Programme overview

Development Studies
ISS students sitting on central staircase - 2023

What the programme entails

The 15.5 month MA programme consists of coursework (40 weeks of fulltime study, 60 ECTS credits) and the research paper (25 weeks of fulltime study, 28 ECTS credits).

MA students are encouraged to develop a critical understanding of major debates, theories and strategic interventions and of the skills to analyze the issues, and to design and assess interventions aimed at tackling these issues. An essential part of this process is to develop skills in research methodology, which will be applied in a research paper prepared as a requirement for the Masters degree.

Structure of the MA in Development Studies programme


The Majors form an important part of the study programme. The courses are closely related and are designed to give students deeper insight and a higher level of competence in their field of study. Students write their research paper under the guidance of staff with relevant expertise. You must choose one major when apply for our MA programme

Please contact the ISS Admission Office at for more information about part-time study.


Within the MA programme students have an option to specialize further with one of our specializations.

  • Human Rights, Gender Equality and Women and Gender Studies
  • Governance and Development Policy
  • Poverty
  • Food Politics
  • Migration and Diversity
  • Refugees and Migration
  • Agrarian and Environmental studies
  • Economics of Development
  • Social Policy for Development
  • Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Econometric Analysis of Development Policies
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Local Development Strategies
  • The Global Economy, Public Policy and Management

Education objectives

Graduates will be able to understand processes of social development and change and how such processes at various levels (from local to global) interact. They will be able to present a critical overview of major issues, theories, debates and strategic interventions in the field of Development Studies.

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