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MSc Development and Rural Innovation

Course Description

MSc Development and Rural Innovation

The MSc Development and Rural Innovation is the international social sciences programme for students with a technical, life Wageningen Universityscience or relevant management background with an interest in international development and beta/ gamma integration. In Development and Rural Innovation, we develop professionals who are able to deal with knowledge processes in dynamic contexts.

Programme summary

This programme aims to develop professionals who understand the role of knowledge in societal change processes and are able to link human and technological dimensions of innovation in dynamic contexts across the globe. It is a social science programme tailored for students with a technical, life science or relevant management background with an interest in international development problems. Innovations in the field of agriculture, food and natural resource management have a dual nature. They consist of new technological practices as well as new socio-organisational arrangements between different societal actors. Dealing with the links between technological developments and societies in which these are introduced and used, requires a fundamental understanding of socio-technical innovation and change processes. In other words, you will be challenged to combine your previously acquired competencies with new social science competencies in order to make innovations work.

Offering a variety of disciplinary and problem-oriented courses, the programme is taught in an interactive style where learning from each other is emphasised. Working in small international groups contributes significantly to this mutual learning process. The programme is highly thesis-oriented. The subject matter and methodology courses serve primarily as preparation for an empirical research project. This entails writing a research proposal, conducting the research and completing a thesis, thereby offering you the opportunity to apply your newly acquired insights in a field situation. International students often apply this knowledge in their home country on a topic relevant to their professional interests and preferences. Others choose a relevant topic in their field of interest in various countries around the world, including the Netherlands.

Thesis tracks

Communication and Innovation
In this track, you study communication among stakeholders and disciplines in the context of societal problem solving and change. Special attention is given to the role of communication, knowledge, interpretation and innovation support strategies in bringing about organisational, policy or technological change in societal domains such as sustainable agriculture, health, environment, multifunctional land use and international development.

Technology and Development
The goal of this track is to understand how science and technology interact with international development problems, such as food security, adaptation to climate change and social justice. The approach involves analysis of how technology both mediates and is constituted through social relations and institutional arrangements between various actors including farmers, scientists and policymakers. Most social problems that we face today involves science and technology, either as a cause or as a cure.

Sociology of Development and Change
This track focuses on the understanding of rural development problems worldwide from sociological and anthropological perspectives. Particular attention is paid to how local people themselves solve problems. Field-based studies are the basis for critical reflection on theories of development and social change. Themes addressed include food security, livelihoods in the context of globalisation, poverty and environmental degradation, property rights, conflict, and policy

Your future career

The programme lays the foundations for a variety of career opportunities, usually oriented towards societal problem solving and innovation. You can become a researcher or a knowledge broker who ensures a good fit between client demands and research formulation. You might take on the role of process facilitator or communication specialist in a non-governmental organisation, the public sector or the private industry. A career as a policymaker or consultant in various (inter)national organisations is another option. Organisations where graduates work are for example: UNDP, Tropenbos International, Women for Water, UTZ Certified, George Washington University, UNICEF, Fairfood International.

Alumnus Ben Corrigan.
After studying physical geography, Ben joined the social science Master Development and Rural Innovation. In his job as Programme Manager for the German Red Cross in Haiti, he works on food security and providing basic services such as water and sanitation to remote communities. “One of my responsibilities is to ensure that technical staff integrate social dimensions into their work and build real partnerships with stakeholders in the field. As a Development and Rural Innovation graduate, I am well prepared for this kind of job and feel confident in it. This programme is a gateway to a great career if you like to work in the development sector or continue in academia.”

Related programmes:
MSc International Development Studies
MSc Applied Communication Science
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc International Land and Water Management
MSc Environmental Sciences.

Visit the MSc Development and Rural Innovation page on the Wageningen University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Enrolment in a MSc Programme at Wageningen University requires: A BSc degree (or equivalent) in a field of science relevant to your selected programme +A Grade Point Average (GPA) for this BSc of at least 70% of the maximum grade +Fluency in English, both written and spoken +Good skills in mathematics and/or statistics + Basic computer skills (Microsoft Office: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook; use and structure of the Internet; RSI-prevention)

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