Why study at IDS

Ranked first in the world for Development Studies

Why study development studies at IDS? We deliver world-class research, learning and teaching that transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally.

In partnership with the University of Sussex, IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies by the QS University Rankings.

Find our more about our rankings

Postgraduate studies have been central to IDS since its foundation in 1966 as the UK’s first specialist institution for teaching and research on international development. We now offer nine general and specialised Masters courses and a vibrant PhD programme.

Make a contribution to global transformations

Our teaching and learning is shaped by our commitment to collaborate internationally across sciences, sectors and communities to brings progressive change. Through equitable and sustainable partnerships, we work with governments, philanthropic foundations, non-governmental organisations, academics and civil society to transform approaches to progressive social, political and economic change in ways that ultimately make a difference to people’s lives.

Our courses are designed to connect cutting-edge research with policy and practice. And our teaching and learning is embedded in our efforts to: uphold climate and environmental justice; reduce extreme inequities; foster healthy and fulfilling lives; and nurture inclusive, democratic and accountable societies.

Join a global community

Currently we have students of more than 60 nationalities studying at IDS. You’ll be part of a truly global network that enriches the curriculum experience and provides lifelong professional networks and friendships.

Read more about our global community

Experience a unique learning environment

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  into the classroom.

Learning at IDS combines lectures, classes of varying size, smaller seminars 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.

Read more about learning support and student services

See how we are adapting our teaching in response to Covid-19

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.

Find out more about career prospects

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