Student Opinion

The top five questions we get asked by prospective students

Published on 26 January 2023

Choosing a Master’s degree is a big decision, and we know that the application process can throw up a lot of questions for prospective students considering studying at IDS. Below, we’ve answered the top five questions we get asked about studying at IDS.

Am I qualified / will I get accepted?

IDS has nine Master’s degrees, each of which has specific entrance requirements. In addition to our academic and English language requirements, for all of our post-graduate degrees we ask that you have some practical experience in development, alongside an interest in critical academic enquiry.

The level and type of experience required will vary from degree to degree. For example, our Master’s in Power, Participation & Social Change is suited to both experienced and early-career development practitioners, as long as you bring some personal background in social change action, gained through work, volunteering or activism, to reflect on and analyse during the course. Whereas our Master’s in Governance, Development & Public Policy does require experience working in government, private sector, NGOs, bilateral or multilateral donor and lending agencies.

We welcome applicants with a broad range of career trajectories, and many of our MA Development Studies students join the course after a period of voluntary work or an internship. You may not have worked directly in a field which you consider ‘international development,’ but we would love to hear from you if:

  • Your work experience has led you to question inequalities
  • You have an curiosity about how things work in the world
  • You are able to ask questions about who might benefit or loose from certain arrangements and about how things could be changed for the better

The specific requirements for each degree, is listed on the webpage for each one.

If you would like to speak with someone to find out if you have the necessary experience, please contact our teaching office on [email protected]

What is the difference between IDS and the University of Sussex?

IDS is an independent research institute based on the University of Sussex campus. The University of Sussex is the awarding body for IDS degrees and IDS students are members of both IDS and the University of Sussex.  This gives IDS students all the benefits of a large university with access to a range of University of Sussex facilities and services, such as university the University of Sussex library, the University of Sussex Sports Centre, Student’s Union and societies, careers support and advice, childcare, multi-faith chaplaincy, and a number of shops, cafés and bars, while at the same time enjoying the advantages of a smaller more intimate institute.

If you apply via our website, you will be taken to the University of Sussex website to process your application. Our Master’s degrees are ratified by Sussex with ‘IDS’ also appearing on your certificate.

the MA Food & Development and MSc Climate Change, Development & Policy are delivered in partnership with the University of Sussex and are led by the University. ..

How can I get help with my visa / accommodation?

You may need to apply for a visa to study at IDS. Our partner the University of Sussex has a brilliant online Student Hub for students from outside the UK, which includes a section on visas and immigration. The University provides ongoing support for students who need visas, from the point of application  all the way through to graduation.

The University of Sussex also has a dedicated area of its Student Hub for queries about accommodation, whether you plan to live on campus or will be renting from a private landlord.

Can I speak to alumni from my country for advice?

It is most likely that you can! We have Alumni Ambassadors in or representing over 40 countries around the world. You can reach out to them directly to ask them any questions you may have about studying at IDS, via our Alumni website.

IDS Alumni Ambassadors are volunteers who work closely with IDS to improve alumni services, organise events and reunions as well as providing networking opportunities. They are part of a network of 4,000+ IDS alumni in over 120 countries around the world, most of whom are working as development professionals. Studying at IDS gives you the unique opportunity to build professional connections and tap into a vast repository of accumulated experience and knowledge via this network.

Can I get work at IDS?

During your time studying at IDS, it is sometimes possible to find short-term contract work, however these opportunities are infrequent and may require very specific skills, so it not something you should rely upon to finance your study or your living expenses while in the UK. You should also be aware that tier 4 visas will restrict the amount of paid work you can do.

There have been some instances where students have secured employment at IDS after graduation. IDS job vacancies are advertised externally, and appointments are made using a fair and transparent process.

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