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This programme is suited to students from a non-economics background, and will provide you with a solid grounding in policy analysis for economic growth and development, and for combatting poverty. You will develop significant quantitative skills and economic knowledge to address contemporary issues in development, equipping you for an internationally oriented career focused on developing countries.

Why this programme

The Masters in Development Studies will provide you with a good understanding of:

  • the main social and developmental problems facing less developed countries
  • possible policy responses to developmental issues, with an emphasis on human capital, environment, international trade, and market liberalisation
  • the measurement, evolution, causes and consequences of inequality and poverty
  • policies for combating poverty
  • the effect of foreign capital flows on development: foreign direct investment and foreign aid

You will be taught by experts in the field, many of whom have worked with international and government organisations including the IMF, World Bank, UN, the Asian Development Bank, Commonwealth Secretariat and central banks. 

This programme provides the empirical tools, data, and software training that will enable students to investigate economic development and to prepare an independent empirical analysis.

In addition to a large choice of optional courses, you will have the opportunity to enhance your learning by taking courses in other subjects at the University such as Economic & Social History and Central & East European Studies.

You will have access to conferences and seminars hosted by the Glasgow Centre for International Development. This will expose you to development in the fields of medicine, veterinary medicine, environmental management and sustainability.

Adam Smith Business School is triple accredited

Programme structure

You will take two core and four optional courses and complete a substantial independent piece of work, normally in the form of a dissertation.

Core courses

  • Development policy
  • Economics of inequality and deprivation.

Optional courses may include

  • Aid and development
  • Basic econometrics 
  • Behavioural economics: theory and applications
  • Challenges in international policies 
  • Environmental economics 
  • Financial institutions and markets in developing countries 
  • Foreign direct investment and development
  • Growth and development
  • Human rights and global politics
  • IMF World Bank and economic growth
  • International security and global politics
  • International trade 
  • Policies for sustainability and development 
  • Project planning, appraisal and implementation 
  • The law and economics of sovereign debt regulation
  • Theory and principles of sustainability.

If you have little or no economics background you are strongly recommended to take the non-credit introductory course to economics offered before semester one begins.

Programme alteration or discontinuation

The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

As a graduate you will be equipped to work in international organisations, government ministries, banks and other financial institutions. Recent graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as the Ministry of Environment, NHS, Malaysian Fuel and Gas Training Academy, and Wateraid. Roles have included Urban Development Consultant, Principal Economist and Senior Officer for Energy and Mining. We have a dedicated careers and employability team who provide 1-2-1 support and advice, group workshops, employer events on campus and networking opportunities throughout the year to help you with your career prospects.

More information about this Programme


Visit the Development Studies - MSc page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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