Helmeted police officers standing during a protest © Gérard Bottino
MA Governance, Development & Public Policy
Fair and effective gOvernance is critical for development to benefit both people and planet.
Key information

This degree provides you with a theoretical and practical understanding of debates on political change and how public authority is created and exercised. With this Masters in Public Policy based at IDS, you’ll build your critical and analytical skills, and improve your ability to develop and implement policies across state and non-state organisations.

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 has been ranked first in the world for development studies, in partnership with the University of Sussex, for the last seven years.

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. The majority of MA Governance, Development and Public Policy students are experienced professionals, having worked in government, private sector, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral donor and lending agencies, as well as UN agencies. Our students bring a vast diversity of cultures, experience and perspectives – alumni from this course have come from over 70 countries and work or have worked in over 150 countries.

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).

A distinct feature of our MA is the focus on policy and practice.

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.

Optional modules, which build on these foundations, apply concepts and theories to a range of development issues, focusing on equipping students with the methodologies and tools to assess and critique different policy options. We draw upon case-studies, faculty, students, and research partners from Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and South Asia, to enrich the curriculum of the MA.

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.

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 has been an amazing and utterly fulfilling experience. The people I have met here have changed my life and perspective on the world. Staff and fellows at IDS are welcoming and their support is incredible; they listen as much as they teach. IDS is a big family, and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
- Clara Calabuig Martinez, MA Governance, Development and Public Policy
I really enjoyed my time at IDS. I learned not only from the teachers and the readings but from my colleagues as well. You become part of a community that is trying to contribute to making a better world. From unruliness to strengthening democracy I learned to understand better other development perspectives.
- Alejandra Seminario Zumaeta, MA Governance, Development and Public Policy
IDS has given me inter-cultural fluency; an ability to work across cultures; through learning from IDS and interacting with diverse peer groups.
- Basser Omaid, MA Governance, Development and Public Policy

Learn more

A map of the world, with countries each a different colour to reflect the number of pandemic violations of democratic standards

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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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.