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MSc Development Management


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Programme Directors: Prof Jean-Paul Faguet and Dr Mayling Birney


Development is not just about increasing growth and political and social rights. It is about creating self-sustaining institutions that liberate societies from low level deprivation traps by increasing productivity, freedom and cooperative interdependence. This programme gives you the theory and practical tools to drive such transformations forward by enabling you to understand why some societies have succeeded and others have failed.

Development Management is built around a theory-led approach to the role of institutions and organizations in development, using both classical institutional theory and the new institutional economics. We go very deeply into the role of institutions in explaining the comparative statics of development - why some countries are rich and others poor - as well as comparative dynamics - the development process per se across different countries and regions.  

Please see the Graduate Prospectus for further details.


Students will complete four full units:

  • One full unit course, "Development Management", which includes a group consultancy project
  • A 10,000-word dissertation worth one full unit and including a research methods course
  • Two further units made up of half or full unit optional courses.

Core course: Development Management (DV431)

This course employs a political economy approach to examine the causes of development and non-development. It is divided into four main parts: 

  • Part One looks at the institutional theories that explain and justify development transitions involving shifts from authoritarian institutions to those based on free markets and pluralistic organisational systems
  • Part Two examines government and governance across developed and developing authoritarian or neopatrimonial systems to greater levels of participation and democracy
  • Part Three analyses the firm as a distinct organisational form in its market context, in both theoretical and real-world manifestations, as well as structuralist v market-driven attempts to foment growth and industrialisation in development countries
  • Part Four probes the nature and potential of civil society in the development process, focusing on NGOs, community-based organisations, and collective action solutions.

Read more about the course here.

Consultancy project

A distinctive feature of this programme is the Development Management Project, the first of its kind at the LSE and now much-copied, in which teams of 3-5 students do "live" consulting work for real-world, public, private, and non-profit organisations such as the World Bank, Oxfam, PricewaterhouseCoopers, GIZ, CARE, DFID, Save the Children, UNICEF, the Emerging Markets Group and Wedu. Along with seminar presentations, the project adds a key applied component - teaching students real-world practical skills.


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

Students are able to meet with their academic advisors 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 two 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 of compulsory and optional courses here.




The core course consists of theory and evidence from across the social sciences, but we welcome applications from all academic disciplines. As the programme requires intensive reading across a broad range of literature, students must have a high proficiency of the English language to perform well.

Applicants from outside the UK can find detailed entry and English language requirements as well as visa and immigration information on the Information for International Students page.

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.


Graduate destinations

Students come from a broad array of international and professional backgrounds and go on after graduation into a wide variety of professional positions. Many "development managers" work with the governments of developing countries managing the development process (eg central banks, ministries of finance, rural development, education). Others go on to multilateral development institutions like the World Bank, the IMF, or the United Nations; others to NGOs of all sizes and descriptions; and still others go on to work in the private sector, in jobs as diverse as manufacturing, consulting, and investment banking, to name just a few. Recent graduates have also gone to PhD study at Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, Columbia, Yale and UC Berkeley, amongst others.



MSc Development Management student fees 2016/17

Full-time: £19,344
Part-time: £9,672

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, with others 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.

Programme for African Leadership (PfAL) scholarships

The PfAL scholarships are available for bright students from countries in sub-Saharan Africa studying one of the taught, one-year MSc programmes offered or jointly offered by the Department of International Development. A full scholarship will cover fees and living costs, but the value for each student will be assessed according to financial need. In addition to meeting the requirements of the MSc degree, all PfAL Scholarship recipients will participate in an additional programme of workshops and seminars throughout the year.

Successful candidates will also gain membership of the growing PfAL network of African leaders.

Click here for information on eligibility and how to apply.