also participate in a six-week placement linked to research undertaken at the University. These placements are generally completed in the summer before your final year.


Our courses

With our BSc International Development course, you'll explore critical contemporary issues: how to create a better life for people, the sustainability of the planet's resources, poverty reduction and food systems, and the challenges of inequality.

Why study with us?

Study in an international environment where you'll be taught by a diverse community. Benefit from the ability to tailor your degree, our strong links with the global development community and modern learning facilities. 

Life in the Department

Join a thriving community of students and staff from over 80 countries in our School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. Interact with students from a range of degrees in teaching sessions and our common room.