Taught course

Development Studies

University of Sussex · Institute of Development Studies - IDS

Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in the social sciences or a related discipline, and preferably two years' development-related work experience. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed, two-page personal statement.

Months of entry


Course content

You are based in IDS.

The complex challenges of global poverty and development are making ever-greater demands on those working in aid agencies, governments, NGOs and policy and research institutes. Meeting these challenges calls for creative development professionals who can apply and integrate critical thinking and practical experience and be innovative in seeking meaningful solutions.

This MA provides a solid grounding in international development concepts, theories and approaches. It is designed to enhance career opportunities in international development by helping you gain the professional skills you need to work at the intersections of policy, research and practice. You are also able to understand the main theories, concepts and debates of development and to draw on this knowledge in your professional work, engage in an informed and critical way with professionals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and approach development problems with creativity, confidence and the ability to work collaboratively with others.

This course is structured to allow strong coherence and some integration with the other specialised MA courses offered at IDS.


Assessment is primarily through term papers of 3,000-5,000 words, coursework assignments, presentations, practical exercises and, for some courses, examinations, as well as a final 10,000-word dissertation.

Course structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2017 entry to ensure you have the best student experience.

Autumn term: you take Ideas in Development and Policy, Evidence and Practice, and two from Empowering Society • Introduction to Development Economics • Sociology, Anthropology and the Development Conundrum.

Spring term: you choose 60 credits from a range of 15- and 30-credit modules (one of which must be a 30-credit module): 30-credit modules may include Competing in the Global Economy • Democracy and Development • Health and Development • Sustainability and Policy Processes: Issues in Agriculture,
Environment and Health • Poverty, Policy and Programmes.

15-credit modules may include Aid and Poverty • Analysing Poverty, Vulnerability and Inequality • Climate Change and Development • Decentralisation and Local Government • Emerging Powers and International Development • Global Governance • Impact Evaluation • Management of Public Finance • Nutrition • Politics of Implementing Gender and Development • Poverty, Violence, and Conflict • Reflective Practice and Social Change • Unruly Politics.

Spring and summer terms: you take the 15-credit module Introduction to Research to help you prepare for your dissertation.

Summer term: you work on your dissertation.

Information for international students

Please visit: International qualifications for Masters courses or Fees and Scholarships.

Fees and funding

UK students
Please see our website
International students
Please see our website

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study. For full details of our scholarships please visit: Masters Scholarships.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations58
Written coursework / continuous assessment25
Dissertation17 (10000 words)

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 606261