M.Sc. International Development Studies (research MSc)

  • On Campus
  • 24 months
  • EUR12000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English
University of Amsterdam | Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Research Master International Development Studies focuses on development processes and transformations and shifting balances of power in the Global South.

Description of International Development Studies (research MSc)


The Research Master International Development Studies focuses on development processes and transformations and shifting balances of power in the Global South.

During the programme, you will discuss societal transformation and development trajectories (livelihood trajectories, and urban to national trajectories). Also the underlying interplay between social, political, economic, environmental and cultural factors at multiple levels of governance will be discussed, focusing on inequalities and social justice in current issues. As a theoretical and empirical science, IDS studies development as a phenomenon that results from the interaction between diverse local and international actors and processes, within context-specific institutional environments. The shifting power balances have resulted in a multi-polar, polycentric world, where emerging economies such as China and Brazil have become global players, and where governments increasingly work in partnership with other actors in shaping development processes. This has created a need for well-rounded professionals with an in-depth understanding of the complexities of local to global development processes, and with specific understanding of theories and perspectives from the Global South.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline Start in 1 September: March (non-EEA: March).
Tuition fee
  • EUR 12000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 1906 Year (EEA)
Start date September  2016
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
  • English
Take an IELTS test
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

This two-year programme offers a range of specialised courses mainly emphasising state-of-the art theories and approaches towards international development studies. Next to two required thematic courses, students can choose from a wide range of thematic electives. Much attention is also devoted to research design, quantitative and qualitative methods and techniques and epistemology. During the later stages of the programme, students conduct sustained independent study on a topic related to international development. After completion of the Master's thesis, students also write a research article together with a member of staff of AISSR. The programme is completed with a portfolio which prepares students for their professional career after graduation.


The research MSc programme concludes with a Master's thesis and a Research Article. The thesis is based on an individual research project completed during the second year of the programme. The fieldwork for this research takes place in a developing country in Latin America, Africa or Asia. Students obtain the skills necessary to adapt their research project into an article that meets the requirements for submission to a scientific journal.

Degree requirements

The research MSc in International Development Studies is awarded upon completion of 120 ECTS credits, including all required courses in the curriculum and a written Master's thesis, which is based on an independent research project.

Requirements for International Development Studies (research MSc)

Grade average: The programme seeks students with excellent academic records and who are able to handle heavy course loads. Study results obtained in previous education should demonstrate that a student is able to attain and maintain an excellent level, especially in the fields relevant to the programme. Undergraduate studies should be completed with an overall grade average of at least a B+/A- /3.5 (American system), first class Honours degree (British system), B (ECTS system), 7.5 (Dutch system) or equivalent.

Previous education: The Research Master's Programme in Social Sciences seeks students with an academic Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in the field of development studies, human geography, sociology, social/cultural anthropology, political science and economics or another closely related social sciences discipline.

Additional subject: The Research Master's programme is intended for students who have an active interest in research and wish to pursue a career in research. Applicants should have a solid basis in both qualitative and quantitative social sciences research methodology reflected by the completion of at least (an equivalent of) 30 ECTS during previous study. Experience with the following research methods skills is required: * Make a solid research design * Understand advantages and disadvantages of different research methods and a mixed methods approach * Develop and apply a (simple) survey * Interpret the results of a survey with a statistical package * Be able to do statistical analysis, preferably with SPSS or similar software programme * Conduct an interview * Analyse the results of an interview Promising candidates with slightly less than 30 ECTS of social sciences research methodology may be admitted provided that they complete an intensive research methodology module (four weeks) offered by the Graduate School of Social Sciences. Please note that this is up to the admissions committee to decide.

Language test: All nonĀ­native speakers of English (including Dutch students) applying to one of the English taught programmes offered by the Graduate School of Social Sciences, are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. All students must be able to read textbooks, understand lectures, take part in classroom discussions and undertake written work in English. Applicants who are nationals of or who have obtained their bachelor's degree in countries other than the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand are required to submit an English test score that meets specific requirements. Inability to do so will disqualify you from enrolment.

Written request: All applicants are required to submit a statement of motivation.

Grade list: All applicants are required to submit official transcripts of each higher education institute attended, listing all courses and examinations already completed and currently enrolled in, and grades and credits obtained.

Knowledge minimum: Applicants are expected to have a solid basis in the field of development studies of at least (an equivalent of) 30 ECTS earned during previous study.

Additional language requirements:

  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English: C1
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: C1
  • IELTS overall band: 6.5
  • IELTS listening: 6
  • IELTS reading: 6
  • IELTS writing: 6
  • IELTS speaking: 6
  • TOEFL paper based: 575
  • TOEFL computer based: 232
  • TOEFL internet based: 90

Work Experience for International Development Studies (research MSc)

No work experience is required.

More Information


Accredited by: NVAO in: Netherlands

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University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Netherlands A modern university with a rich history, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) traces its roots back to 1632, when the Golden Age school Athenaeum Illustre was established to train students in trade and philosophy. Today, with more than 30,000 students, 5,000 staff and 250 study programmes (Bachelor's and Master's), many of which are taught in English, it is one of the larger comprehensive universities in Europe.

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