A man pushing a wheelbarrow through a red dirt street with shacks in Kibera - an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya. © treviandrea7
MA Poverty & Development
POverty eradication as an ethical, social, political and economic imperative of mankind.
Key information

Poverty reduction is the ultimate measure of development effectiveness. Gain the knowledge and skills to engage professionally with the design, implementation and assessment of national and international efforts to reduce poverty in this Masters in Poverty and Development.

Through an interdisciplinary lens, you’ll gain a sound understanding of the main theories of development and poverty reduction in development, and a solid grounding in the concepts and skills needed to engage in debates on poverty and development.

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. Most MA Poverty and Development students are experienced professionals, having worked in government, NGOs, bilateral and multilateral donor and lending agencies, UN programmes, the private sector, or civil society organisations. Many students join the course after a period of voluntary work or an internship.

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.

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.

My experience at IDS has been just like a dream come true. It’s hard to put in words how I feel, because it’s a very emotional as well as intellectually stimulating experience. You interact with researchers who have been in the field doing work in different parts of the world, and the way they engage with you allows you to bring in your learnings from the field to the classroom and seminars.
- Saba Aslam
The MA in Poverty and Development at IDS gave me a solid grounding in issues at the core of development, with a focus on the most vulnerable. It enabled me to gain specialist knowledge – in inequality and social protection, for example – as well as a range of new analytical tools to use going forward.
- Gregg Smith, MA Poverty and Development

Learn more

An illustration with four boxes outlining the difference between inequality, equality, equity and justice. In each box there is a fruit tree, and two women trying to pick fruit. Their access to the fruit is used to illustrate each concept.

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.