International Institute of Social Studies

Den Haag, Netherlands
ISS of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague is one of the best and unique graduate schools in the Netherlands. After the Second World War, in 1952, the Institute established. The Dutch Government wanted to reconstruct the society, so they established it. And it was a fast move. The Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (NUFFIC) was directly involved in facilitating the work of the university.



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.


The Institute offers 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 they also 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.


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. Poverty, globalization, gender and inequity are key words in most of our programmes.


ISS offers students a Career Planning Workshop

Master's Programmes


Student services

In order to help you adapt quickly to life in the Netherlands, at the beginning of each academic year, ISS organizes a special introduction programme (for MA students only).

Throughout the year social and cultural activities are organized by their dedicated Welfare Office. Activities include a sports day, a Dutch evening, an International Food Fair, excursions, movies and performances in the ISS building.

Housing services

ISS has reserved rooms in 4 student residences. All accommodation offered by ISS meets the same basic quality standards. Of course they vary in terms of location, size and atmosphere.

Two residences are located next to the ISS and two within 7-15 minutes cycling or public transport.

The fully furnished rooms are for single occupancy only and include a kitchen and other common areas shared with one or more ISS students.

Library services

The Library of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) specializes in English-language literature in the social sciences, with an emphasis on the economic and social development of developing countries and countries in transition.

The collection includes:
  • 100,000 books and other print materials
  • over 39,000 e-journals
  • more than 350 online databases
  • online reference works
  • e-books


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