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MSc African Development

Programme Director: Professor Catherine Boone

The African Development programme aims to provide students with a high quality academic introduction to the study of politics, economic development and economic policy in Africa.

The course employs political economy approaches to understand the variegated national trajectories of African states, regionalism and localism in politics and economics, and the political and economic forces that shape Africa's insertion into to the global economy. One core objective of the programme is to track the causes and effects of shifts over time in development theory and practice -- these have exerted powerful effects on public policy in Africa since the mid-twentieth century. A second objective will be to identify forces that produce political economy similarities and differences across and within African countries. A third is to consider the global, political and institutional, environmental, and technological changes that are shaping Africa's future.


The MSc in African Development consists of a full-unit (20 week) core, made up of two 10 week components: African Political Economy (DV435, MT) and African Development (DV418, LT). Students combine this with either International Development department's full-unit core course on "Development: History, Theory, and Policy" (DV400), OR the full-unit Development Management core (DV431), OR the half unit course in "Key Issues in Development Studies" (DV442) plus one of the following half-unit courses: International Institutions and Late Development (DV424), Global Health and Development (DV421), Complex Emergencies (DV420), or  Managing Humanitarianism (DV428). 

Students in the African Development course are also required to do the department's full-unit course in Research Design and Dissertation in Development Studies (DV410), which includes DV410.1, Social Research Methods in Developing Countries.  Students then select 2 half-unit options from a wide range of optional courses from within the LSE to broaden their disciplinary, substantive, and methodological training.

The African Development sequence (DV435 and DV418) will require class assignments and formative essays in both Michaelmas and Lent Terms, plus Summer Term exams. Other required core courses will also require formative essays and exams in the summer term. The MSc dissertation of approximately 10,000 words on a topic related to development in Africa allows students to tailor their studies to their academic and career objectives.  Students are expected to participate in many of the public and departmental lectures, conferences, and workshop series that take place throughout the year at the LSE, as well as in the Africa Film Discussion Series that is organized for this MSc course in Michaelmas Term.


The programme aims to recruit students from all over the world and will consider all applicants with degrees in any subject.  A first degree in the social or policy sciences will provide useful skills and background. The course also welcomes applicants with backgrounds in fields related the health, earth sciences and natural resource management, agriculture, engineering, and business. As the programme requires intensive reading across a broad literature drawn from the various social science disciplines, students must have high proficiency in English to perform well. 

Career Prospects

Many LSE International Development students go on to pursue PhDs in related disciplines, and we anticipate that many African Development students will follow this path.  We also expect that African Development MSc's, like other International Development students, will find opportunities in international aid agencies, NGOs, government agencies, the media, and research positions that allow them to employ the skills gained on the African Development degree programme.


Please see the Graduate Prospectus| for further details.