MA Gender and Development

Having recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, this is one of the longest running degrees on gender and development.

You’ll gain a solid understanding of debates in feminist thinking, and link them to gendered policy and programming. You develop in-depth knowledge and capacity for gendered analysis of specific issues such as:

  • women’s empowerment;
  • political economy, and the environment;
  • masculinities and patriarchy.

Our groundbreaking work challenges ideas about gender. We work with nuanced, fluid perspectives on gender and sex, and the ways they interact. You’ll gain the skills required to participate effectively in gender- and development-related research, policy-making and programme implementation.

This degree is based at IDS, which has been at the cutting edge of debates on Gender and Development for the last 50 years. You’ll benefit from our international research faculty’s expertise and our strong working relationships with partner organisations around the world.

Your course teachers are all active in the field, working on high-level policy-oriented programming and cutting edge academic research funded by UK and European Research councils, and philanthropic organisations from across the world.


One year full-time or two-years part time.

World-leaders in development studies

The University of Sussex is ranked first in the world for Development Studies. This QS World Ranking reflects the strong reputation and quality of research and course offerings at IDS, and the School of Global Studies.

IDS is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change. The School of Global Studies is world leading in the field of development studies and offers the opportunity to learn from critical and engaged academics who are making a difference to global communities through research, teaching and activism.

Who is the degree for?

We welcome applicants with a broad range of academic and career trajectories. Successful applicants will have some practical experience in gender and development alongside an interest in critical academic enquiry.

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).

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.

Core modules:

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.

  • Gender, Identity and Inclusion (autumn term) – 30 credits
  • Theoretical Approaches to Gender and Development (autumn term) – 30 credits
  • Research Design (spring term) – 15 credits
  • Politics of Gender (spring term) OR Doing Gender (spring term) – 30 credits
  • Dissertation (summer term) – 45 credits


Alongside your core modules, you can choose options (totalling 30 credits) to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests. Option modules may include:

  • Aid and Poverty: the Political Economy of International Development Assistance – 15 credits
  • Climate Change and Development – 15credits
  • Competing in the Green Economy – 15 credits
  • Development in Cities – 15 credits
  • Governance of Violent Conflict and (In)security – 15 credits
  • Health and Development – 30 credits
  • Nutrition – 15 credits
  • Poverty, Violence and Conflict – 15 credits
  • Public Financial Management – 15 credits
  • Reflective and Creative Practice for Social Change – 15 credits
  • Theory and Practice of Impact Evaluation – 15 credits
  • Unruly Politics – 15 credits

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


You’ll be assessed through term papers, coursework assignments, presentations, exams, practical exercises, and a 10,000 word dissertation.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants will have a first or upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree in the social sciences or related subject, and at least one year of development and gender related work experience. Applications must be accompanied by a CV and detailed two-page personal statement, explaining why you are applying for the degree and the relevance of your previous experience.

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, participants should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in discussions. The minimum requirement is, for example, an IELTS grade of 7.0 overall and no less than 6.5 in each section of the IELTS test. For detailed information on English language requirements for international students please see the University of Sussex website.

Fees and scholarships

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students: £9,500 per year. International students: £18,500 per year. Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

If you’re studying part-time over two years, you’ll be charged 50 per cent of the equivalent 2020 full-time fee in each year of study. The fee in your second year – if you continue your studies without a break – will be subject to a 2.5 per cent increase (subject to rounding).

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex

For scholarship opportunities and information on sources of funding please see the advice on funding on the University of Sussex website.

Additional costs for optional fieldwork

You have the option to undertake fieldwork for this course (though it is not mandatory).  You will need to cover the additional costs that this entails. Costs will depend on the scope and scale of the activities. For example, conducting interviews in your hometown could cost very little, whereas travelling overseas to interview government officials could cost much more in terms of flights, accommodation and subsistence. There may also be options for desk-based research, such as paying for access to research databases.  If you wish to conduct fieldwork, you should always talk to your course convenors and dissertation supervisors before making any arrangements.


Our graduates become specialists and advisers in gender and human rights for governments and development organisations worldwide – ­including ministries of foreign affairs in countries such as Azerbaijan and Indonesia, UNIFEM, USAID, and the UK’s Department for International Development.

Some of our graduates also go on to teach gender studies in universities around the world.

Graduate destinations

100 per cent of students from the Institute of Development Studies were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent IDS students have gone on to jobs including:

  • assistant to child protection, UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency)
  • campaigner, Greenpeace
  • project manager, European Women’s Lobby.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

“The most rewarding experience of studying at IDS was the fact that I had amazing classmates from all over the world who shared different experiences in regards to gender and development. It was so rewarding and nourishing to discover commonalities and particularities in our personal and professional experiences. This has stayed with me throughout my career because it has made me a more open-minded professional, with a wider definition of the concept of ‘development’.” 
Nayelli Torres Salas, MA Gender and Development graduate 2014