Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the MSc Development Studies and the MSc Development Management?
If you take the MSc Development Studies you will have one compulsory course DV400 Development: theory, history and policy, other courses to the value of 2 units and write a 10,000 word dissertation. You may NOT register for DV431, Development Management.

If you take the MSc Development Management you will have one compulsory course (DV431 Development Management, other courses to the value of 2 units and write a 10,000 word dissertation. You will also be involved in a project working on research for e.g. an NGO, a government department, etc as well as doing the course and examination. See Examples of Projects Worked on by MSC Development Management students| (PDF). You may NOT register for the course DV400 Development: theory, history and policy.

What is the difference between the MSc Development Studies and the MSc Development Studies (Research)?
The MSc Development Studies has one compulsory course - DV400. The MSc Development Studies (Research) has TWO compulsory courses - DV400 and either Foundations of Social Research 1 (MI451) OR Foundations of Social Research 2 (MI452) which are both offered by the Methodology Institute.

How is the degree structured?
Each degree has four units. Your compulsory core course (either DV400 or DV431) is one unit. The dissertation (DV410 and sub-course DV410.1) is one unit. That leaves TWO units of optional choices - which may be made up of any of the following combinations: 2 full unit courses; 1 full unit course and 2 half unit courses or 4 half unit courses.

When should I send my application?
We do not have a deadline for receiving applications, although once we have reached our target, the programme will be closed. Applications open in October for admission in the following October. You should send your application as early as possible as our courses are very popular and are often full by February or early March. You can request a prospectus| and apply| either by post or on-line. Full details about the application process are available at Entry requirements|. Make sure that you send your application to Graduate Admissions - do NOT send your application to the department as this will delay it. You may check to see which programmes still have places by visiting the Available Programmes| page.

How can I check on the progress of my application?
See Track your application|

Do I have to send two academic references? Can I send a work one instead?
If you graduated in the last five years you MUST supply two academic references. If you wish you may also submit a further professional reference. 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 ones are available.

What is the difference between doing a full-time and a part-time degree?
If you do the degree full-time, it will take 12 months and you will do courses to the value of four units (from October to September). If you do the degree part-time it will take 24 months as you will take courses to the value of two units each year (from October in academic year one to September in academic year two). Teaching hours are exactly the same, whether you are full or part time. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DO NOT OFFER EVENING OPTIONS.

Do you offer a distance-learning option?

How is the academic year structured?
The year is divided into three terms: Michaelmas (October to December), Lent (January to March) and Summer (April to July). 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 are only available in one or the other term - they are NOT available during both terms). In the Summer Term there are usually revision classes in the first week, dissertation workshops in the second week and examinations usually (but not always!) take place in June. The dissertation is due at the end of August (the last Thursday in August). Full term dates are available at Term dates|. 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.

How are the courses structured?
Usually each course will consist of one lecture and one seminar each week. These are usually between 90-120 minutes long. Lectures and seminars are spread over the week. On Friday afternoons during Michaelmas Term there is also a Visiting Speaker Series.

Where can I get more information on individual courses?
See LSE Calendar|. Follow the link for Taught masters| for rules and regulations for each degree and on Graduate course guides| for further information on individual courses.

How and when do I choose my options?
At the beginning of the year you are encouraged to attend all those courses that you are interested in. You have three weeks to make your final decision and register for your final choice. The process is repeated at the beginning of Lent Term for courses that run then.

How many hours study is involved?
DV400 and DV431 both have lectures of 2 hours and seminars of 90 minutes. Other courses will have lectures of between 1.5 and 2 hours and seminars of 90 minutes. (Please note that timings also include 10 minutes get in/out transfer time.) There are also Visiting Speaker events which you are expected to attend. We would expect you to be present in a lecture or seminar for an average of 12 hours per week, plus you should allow at least 3 hours for reading on each course, more if you are presenting a seminar. Overall, you should expect to spend approximately 30 hours a week in academic study, although that number will fluctuate according to course requirements.

What about supervision?
Each student will be allocated am academic adviser at the beginning of the year. This may change from term to term, depending on staff availability. Students are free to, and encouraged to, approach any member of academic staff for discussion.

How big are seminar/class sizes?
Although lectures can be very large as all students taking the course attend these, classes or seminars are usually held to a maximum of 15 people.

How much does it cost?
Full details of fees information are available on the Table of fees| website.

Is there a "required" academic background or standard?
We have students from very different backgrounds - no specific subject is required. You do NOT have to have GRE/GMAT to do our courses. We do have standards though! See Entry requirements| on the Graduate Prospectus website.

Do I need GRE or GMAT?

What's the minimum English language requirement?
If you are a native speaker or the medium of instruction of your last degree was English (i.e. ALL the teaching and assessment was in English), then you do not have to provide proof of competency. For all others:

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with normally a minimum score of 627 in the paper test, 263 in the computer-based test or 107 in the internet based test.. 
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) with normally a minimum score of 7.0. 
LSE Language Test with a minimum score of 70.

Please note that we do not accept test scores more than 2 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.

Is there any reading I should do?
See Preliminary reading list| for a list of introductory readings. These should all be available in your university/any large library.

What funding is available through ID?
ID has a very limited amount of funding available to help support students. All applications that qualify are automatically considered as they come in - you do not have to apply specifically. Full details of LSE (as opposed to DESTIN) funding available is at the Financial Support Office| website.

Do you interview students?

What do people do after doing a degree with you? All sorts of things! Work for NGOs, international organisations such as the UN and World Bank, national governments, consultancies, think-tanks, go on to do PhDs, and much more! You can read more on the Careers service website at ID|

What about accommodation?
Full details are available at Accommodation for students|.

I have more questions - what should I do?

PLEASE NOTE: We are not able to answer questions of the following type:

"Is the course suitable for my planned career?"
"Which course should I do?"
"How can I improve my chances for acceptance?"
"What other places offer courses like yours?"
"Should I apply for the MSc or the PhD?"
"Can I still study with you if I cannot pay the fees?"
"Will I get a good job if I do your course?"
Emails that give personal background and then ask "Can I study with you?" - you MUST go through the formal application process.
Questions where the answer is available on either the DESTIN or LSE website (eg "What is Dr So-and-so's email?")

Please email| if you have a general question that has not been covered here. Alternatively you may email an individual member of the academic staff if your question relates specifically to his/her area of expertise. Please do NOT email the same question individually to every member of staff as this wastes a lot of time.

We do NOT send out prospectuses from the Institute - see the link on the ID| homepage.

Further questions about the application process and requirements can be answered at Admissions Enquiries|.