M.Sc. International Development Studies

  • On Campus
  • 12 months
  • EUR12000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English (IELTS accepted)
University of Amsterdam | Amsterdam, Netherlands
International Development Studies focuses on countries in the global South, and the challenges they face while integrating in an increasingly globalised world.

Description of International Development Studies


International Development Studies focuses on countries in the global South, and the challenges they face while integrating in an increasingly globalised world.

The Master's programme International Development Studies (IDS) looks at economic growth strategies, social inequalities and the ways of dealing with these inequalities at multiple levels in both rural and urban contexts. IDS is an interdisciplinary programme in terms of the outlook of the programme, its staff and the students participating in it. The programme provides students with a thorough background in contemporary theories and debates in international development, as well as specific insights into key themes within international development processes, such as poverty, growth, and resilience; globalisation; children, health and education; conflict and migration; governance, voice and empowerment; urbanisation, local governance and social inequalities; sustainable development and community-based natural resource management. A characteristic feature of this Master's programme is a fieldwork period of roughly 8-10 weeks in a developing country. For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master's programme International Development Studies.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline Start in 1 February: August (non-EEA: August). Start in 1 September: March (non-EEA: March).
Tuition fee
  • EUR 12000 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 1906 Year (EEA)
Start date October  2015, March  2016
Credits (ECTS) 60 ECTS
Duration full-time 12 months
  • English
Take an IELTS test
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

Students can enter this programme either in September or in February. The programme (60 ECTS credits) starts with a comprehensive core course that discusses the theoretical foundations of International Development Studies, topical debates in the field of IDS and its applications in policy and practice. Furthermore, students follow a course in research methodology, preparing them for fieldwork in a developing country, and one elective course. The second semester comprises fieldwork and thesis writing, the latter supported by a number of thesis seminars. The written Master's thesis will be based on an independent research project undertaken in a developing country during a short period of fieldwork. Fulfilment of all the requirements should take one year of full-time study. Students who have to complete a preparatory programme will need one and a half year. For students interested in developing additional research skills in this field, there is also a two-year research Master in International Development Studies.


The Master's thesis (27 ECTS credits) is a report on research carried out by the student under the supervision of a faculty member. In principle, candidates are expected to spend a period of eight to ten weeks in a developing country to carry out their fieldwork. The thesis should be between 20,000 and 25,000 words long. In order to support students in the thesis writing process, regular thesis seminars are offered.

Degree requirements

The MSc in International Development Studies is awarded upon completion of 60 ECTS credits, including all required and elective courses in the curriculum and a written Master's thesis, which is based on an independent research project.

Detailed course information

The complete description of all courses in this programme can be found in the online UvA Course Catalogue.

Please note that the programme as decribed in the UvA Course Catalogue is that of 2011-2012 and is subject to change. The programme for 2012-2013 will be online in the Course Catalogue as of May 2012.

Requirements for International Development Studies

Previous education: The Master's programme in International Development Studies seeks students with an academic Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in international development studies (ontwikkelingsstudies), or in another social sciences discipline related to the programme. International diplomas are evaluated on the basis of advice from professional diploma evaluators. The minimum level of the diploma should be equivalent to three years of Dutch university education. For more and up-to-date information on application and admission procedures, please visit our website.

Grade average: Study results obtained in previous education should demonstrate that a student is able to attain and maintain a good to excellent level, especially in the fields of international development studies and social sciences research methodology. Undergraduate studies should be completed with an overall grade average of at least a B/3.0 (American system), second class, lower division Honours degree (British system), C (ECTS system), 7.0 (Dutch system) or equivalent.

Language test: All non-native 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. For more information, please visit our website.

Additional subject: 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 EC during previous study. For more information on required research method skills, please visit our website.

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: All applicants are expected to have a solid basis in the field of international development studies of at least (an equivalent of) 30 EC earned during previous studies.

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

No work experience is required.

More Information


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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.