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MA in Development Studies

Course Description

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 will need to work at the intersections of policy, research and practice. You will also be 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 degree is structured to allow strong coherence and some integration with the other specialised MA degrees offered at IDS.

Course structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2016 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

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.


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.


The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/money/scholarships/pgt2016/

Visit the MA in Development Studies page on the University of Sussex website for more details!

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Student Profiles

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, which is a factor in selection. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed, two-page personal statement. Overseas entrance requirements: View Website

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