Woman smiling and holding a hoe over her shoulder while working in a field in Tamilnadu, India. © Krishna

MA Development Studies

Successful develOpment solutions depend on creativity, confidence and collaboration.

Key information

Develop the analytical and practical skills required to address some of today’s most pressing global challenges including inequality, sustainability and security with a Master’s in Development Studies.

Based at IDS, you’ll learn how to approach development problems with creativity, confidence and the ability to work collaboratively.

You’ll develop an understanding of the main debates in development, and engage in informed and critical ways with professionals from diverse backgrounds.

World-leaders in development studies

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) delivers world-class research, learning and teaching that transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally. IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies, in partnership with the University of Sussex.

Who is the degree for?

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

Course content and structure

The academic year commences in September. Three terms run as follows: autumn term (September to December), spring term (January to March) and summer term (April to June).

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.

Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests. This list gives you a flavour of our options, which are kept under review and may change, for example in response to student feedback or the latest research.

In the summer term you will research and write a 10,000 word dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member.

While it’s our aim for students to take their preferred combinations of options, this can’t be guaranteed and will be subject to timetabling. Options may be grouped and if so, students will be able to choose a set number of options from the selection available in any particular group.

Studying at IDS allowed me to get to the heart of where the action is for international development. It is a true hot spot for meeting like-minded intellectual thought leaders, gaining exposure to the prevalent sectoral trends and witnessing where the global development agenda is being critically discussed – in real-time! IDS was a true launching pad for my career in the sector.
- Mattia Barina, MA Development Studies
At IDS I was able to learn new concepts, but it also helped me to unlearn many notions and misconceptions which had become part of my overall thinking regarding various concepts of development.
- Isfan Rasool Qazi Zargar, MA Development Studies
If you don’t want engaging, critical, cutting-edge insights into the past, present, and future of development with a healthy dose of participatory approaches and power analysis, stay home.
- Graham LePage, MA Development Studies

Learn more

Map of the world showing how each country is performing against the Human Development Index

Key information

Full time duration
One year
Part time duration
Two years
Home fees (UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
Overseas (including EU)

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Why study at IDS First in the world for development studies Development Studies Scholarships and Funding Responding to Covid-19

We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described in this prospectus. However, we may need to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to Covid-19.