MA Development Studies

This one year Masters (MA) course in Development Studies provides a solid grounding in international development concepts, theories and approaches. Students are equipped with the analytical and practical skills they need to engage critically in development issues and debates from a interdisciplinary perspective, and to work across broad areas of development policy, research and practice.

A meeting of peer educators. They talk to groups of young people in Kenya about health and social issues, especially AIDS and HIV.

A hallmark of this degree is the diversity of cultures and backgrounds that students bring. They have some practical experience in development alongside an interest in critical academic enquiry. We welcome applicants with a broad range of career trajectories.

This degree offers a wide choice of module options, allowing students flexibility to choose their area of interest and grow intellectually within the overall degree framework. The MA Development Studies straddles all the IDS research clusters and draws its teaching staff from across the institute. In the Autumn semester students choose from three core modules which aim to build a deep understanding of basic theoretical concepts. They also join all the MA student in exploring critical ideas in development theory and practice.

In the Spring semester, there is a choice of many module options that offer specialist areas at the cutting edge of debates in development. These modules are taught by IDS academic staff who work at the forefront of development theory and practice. Students thus benefit from a wide range of experience and engaged reflection. The dissertation offers a further opportunity to choose a particular area for in depth study.

Students who successfully complete the MA in Development Studies can expect to:

  • Understand the main development theories, concepts and debates in their historical and contemporary context, and apply this knowledge in their professional work
  • Engage in an informed and critical way, in particular with political science, economics, sociology and anthropology
  • Approach development problems with confidence and knowledge and have the ability to work collaboratively with others to identify solutions to global development challenges.

Further information

“The MA was exactly what I was looking for. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on ‘development’ as a whole and to think seriously about where I wanted to take my career next. But it also enabled me to explore areas of specific interest to me.”
Elise Wach MA Development Studies student 2010/11

You should have an upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in the social sciences or a related subject. And you should preferably have one year's development-related work experience, which can be made up of voluntary work and vacation-based activities. 

Each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and applicants must submit a detailed two-page personal statement, explaining why you are applying for the degree and the relevance of previous development related experience.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each section. Pearson's Test of English (Academic) 67 overall, with at least 62 in all four skills.

For entry in September 2017, fees are £8,000 for Home UK/EU, Channel and Isle of Man students; £15,100 for Overseas students. For sources of funding please see the advice on funding on the University of Sussex website.

One scholarship is available for applicants from African members of the Commonwealth through a joint scheme between IDS and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. Please contact IDS for further information.

Course information

Fees per year: £8000 for UK/EU, £15,100 for Overseas students
Start date: 25 September 2017
Based: University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
How to apply: Visit the University of Sussex website