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.
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.
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, or have gone on to obtain PhDs.
Visit the Careers Service to find out more about International Development graduate destinations.
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 the LSE. Please see the course-related questions below for more information.
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 it will delay your 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.
If you graduated in the last five years you must supply two academic references. You can submit a professional reference as well as two academic references 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 ones are available.
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 academic 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.
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.
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.
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.
No, you do not need GRE of GMAT to apply for our programmes.
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.
No, we do not interview for any of our programmes.
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.
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 the 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 Studies (Research) students take a full-unit compulsory course, Development: Theory, History and Policy (DV400), across Michaelmas and Lent terms. They also take research methods courses to the value of one unit in the Methodology Unit, optional courses to the value of one unit, 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, DV442 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.
These programmes share a full-unit compulsory course, Development: Theory, History and Policy (DV400) but the MSc Development Studies (Research) programme also incorporates research methods courses to the value of one unit from the Department of Methodology.
For a full breakdown of required units, please see the question above.
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 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 between May and July (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.
Term dates for 2014/15 are:
Michaelmas term: Thursday 2 October - Friday 12 December 2014
Lent term: Monday 12 January - Friday 20 March 2015
Summer term: Monday 27 April - Friday 3 July 2015
Please note that LSE is currently remodelling the structure of its academic year. This means that term dates will change for 2015/16.
Most courses require students to attend one 90-120 minute lecture and one 90-120 minute seminar per week.
On top of this, students in the Department of International Development are 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 may fluctuate depending on course selections and requirements.
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.
A list of introductory readings for each programme will be sent to students over the summer. Readings for students starting a degree in 2014/15 can be found on the new arrivals section of our website.
Prizes are awarded annually per programme as follows:
Best overall performance
Excellent dissertation prize (for students who have achieved a minimum mark of 75%)
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 aren’t always on the same day as the lecture.
Full timetables will be available on registration.
The LSE Calendar includes information on all programme regulations and graduate courses.
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.
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 the live system opens 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 courses (for 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.
You can choose your seminar times for most compulsory and optional courses on LSE for You.
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).
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 are 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.
The minimum requirement to be considered is a very good pass (minimum 65% or equivalent, or about a 3.5 GPA in the US system) in a Masters degree (preferably in a social science discipline). However competition is high and most admitted MRes 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.
To be considered for LSE financial aid you will need Firsts and Distinctions in addition to an excellent research proposal. Students (especially those applying from outside the UK) will also increase their chances of both admittance and financial aid if they submit GRE scores.
12 January 2015. Late applications can be considered until 27 April 2015, but candidates are advised that places for late admission are limited.
Please note that applications are not sent to the Department unless they are complete. Missing items (eg references, transcripts etc) 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 contacted 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 the LSE Graduate Admission System and cannot be accepted directly by the Department.
It is not essential to have outline 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.
Applications will only be considered if accompanied by a 2000-3000 word research proposal.
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.
The 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 candidates' suitability for PhD level research.
The Department of International Development is able to nominate a number of the best of their offer holders with applications received in full by the 12 January deadline for ESRC (UK/EU only) or LSE Scholarships (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 Administrator will explain the process in more detail.
To be considered for a departmental nomination, your application must be received in full completed by 12 January 2015.
More details are available on financial matters are available on the LSE’s Financial Support Office’s webpages.
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 Research Programme Administrator, Susan Hoult, at email@example.com.