Frequently Asked Questions

These pages contain the answers to a number of frequently asked questions about postgraduate study in the Department of International Development. If your question is not answered in these pages please contact us.

MSc programmes

General questions

 Where is the Department of International Development located?

The Department is located in Connaught House. Administrative offices are on the 8th floor and academic staff offices are on the 6th, 7th and 8th floors.

The department's postal address is: Department of International Development, LSE, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE.

What jobs do International Development graduates go on to do?

Our graduates are employed in a wide range of posts, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations such as the UN and World Bank, regional and national governments, charitable organisations, consultancies, think-tanks and research institutions. Some continue their studies to obtain a PhD.

Visit the Careers Service to find out more about International Development graduate destinations.

What links does International Development have with other departments in the LSE?

The Department offers six joint degrees with other LSE departments and institutes including Anthropology, Geography and Environment, Social Policy and Economic History.

Students on any of our four MSc programmes also have the opportunity to take a wide range of optional courses from departments across LSE. Please see the course-related questions below for more information.

Application questions

When should I send my application?

We do not have a deadline for receiving applications. Applications will be closed once we have reached our registration target for each programme.

The online application system opens in October for admission in the following October. You should submit your application as early as possible as our programmes are very popular and are often full by early March. You can check which programmes still have places available by visiting the Graduate Admissions website.

Applications for all available programmes should be made via the online application system. Entry requirements and other details about the application process are available from Graduate Admissions.

Your application, references and other supporting documents should be submitted to Graduate Admissions. Please do not send documents to the department as this will delay your application.

How can I check on the progress of my application? 

You can track your application using the Graduate Application Tracker. Any changes to your application status will be immediately posted on the tracker, so please check it frequently.

Do I have to send two academic references, or can I send a professional reference instead?

If you graduated within the last five years, you must supply two academic references. You can also submit a professional reference if you wish.

If you graduated more than five years ago, you may supply one academic and one professional reference. Applicants who graduated more than ten years ago may supply two professional references if no academic references are available.

What is the difference between a full-time and a part-time degree? 

A full-time degree consists of four units and will take 12 months to complete.

A part-time degree also consists of four units, but takes 24 months to complete. Part-time students will take courses to the value of two units in each year of registration. Compulsory courses should be taken in the first year and the dissertation should be produced in the second year. 

Please note that there is no difference in the total number of teaching hours for full-time and part-time students, and we do not offer evening or distance learning options.

What are the fees for International Development programmes?

Fees vary by programme. Full details of fees for the upcoming academic year are available on LSE’s Money Matters website.

You can find out if you are eligible for Home (UK or EU) fees by checking the fee status classification. Your fee status (Home/EU or Overseas) will be detailed on your offer of admission.

LSE offers financial support and awards for study at taught master's level. For information on eligibility please see the Graduate Admissions website.

Is funding available from the department?

The department has a limited amount of funding available to help support students. All applications that qualify will be automatically considered - you do not need to apply.

Alternative funding is also available from the main school- please see the Graduate Admissions website for more information.

Is there a required academic background?

We welcome students from very different backgrounds, so no specific subject is required and you do not need GRE or GMAT to apply for our programmes.

The basic requirement for admission is a first or upper second class honours (2:1) degree from a UK university or a non-UK equivalent.

Do I need GRE or GMAT?

No, you do not need GRE of GMAT to apply for our programmes.

What is the minimum English language requirement?

If you are a native speaker or your last degree was taught in English (i.e. all teaching and assessment was in English), you do not have to provide proof of competency. The English language requirement for all other applicants is a minimum IELTS score of 7.0.

We cannot accept test scores that are more than two years old. If you have not yet sat an English test you may still apply but any offer made will be conditional upon receiving proof that you have met the required standard.

Will I have to attend an interview?

No, we do not interview for any of our programmes.

Does LSE offer accommodation for postgraduate students?

There are a limited number of places available for postgraduate students in LSE student halls. However, most LSE students live in privately rented housing.

The LSE Residential Services Office guide to finding private housing has links to accommodation search engines as well as information on London, how much rent you should expect to pay, and advice on rental agreements. 

Programme-related questions

What are the differences in the MSc programmes offered by the department?

Each of our programmes has a distinctive compulsory course which allows students to combine core knowledge with optional courses. Optional courses can be chosen from within the department, or from a wide range of offerings across LSE.

MSc Development Studies students take a full-unit compulsory course, Development: Theory, History and Policy (DV400), across Michaelmas and Lent terms. They also take optional courses to the value of two units and produce a 10,000 word dissertation (DV410) on a development related topic.

MSc Development Management students take a full-unit compulsory course, Development Management (DV431), across Michaelmas and Lent terms. They also take optional courses to the value of two units as well as preparing a group project, and produce a 10,000 word dissertation (DV410) on a development related topic.

MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies (IDHE) students take a half-unit compulsory course, Key Issues in Development Studies (DV442) in the Michaelmas term, plus a further full-unit compulsory course, Managing Humanitarianism & Humanitarian Consultancy Project (DV452), incorporating teaching in humanitarianism and a team-based ‘live’ consultancy project for a client in the development or humanitarian sector. They also take optional courses to the value of 1.5 units and produce a 10,000 word dissertation (DV410) on a development related topic.

MSc African Development students take two half-unit compulsory courses, African Political Economy (DV435) and African Development (DV418), as well as one of the department’s core courses: Development: Theory, History and Policy (DV400), Development Management (DV431), or the half-unit course Key Issues in Development Studies (DV442) combined with one of International Institutions and Late Development (DV424), Global Health and Development (DV421), Complex Emergencies (DV420), or Managing Humanitarianism (DV428). They also take optional courses to the value of one unit and produce a 10,000 word dissertation (DV410) on a development related topic.

Can I still apply for the MSc Development Studies (Research) programme?

The MSc Development Studies (Research) programme will not be running from 2015/16 onwards. If you have already applied to the programme please amend your options using the online application system or by contacting Graduate Admissions.

How is the year structured and what are the term dates? 

The year is divided into three terms: Michaelmas (October to December), Lent (January to March) and Summer (April to June).

A full-unit course will run over Michaelmas and Lent terms. A half-unit course will only run for one term. Please note that half-unit courses only run once per year - they are not available during both terms.

In the Summer term there are usually revision classes and dissertation workshops, followed by examinations which take place in May and June (exact dates will not be confirmed until the beginning of the Summer term).

The dissertation is due at the end of August. You do not have to stay in London to write your dissertation but it is your responsibility to ensure that it reaches us by the due date.

You can view term dates here.

How many hours of study is involved? 

Most courses require students to attend one 90-120 minute lecture and one 90-120 minute seminar per week.

Students in the Department of International Development are also expected to attend the Friday morning Social Research Methods course (DV410.1) in Michaelmas term and the Friday afternoon lecture series (DV445) in Michaelmas and Lent terms.

In total, full-time students should expect to spend approximately 30 hours per week engaging in academic study (12 hours of lecture and seminars per week, plus 3 hours of reading for each course). For part-time students, this number should be halved, although it may fluctuate depending on course selections and requirements.

Will I be assigned a supervisor? 

Each MSc student in the department will be assigned an academic advisor at the beginning of the year to advise on course choices, dissertation topics, and any other issues - academic or non-academic.

All members of staff hold regular office hours for student consultation. The department practises an 'open-door policy' and you are encouraged to approach any member of staff for discussion, not just your supervisor.

Is there any preliminary reading I should do? 

A list of introductory readings for each programme will be sent to students over the summer.

Does the department award any student prizes?

Prizes are awarded annually per programme as follows: Best overall performance Best dissertation Excellent dissertation prize (for students who have achieved a minimum mark of 75%)

Course-related questions

How are the courses structured?

Most courses consist of one 90-120 minute lecture and one 90-120 minute seminar per week. Lectures and seminars are spread across the week. Seminars are not always on the same day as the lecture.

Full timetables will be available on registration.

Where can I get more information about compulsory and optional courses? 

The LSE Calendar includes information on all programme regulations and graduate courses.

Can I take optional courses outside of the department? 

Students can choose from a wide range of optional courses within the Department of International Development, or across the school.

You can see a full list of optional courses available by checking your programme regulations.

How do I choose my optional courses? 

Graduate Course Choice selection will open on LSE for You for browsing at the beginning of orientation week. During this time you can familiarise yourself with the system before it becomes active at the end of orientation week. You can find a full tutorial on using the Graduate Course Choice system on LSE for You.

You will have until the start of Week 3 to finalise your course choices. During this time you are encouraged to attend lectures and seminars for all courses you are interested in taking.

You should choose all of your courses (for both the Michaelmas and Lent terms) at the beginning of the academic year. Changes to Lent term optional courses can be made when the system is re-activated in January.

How do I choose my seminar times?

You can choose your seminar times for most compulsory and optional courses on LSE for You.

How many students will be in my lectures and seminars?

Depending on the course, lectures can accommodate between 15 and 200 students however seminars are usually limited to maximum of 17 students (this may be less depending on the course).

Part-time MSc student FAQs

Are all MSc programmes in the Department of International Development available on a part-time basis?

Part-time study is available on the following programmes:

  • MSc Development Studies
  • MSc Development Management
  • MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies
  • ·MSc African Development
  • MSc Health and International Development

How do I structure my modules?

Part-time study is split over a two-year period, with students typically taking two units per year spread equally across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.

For MSc Development Studies, MSc Development Management, MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc African Development and MSc Health and International Development, you must take the relevant core module in your first year.

If you choose to take the 24 month programme, you would take the dissertation option in the second year.

All students must meet with their advisor at the beginning of term to agree their optional course choices. This is a good opportunity to discuss how best to structure your courses to ensure you are able to balance your studies with your other commitments.

What will my typical contact hours be?

For each half unit course, contact time is typically 3-3.5 hours per week, consisting of a either a 1.5-2 hour lecture and a 1.5 hour class, but this may vary according to the course so please check the timetable carefully.

Is there a different timetable for part-time students?

You will be subject to the same timetable as a full-time student, albeit with a reduced number of hours per week.

Can you give me some idea of my timetable in advance so that I can plan my time accordingly?

As the School timetable changes from year to year and is not finalised until August, we are unable to confirm this information in advance. Part-time students are strongly advised to wait until the timetable is available before finalising their other commitments.

Does LSE offer evening classes?

Regrettably, LSE does not offer evening lectures or classes. You may want to look at Birkbeck University, which runs various evening study programmes.

If lecturers reschedule their classes and I am unable to attend, what should I do?

From time to time, it is necessary for lectures or classes to be rescheduled. In such cases, the first point of contact should be the lecturer. Please make full use of the Office Hours offered by lecturers. If the Office Hours are difficult for you to attend, then you can always email the lecturer in question. Video recordings of the lecture may be available for some courses.

Are there other part-time students in my course/department? How do I get in contact with them?

Please contact the Department's MSc Administrator about this.

Is there somebody with specific responsibility for part-time student issues in the department?

Please contact your Programme Director concerning academic matters and the MSc Administrator concerning administrative matters.

When should I pay the second instalment of tuition fees?

Please consult with the fees office if you have any fee-related queries, as this is not managed by the Department of International Development.

When do I get my student ID for my second year? Why is it not valid for two years?

Wherever possible, your card should normally be valid for two years. However, because of the way our systems work, this is not always possible. If you find that your card does expire before you are due to complete your programme, Student Services will automatically e-mail you before your current card expires to let you know that a new card has been produced and is ready for collection. Upon receipt of that e-mail you just need to come to the Student Services Centre and swap your old card for your new one.

I am not yet sure whether part-time study is right for me. Can I switch to full time study partway through the year?

It is possible to change from part-time to full-time study and vice versa partway through the year, but this would require the approval of your programme director. Please read the change of mode of study guidance carefully and note that permission to make either of these changes would only be granted in exceptional circumstances and would depend on the time of year and the teaching and assessments that you have already undertaken.

Further information

I have more questions - what should I do? 

Please email if you have a general question that hasn't been answered here. Alternatively you may email an individual member of academic staff if your question relates specifically to his/her area of expertise. You can find contact information for all International Development staff here.

Questions about the application process and requirements for entry can be answered at Admission Enquires.

MRes and PhD programmes

Programme related questions

What is an MRes/PhD degree like?

The MRes/PhD in International Development is a one-year taught research Master’s linked to a four-year PhD.

The MRes (Master of Research) is a key part of the programme. During the MRes year you will be exposed to new taught material, undertake methods training, attend theory courses and research seminars, and prepare a 10,000 word research proposal which forms the basis of the subsequent PhD project.

Can I study part time for the MRes/PhD in International Development?

All students must apply for full-time study in the first instance. In some exceptional cases, permission may be granted to switch to part-time study after the first year, if a student’s application is successful.

Can I study by distance learning or remotely?

No. All of our students must be resident in London. The only exceptions are for students who have received permission to live abroad while conducting overseas research and fieldwork, those who are away on approved academic exchanges at other universities, and those reaching the end of their PhD (the “writing up” phase). Please note that permission to live abroad is on a case-by-case basis and may not always be granted.

Application questions

How can I apply?

Please read the programme description and the frequently asked questions below, before proceeding. When you are ready to apply, go to the Graduate Admissions webpages and click through to the online application system, where you will be prompted to select your chosen programme of study and submit your information.

When is the deadline for applications?

Applications are on an annual basis. The deadline to apply is in early January. The exact date each year is published on the programme page.

Please note that applications are not sent to the Department unless they are complete. Missing items (such as references) will delay consideration of your application and may result in your application being rejected due to supervision no longer being available. You are strongly advised to contact your referees well in advance and ask them to submit their letters of support as soon as possible. All application documents must be submitted through LSE Graduate Admissions and cannot be accepted directly by the Department. 

What is the minimum entrance requirement?

The minimum requirement is a very good pass in a Master’s degree (preferably in a social science discipline).  A very good pass is considered to be 65% or above, or about a 3.5 GPA in the US system. (See our international requirements page to find out what the equivalent is for other international qualifications.) However, competition is high and most admitted students have high passes or Firsts in their undergraduate degrees and Distinctions in their Masters (equivalent to better than 3.8 GPA). Outstanding candidates with substantial relevant professional experience may also be considered, provided they meet the minimum academic requirements.

Is a Master’s degree a pre-requisite for the programme?

Yes. To be considered for entry, prospective applicants must either have a Master’s degree or be working towards one.

I am doing my Master’s now. Can I still apply if some of my marks are pending?

You can submit your application and be considered while your marks and Master’s qualification are still pending. However, if you are offered a place at LSE, this will be conditional on having been awarded your Master’s by the programme start date.

I already have an MRes or MPhil degree. Will I be allowed to skip the MRes year?

It is very unlikely that this would be allowed.

Do I need to have a supervisor "on board" prior to making an application?

It is not essential to have a prior agreement from a supervisor prior to making an application. All applications are assessed on merit and we try to find supervision for outstanding candidates. However, if you have had contact with a potential supervisor, this should be mentioned in your application.

It is good to have a look at the LSE International Development staff profiles as this will help to assess whether we are the right department for you.

Must my application be accompanied by a research proposal?

Applications will only be considered if accompanied by a research proposal. We do not set a hard word limit but we advise that your research proposal should be approximately 2,000 words. Please don't panic about the length of your personal statement or research proposal. The guidance on the word count is there to help you focus your proposal, and not intended to penalise applicants.

What should the research proposal include?

The research proposal should have a descriptive title to enable us to identify the broad theme of the project quickly. If you have discussed your research proposal with a member of the Department of International Development, this should also be mentioned at the beginning of the proposal.

A good research proposal should actively engage with the relevant academic literature, including an introduction to the research question and a discussion of the current theoretical and methodological debates to which the proposed research will contribute. MRes students will be expected to significantly deepen and develop their research proposal during the first year of the programme, so they are not strictly tied to this original topic. Nevertheless, we take the submitted proposal seriously as an indication of a candidate's suitability for PhD level research.

How can I make sure that my other supporting documents fit the requirements?

Please use the supporting documents page online to ensure that you provide the right information as part of your application. This includes guidance on your sample of written work, personal statement, CV, research proposal and references.

How can I meet LSE’s English Language Requirements?

Please see here for information on how to meet LSE’s English language requirement.

If you do need to submit English Language test scores, you can either take the test now (and submit the scores before applying), or you can apply without the scores and submit them later on (i.e., after receiving an offer of a place, but prior to enrollment). If you do it the second way, and you’re made an offer of a place on the programme, then your place would be conditional on passing the test at the required level.

Is financial support available?

The Department of International Development is able to nominate a number of promising applicants for ESRC funding (UK/EU only) or LSE PhD Studentship funding (all). Please be aware that competition for these awards is very high.

If you receive an offer of a place on our programme, the Programme Manager will explain the process in more detail.

Students who submit their completed application to the MRes/PhD International Development by the deadline in early January will be considered for any funding for which they are eligible. There is no separate application form you need to complete for the funding.

More details on funding are available on the LSE’s Funding webpages.

Who can I contact for further information?

Please look at the Graduate Admissions webpages for information on submitting your application. Please note that applications and supporting documents should not be sent directly to the Department.

For queries about the programme, please email the PhD Programme Manager, Nina Craven, on