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MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies

Programme Director: Dr Stuart Gordon

The emphasis of this degree is on understanding the dynamics of humanitarian and complex emergencies as well as providing a solid foundation in development issues such as poverty reduction, wealth creation and the expansion of human capabilities.   This is a flexible programme that provides students with an academically rigorous postgraduate level inter-disciplinary training in the fields of international development and humanitarianism. It also involves a strong practical component with exposure to the ‘real world’ of organisations and practitioners and experience that boosts employability.

Please see the Graduate Prospectus for further details.


Students will complete four full units:

  • One full unit consisting of the Humanitarian Consultancy Project, which incorporates the course, "Managing Humanitarianism"
  • One half unit course, "Key Issues in Development Studies"
  • An end-of-year 10,000-word dissertation worth one full unit and including a research methods course
  • 1.5 more units made up of half or full unit optional courses.

Core course: Key Issues in Development Studies (DV442) 

This course provides an excellent overview of the key issues and debates in international development. It features lectures from leading LSE experts on subjects such as climate change, conflict, poverty, the financial crisis, demography, democratisation, health, migration, human rights and trade.  It provides a stimulating and fast-paced introduction to issues that can then be pursued in more depth through additional optional modules generally taken in the Lent Term..

Humanitarian consultancy project

An invaluable part of the course is the humanitarian consultancy project. Students work in teams of five on a current policy issue for a humanitarian, development or emergency based organisation.  Past clients have included UNICEF, UNHCR, the UK Disasters Emergency Committee, DFID, International Alert, the ICRC, MSF, NATO, the UK Army and Save the Children. Several organisations have published the resulting reports and some students have gone on to work for the client upon leaving LSE. Typically the degree has also included optional (and free) weekend workshops covering issues such as ‘managing humanitarian evaluations’ and ‘humanitarian management’. Students work alongside staff from humanitarian and development NGOs and consultancies on these courses, building up professional networks and improving their employability.


At the end of the year, students will submit a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic within International Development. It is compulsory and worth one full unit towards the degree.

Students are able to meet with their academic advisers or other members of staff throughout Michaelmas and Lent Terms to discuss their dissertation topic. Students will initially submit a topic summary of 50-100 words in Week 4 of Lent Term. They then write a more detailed research proposal towards the dissertation on their chosen topic under the supervision of one of our staff through individual sessions. Research proposals will form the basis for discussion in dissertation workshops, which are compulsory and held during the second week of Summer Term and must be approved before proceeding to write the dissertation.

Read more about the dissertation here.

Optional courses

Students will also take 1.5 units consisting of half- or full-unit optional courses, which allow students to shape their studies to their own needs and interests. These can be chosen from courses offered within the department or from a large number of offerings from other departments and institutes within the School such as Anthropology, Economics, Gender, Geography and Environment, Government, International Relations, Law, Management, Social Policy and Sociology.

View the full-year programme with compulsory and optional courses here.



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 to 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.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted using the online LSE application. Please read through the provided guidelines on how to apply carefully and follow the instructions.

Applications for the 2016/17 academic year will open October 2015. Please note that we often fill the programme by January/February for October start, so we advise you to submit applications between October and December if possible.


The MSc IDHE is designed for those looking to work in development in government and non-governmental organisations and also for those who intend undertaking research on development. Recent graduates are already employed in government, NGOs, international firms and banks, while others are pursuing PhD studies.



MSc IDHE student fees 2016/17


Full-time: £12,504
Part-time: £6,252


Full-time: £19,344
Part-time: £9,672

For updated information on student fees, please refer to LSE's table of fees.

Financial Support

There are a range of awards available for students taking taught MSc programmes. Approximately 19 per cent of taught masters offer holders are successful in obtaining some form of financial support from the School, and others are able to secure external funding. Listed below are a few options of financial support. For more information, please visit the Financial Support page.

Graduate Support Scheme

LSE's major financial support scheme for study at taught masters level is the Graduate Support Scheme (GSS). This scheme is open to all applicants from all countries in the world, with the exception of those undertaking specific modular or executive programmes such as the MSc in Finance (Part time) or the MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management.

The Scheme is designed to help students who do not have sufficient funds to meet all their costs of study. GSS awards range in value from £3,000 to a maximum of £12,500, and have an average value of £6,000.

Application to the GSS is via the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form. This form will be made available to you once you have submitted an application for admission to the School. Please read through the information upon receipt and look for the deadline to submit applications.


If you complete the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application form and are made an offer of admission before the closing date for applications, you will also be automatically considered for any other awards being offered by LSE, for which you are eligible, with the exception of Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding where there are separate department led processes in place. AHRC and ESRC funding is relevant to Home UK and Home EU applicants only, and there are also subject restrictions in place.

We offer a range of awards based on different criteria such as a specific programme of study, nationality, or country of permanent domicile.

In addition, a number of external organisations offer funding to support postgraduate study. We recommend that applicants follow up as many avenues as possible to find funding. Please be aware that if you accept funding from an external source, it is your responsibility to check the terms of the award. Some awards are accompanied by specific terms and conditions which you should be sure you able to meet before accepting the award.

Click here for information about other awards offered by LSE or external organisations.

Please take some time to look at all the other awards available to support your study at LSE. The details of these awards are updated each October, but new LSE awards may become available during the course of the admissions cycle. We will only write to successful applicants for these awards. Selection for these awards will take place between May and July 2015 and all successful applicants will be notified by 31 July 2015.

LSE Master's Awards (LMA's)

LSE Master’s Awards are part of LSE’s portfolio of funding for Postgraduate Taught Master’s students. The primary scheme for graduate students is the Graduate Support Scheme (GSS), which is designed to supplement other funding secured by a candidate (by way of savings, loans, and external scholarships).

Shortlisting for named awards is done from the long list of offer holders whose financial need is too great for the GSS, and who have indicated on their financial support application that they wish to be considered for other scholarships (by providing further information in the personal statement of the LSE Graduate Financial Support Application).

As named awards vary from year to year, a fund is set aside to provide a small number of LMA’s for those candidates who are not eligible for named awards, because of their restricted criteria. LMA’s are also used to supplement named awards where the latter are insufficient to meet the shortfall of the eligible candidate.

Preference is given to those from low and middle income countries, particularly if loan funding is not available or if those countries are under-represented in other award schemes administered by the School.

Awards can range in value from £5,000 to a full award and are made on the basis of financial need.

Scholarships for UK/EU students

There are a number of scholarships of varying amounts available to students from the UK and/or EU. Click here for more information on the available awards.

You can find more information on the LSE's Financial Support page.