MA Globalisation, Business and Development

We believe that business plays a significant role in providing solutions to the many local, national and global developmental challenges we face today, particularly during the age of globalisation. Based at IDS, you will examine the key elements of business operations and its growing relevance to international development.

You will gain an in-depth understanding of economic power shifts and rapid technological transformation amid global inequalities. You’re equipped with the analytical and practical skills needed to understand globalisation processes and their drivers, and to participate in the formulation of policies for sustainable development.

World-leaders in development studies

IDS is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change. In partnership with the University of Sussex, IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies by the QS University Rankings.  


One year full-time or two years part-time (part-time option is only available to students from the UK, EU, Channel Islands and Isle of Man).

Who is the degree for?

We welcome applicants with a broad range of career trajectories. Successful applicants will have some practical experience in development alongside an interest in critical academic enquiry. Many of our students are private sector consultants, business analysts, NGO staff, policy or research officers, civil servants or other development professionals. Whatever your background, you will want to gain a deeper understanding of globalisation and the relationship between business and international development and will be asking questions such as:

  • What are the impacts of globalisation, both locally and regionally?
  • What can be done to successfully manage the potential outcomes of these impacts?
  • What strategies can countries employ to effectively engage in the global economy?
  • How do businesses and policymakers approach issues affecting private sector development and economic growth?
  • How can I identify the policies needed to promote private sector growth?
  • How can I engage with policymakers in both the private and public sectors?

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 doing the MA Globalisation, Business and Development. These modules give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

Core modules:

  • Globalisation, Business and Policy (autumn term) – 30 credits
  • Economic Perspectives on Development OR Political Economy Perspectives on Development (autumn term) – 30 credits
  • Business as a Development Actor (spring term) – 30 credits
  • Research Design (spring term) – 15 credits
  • Dissertation Globalisation, Business and Development (spring term) – 45 credits


Alongside your core modules, you can choose options during the spring term to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests. Optional modules may include:

  • Aid and Poverty: the Political Economy of International Development Assistance – 15 credits
  • Climate Change and Development – 15 credits
  • 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
  • The Politics of Gender – 30 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 dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member.


You will be assessed through term papers, coursework assignments, presentations, exams, practical exercises, and the 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 a related subject, and preferably one year of business or development-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 students: £9,500 per year. 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 pursue careers in a wide range of organisations including:

  • bilateral agencies such as the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
  • international organisations such as UNIDO, UNCTAD, ILO
  • development finance institutions.

Graduates also follow careers in the private sector and in corporate social responsibility and social enterprises, as well as in NGOs and the media.

Graduate destinations

In 2014, 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:

  • aid effectiveness specialist, Korea International Cooperation Agency
  • programme director, Center for Public Policy Transformation
  • consultant, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Some of our graduates have also continued their research as PhD students.

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

The MA in Globalisation, Business and Development broadened and challenged my thinking about the development realm in which I have been operating. IDS faculty are not only researchers but practitioners whose global professional experiences provide topical, real-world perspectives. Thandiwe Moyana-Munzara, MA Globalisation, Business and Development alum.