Why study at IDS

A first-class academic reputation

The Institute of 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.

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Teaching and learning for 50 years

Postgraduate studies have been central to IDS since its foundation in 1966, and we now offer seven general and specialised MA courses and a vibrant PhD programme.

IDS’ teaching and learning is shaped by our distinctive ‘engaged excellence’ approach. This means working in partnership with those at the heart of progressive change, including policymakers, civil society, activists and practitioners, to produce and mobilise rigorous and operationally-relevant research and evidence. At IDS, teaching is seen as an extension of engaged excellence, a way of working with individuals and organisations from across the globe who aspire to bring about progressive change.

Make a contribution to global transformations

Our European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) accredited courses are therefore designed to connect cutting-edge research with policy and practice, and IDS’ teaching and learning is embedded in our efforts to contribute to global transformations that will reduce inequalities, accelerate sustainability and build inclusive and secure societies.

Join a global community

Students and alumni are members of the IDS community, a truly global network that enriches the curriculum experience and provides lifelong professional networks and friendships. Our degrees seek to foster mutual learning and critical thinking and inspire innovative approaches to complex development challenges. Our course convenors and instructors are active researchers and aim to enhance the learning experience by bringing their applied knowledge and experiences of working in development, or ‘the field’, into the classroom.

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Experience a unique approach to teaching and learning

Learning at IDS combines lectures, classes of varying size (some are 15-30, some are 40-60 students), smaller seminars, tutorials and supervision. Students are also able to attend a wide range of lunchtime talks and lectures and can develop their professional skills through workshops on critical reading and writing, multi-cultural team work, participatory methods, research communication and policy engagement, research techniques and presentation skills.

Students have access to the British Library for Development Studies (BLDS) collection, Europe’s most comprehensive research archive on economic and social change in developing countries, as well as to the other excellent facilities in the University of Sussex library. In addition students benefit from being part of the wider University of Sussex community with all that it offers including sports facilities, housing support and provision, IT facilities, the student union, social activities, the careers centre and student support services.

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Build your career in international development

IDS postgraduates have gone on to work as Ministers in national governments, high-level officials in development organisations such as UNDP and the World Bank, civil servants, leaders of civil society organisations including Mama Cash and Action Aid and high profile academics at universities across the world. They are all working to define and solve some of the world’s most pressing global challenges. Your time at IDS will equip you with both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to make a real difference in bringing about transformative change.

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Enjoy a vibrant place to live and learn

The seaside town of Brighton is a thriving centre for the arts, festivals and concerts, while the South Downs National Park, which surrounds the Sussex campus, offers a glorious landscape and outdoor pursuits. London with its many attractions is just an hour away by train.

Find out more about Brighton – city by the sea