About ISS

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.

Established in 1952 as the International Institute of Social Studies by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education it does research, teaching and public service in the field of development studies and international cooperation. ISS located in The Hague: 'The World’s Legal Capital'. Since 2009 ISS is part of Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

Students outsite ISS 2016
Lambert de Jong


Research at ISS focuses on development studies. This transdisciplinary field of study seeks to understand phenomena of underdevelopment, development and change, with special reference to low-income countries. ISS research focuses on studying political, economic and social developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East and transition economies. The Institute explores new developments in North-South and South-South relationships and the role of the BRICS countries, especially in relation to globalization and development.

Find out more about ISS research
Students in corridor 2016


We offer a four-year PhD programme and an accredited 15.5-month MA in Development Studies with various specializations for participants from over 50 countries. In addition we offer postgraduate diploma programmes and short courses. The degrees, including the PhD, are recognized internationally and by Dutch legislation. Our more than 11.000 alumnus function at all levels of government, business and civil society in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


The ISS MA Degree in Development Studies is widely recognized, accredited by the Netherlands Flemish accreditation organization NVAO and provides eligibility for entry to PhD programmes in the Netherlands and other countries worldwide.

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The day-to-day running of ISS is in the hands of the Institute Board with the support of the Institute Council, which represents the Institute's staff and students. The Advisory Board advises the Institute Board on matters of scientific strategy, the Institute's mission and identity.

Visit our Organization page for more details

ISS - part of Erasmus University Rotterdam

On 1 July 2009 ISS became a University Institute of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). This unique structure, in which ISS retains its mission, location and relative autonomy whilst benefiting from the resources available from an internationally renowned university, came about after a careful process of negotiations. As a University Institute, ISS is able to develop innovative research in cooperation with other EUR faculties and have greater access to Dutch and international research funding. Students graduating from ISS receive diplomas and degrees which bear the names of both ISS and EUR. ISS will remain in The Hague though all staff and students will have access to EUR facilities and resources.

Desiderius Erasmus

Erasmus University takes its name from the great philosopher, theologian, and humanist, Desiderius Erasmus. Find out about Desiderius Erasmus.

Public service

Our staff comes from many countries and is a source of knowledge and has wide experience in international development. We stimulate public debate on current issues, important for the exchange of knowledge and for increasing public awareness. ISS organizes a wide variety of events, from large conferences to small roundtable meetings for selected groups. The staff is also engaged in institutional capacity development, contract research and advisory services for international agencies and national governments.

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