Course Descriptions

This page provides descriptions of the courses relating to the revised (2014) curriculum. Click here for information pertaining to the curriculum for the programme as it applies to the 2011 – 2013 intakes.
Core (Compulsory) Courses

Elective (Optional) Courses

Pre-MDP Courses 2014/15 Academic Year

The Pre-MDP component of the MDP programme consists of 09 courses, worth a total of 11 credits (9 credits from compulsory courses and 2 credits from an optional course).


DPR402 Basic Mathematics (1 credit) | Syllabus
The aim of this course is to equip students with the basic mathematical tools necessary in order to follow subsequent course modules in development practice. Topics include: Why use Mathematics?, Introduction to Simple Mathematical Modelling; Basic Functions: Constant, Linear, Quadratic, Power/exponential/logarithmic functions, Functions of two or more variables; Sequences and Series: Limits, Present value calculations; Basic Trigonometry: Simple Trigonometric Functions, Simple Trigonometric Relations; Basic Co-ordinate Geometry; Basic Differentiation and Applications: The derivative concept, simple rules of differentiation, optimization of functions of one variable, partial derivatives, total differential, optimization of functions of 2 variables; Basic Integration and Applications: Indefinite and Definite integral, simple rules of integration, area under curves, area between curves.


DPR403 Principles of Economics (1 credit) | Syllabus
The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the fundamental concepts in economics which would be relevant to the field of development practice and subsequent course modules in this field. At the end of the course students are expected to be able to identify both micro and macro-economics related concepts which underpin the development practice field and to apply these concepts to the decisions made by households, firms and governments in developing countries. The course will cover a mix of (1) issues that are commonly directly associated with the field of economics and (2) issues that are not so obviously economics related.  This will include an introduction to basic economics concepts relating to (but not limited to) market power, agriculture, environment, education, health, crime, discrimination, poverty, international trade, financial markets, unemployment, inflation, economic growth, govt macroeconomic policy, taxes and budget deficits, globalization. These issues will be introduced in the context of the household as consumer, household as labour supplier, the household based enterprise (including agricultural farm), firm as producer, firm in relation to other firms, and the macroeconomy. The approach will be deliberately non-mathematical and practical including fieldwork involving the interviewing of households, microenterprises and firms.

DPR405 Colloquial and Communicative Sinhala (2 credits) | Syllabus
The aim of this course is to train students to communicate in colloquial Sinhala in the different contexts of development practice.  This course focuses on all four aspects of basic language learning: Speaking, listening, writing and reading with an emphasis on the ‘communicative’ and ‘performative’ aspects of language. The course is primarily a course in colloquial i.e. ‘spoken Sinhala’ but some elements of literary Sinhala will also be taught. The course will teach the entire alphabet with examples. In its pedagogical orientation, the course will train students to perform language communicative language functions in a variety of everyday life situations relating to their areas of work. Information technology and IT-based communication tools will be used in the teaching of the course.


DPR406 Colloquial and Communicative Tamil (2 credits) | Syllabus
The aim of this course is to teach basic Tamil as a second language for daily communication.
At end of the course the students will be able to: Listen and respond to oral communication, Listen to TV, Radio programs and films with basic understanding, Speak with sufficient fluency in Tamil to fulfill their every day communicative need, Read and write simple texts in Tamil with understanding, Use around 2000 basic and essential vocabulary in their day to day and official communication. Topics covered include: Sounds and symbols, asking for personal information, dealing with numbers, time and directions, vocabulary building with basic nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs to deal with the communicative needs at public places like shops, markets, hotels, post office, banks, hospitals, bus stands, railway stations, government department etc.; elementary functional grammar, reading and writing simple text.


DPR407 Introduction to Natural Sciences: Biology (1 credits) | Syllabus
The aim of this course is to provide the basic fundamentals necessary to follow the core Biology component of graduate level coursework in development practice. Topics include:
Biological molecules, Water; hydrogen bonds, solvent properties, Carbon in organic compounds, Carbohydrates; structure, roles; Lipids; structure, roles; Proteins; structure, roles, synthesis, enzymes; Nucleci acids; structure, roles, DNA replication; Minerals, roughage, vitamins. Mind and Body: Animal cells: structure, cell types, function, diffusion, active transport, cell division; Transport; water, nutrition, gas exchange, heart, lungs, kidneys; Genetics, chromosomes, genetic variation, reproduction, Mendel; Genetic disease; Thalassaemia, Albino, Sickle cell anemia, Gene therapy/genetic screening; Lifestyle and health; Heart diseases (CVD), diabetes, obesity, eating disorders, smoking, alcoholism; Plants: Plant cells; structure, cell types, function, plant cells vs animal cells; Transport; water, nutrition; Photosynthesis; water, sunlight etc; Economic impotence; rice, tea, rubber, medicinal plants, ethanol, wood, fiber, bio fuels
Evolution : Charles Darwin; Natural selection/Adaptation, Evolution of pathogens; Biodiversity and natural resources: Biodiversity; species 2000 program; Species; CO2 emission, climate change, extinction; Taxonomy/classification; new species, species concept, binomial naming, describing new species; Hotspots and endemism, Sri Lanka as a biodiversity hotspot; Conservation practice; impact of  human population growth, creation of reserves, sustainable use of NR; Niche and adaptation; Ecology;  ecosystems, habitats, ecosystem services; Food webs; humane food production, Organic food, slow food.


DPR408 Introduction to Natural Sciences: Physics/Chemistry (1 credits) | Syllabus
The aim of this course is to provide the basic fundamentals necessary to follow the core Physics and Chemistry component of graduate level coursework in development practice. Topics include: Physics: Mechanics; Newton’s Laws; Basic statement, Application to simple projectile motion, Energy and work; Solid mechanics; Introduction to strength of materials, Elastic and plastic deformation, Stress strain relationship, Classification of materials; Fluid mechanics; flows across pressure gradients, density, diffusion, viscosity, buoyancy and types of flow; Electricity and Magnetism; Basic introduction to electromagnetism; The electromagnetic spectrum; Chemistry: Atoms, Molecules and Chemical Bonds; What are atoms; Natural elements and the periodic table; States of matter; Ions, molecules, and chemical bonds; Chemical Reactions, Reaction types, Chemical kinetics; Acids and Bases, Definition and examples, Characterization, Acid-Base reactions, pH value;  Cycles; Hydrological cycle, Carbon cycle, Nitrogen cycle.


DPR501 Professional Writing and Communication Skills (1 Credit) | Syllabus
The ability to communicate effectively is a vital part of being a developmental practitioner in a multi-cultural context.  The course therefore aims at assisting students to enhance written and oral communication skills that are necessary a) for the satisfactory completion of the programme of study under consideration; b) for successful communication with the communities—both local and foreign—who are an integral part of the contexts within which they will carry out their work as development practitioners. The course concentrates on three basic components that are necessary in both the study and practice of development: Writing Skills; Oral Communication Skills; Advanced Reading Skills. Writing Skills: basics in technical writing; how to differentiate technical writing from other genres of writing, how to use the necessary grammar structures required in technical writing, familiarity with technical jargon used in different disciplines and to be able to communicate such concepts/terms to a ‘non-technical’ person; writing project proposals; how to produce a comprehensive and convincing project proposal in keeping with standard formats; writing reports; how to write different types of reports such as project reports, progressive reports, etc.; case studies; how to write case studies with clarity and conciseness. Oral Communication Skills: emphasis will be placed on presentations, how to determine the best kind of presentation needed for a particular situation and audience, how to use the appropriate verbal and non-verbal language in presentations, how to structure/organize a presentation with necessary sign-posting; public speaking; how to overcome anxiety, how to use appropriate body language, etc.  Advanced Reading Skills: skimming, how to skim a text in order to grasp the gist or main idea; scanning, how to look for specific details in a text; summarizing, how to summarize a long text in order to communicate the message/main idea to an intended audience; translating, how to translate technical jargon, theories, policies, principles, etc., into languages accessible to the community when disseminating knowledge or in informal interactions


DPR503 Principles of Leadership (1 credit) | Syllabus
This course aims to provide students with knowledge of theory in leadership, with a special emphasis on research conducted in the South Asian context; an opportunity for self exploration with respect to one’s leadership style and a forum in which to develop skills that can be effective in leadership situations. Topics include: Theories of Leadership: theories of leadership in the context of an organization; difference between leadership and leader as concepts;  Leadership within the cultural context: critical examination of theories of leadership from the perspective of Sri Lankan culture; Leadership and Diversity: concept of diversity; diversity and performance attitudinal objectives;  gender and diversity; subordinates role in leadership;  Motivating others: factors that enhance and reduce motivation;  Leadership in Teams: nature of teams; communication within teams; group think; reducing process loss when working as a team; Leadership in context: techniques for analyzing context and how it relates to leadership style. Leadership theory will be covered through reading, lecture and case studies. Self and peer assessment with the guidance of a coach will be used in self exploration. Leadership skills will be addressed through interactive discussions, group activities, and role plays.


DPR509 Data Collection for Development Practice (1 Credit) | Syllabus
This course aims to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to collect data relating to Development Practice. Course topics include: What is data? Types of data; Introduction to methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection; Methods of data collection: survey methods, experimental research, field research, case studies, focus groups, participatory observation; Sampling methods.


DPR510 Data Analysis for Development Practice (2 Credits) | Syllabus

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to basic concepts in statistics and data analysis, their applications to real life situations and the use of software in data analysis. Course topics include: Basic data handling: types of data, obtaining data, graphical methods, descriptive statistics; Correlation; Simple Regression; Inference; Multiple Regression; Regression with dummy
variables; Brief introduction to dummy dependent variables and count data; Introduction to evaluation.

Core Courses


Elective Courses




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