MSc Development Management

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code L1S4
  • Starting 2018


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. The MSc in Development Management 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.

The programme is built around a theory-led approach to the role of institutions and organisations 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).

A distinctive feature of the programme is the Development Management Project, a team-based consulting exercise for real-world, public, private, and non-profit organisations, such as the World Bank, Oxfam, PricewaterhouseCoopers, GIZ, CARE, DFID, Save the Children, UNICEF, or the Emerging Markets Group.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Development Management
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadline
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2016 752
Intake 2016 86
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open 
Tuition fee UK/EU: £20,904
Overseas £20,904
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 26 April 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline, with social science or humanities an advantage
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Standard (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

This programme is centred on a compulsory course that employs a comparative political economy approach to examine the institutional roots of development and non-development. You will also select courses from options in International Development, Economics, Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour, Accounting, Gender, Geography, Government, Management, and Social Policy, and will complete a dissertation of up to 10,000 words.

In addition, you will participate in a live group consultancy project for a leading development agency, which forms part of your total assessment. You will have the opportunity to attend a weekly lecture series that brings to the School prominent scholars and practitioners who discuss the findings and methodological dimensions of development research and/or problems of development practice.

Development Management
Employs a political economy approach to examine the causes of development and non-development. 

Research Design and Dissertation in International Development
Combines a dissertation (an independent research project of 10,000 words, on an approved topic of your choice) with supporting lectures on research methods and the use of research in development practice.

Research Themes in International Development
This non-assessed course introduces students to the practical world of development which will facilitate their career paths and prepare them for the consultancy project, and introduce students to the interface between policy practice and development academia. 

Courses to the value of two units from a range of options

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

A short, focused, introductory course on accounting practices and techniques will be held at the beginning of the programme. Thereafter, you take examined courses up to a total of four full units. The average number of contact hours per week is 12 hours, which includes lectures and seminars. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Teaching methods

Courses are taught in lecture and class or seminar format. Lectures introduce the core theoretical and technical concepts whilst their associated classes allow you to discuss and apply these concepts through exercises and in-depth study. Seminars allow for the focused study of key concepts in a more informal style and often involve presentations by students on selected course materials. Many teachers adopt a variety of teaching methods to deliver their courses, such as class exercises, team presentations, individual or group work, or case study discussions.

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide


All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. All full-unit courses are assessed by three hour unseen examinations in the summer term. Half-units are assessed by two hour unseen examinations. Some of the half-unit optional courses also have group/individual project work as part of the assessment. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic adviser who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.


Preliminary reading

There is no general textbook for the course, which brings together insights from a range of disciplines dealing with problems of management and institutional reform. The weekly reading lists identify a small number of key texts which everyone should read, and provide a range of further readings for those particularly interested in the topic. The following is a list of general readings that cover key issues addressed in the course. There are, however, a few texts from which the course draws heavily, which students should buy. It is recommended that students begin reading Faguet (2012) and Brett (2009) and any one other of these books before the start of the academic year.

Required reading

D Acemoglu and J Robinson Why Nations Fail: the origins of power, prosperity and poverty (Crown, 2012)

E A Brett Reconstructing Development Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

J Diamond Guns Germs and Steel (Vintage, 1997)  See also the 3-part documentary based on the book.

J P Faguet Decentralization and Popular Democracy: governance from below in Bolivia (University of Michigan Press, 2012) (Students with easy access to North American mail delivery can get a 60% discount directly from the publisher)

D C North, J J Wallis and B R Weingast Violence and Social Orders (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

D Rodrik In Search of Prosperity: analytical narratives on economic growth (Princeton University Press, 2003)

Strongly recommended 

C Boix Political Order and Inequality: their foundations and their consequences for human welfare (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

P Collier The Bottom Billion: why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it (Oxford University Press)

F Fukuyama The Origins of Political Order: from prehuman times to the French revolution (Profile Books, 2012)

A Kohli State-directed development: political power and industrialization in the global periphery(Cambridge University Press, 2004) A networked e-book is available via the Library catalogue

M Olson and S Kahkonen A Not-so-Dismal Science: a broader view of economies and societies (Oxford University Press, 2000). A networked e-book is available via Library catalogue.

R D Putnam Making Democracy Work: civic traditions in modern Italy (Princeton University Press, 1993)
C Tilly Democracy (Cambridge University Press 2007), A networked e-book available via Library catalogue

Recommended background reading

D Acemoglu and J Robinson Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

H J Chang Rethinking development economics (Anthem Press, 2003)

C Clague Institutions and economic development (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997)

W Easterly The elusive quest for growth: Economists' adventures and misadventures in the tropics (MIT Press, 2001)

C Kirkpatrick, and others Handbook on development policy and management (Edward Elgar, 2002)

A Kohli State-directed development: political power and industrialization in the global periphery (Cambridge University Press, 2004)

J Linz and A Stepan Problems of democratic transition and consolidation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996)

D North Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance (Cambridge University Press, 1990)

A Sen Development as Freedom (Oxford University Press, 1999)

World Bank World Development Report 2004: making services work for poor people (World Bank, 2004)


The analytical skills developed here have secured past graduates promising careers in organisations as diverse as central banks, NGOs, multilateral organisations, charities, investment banks, government, consultancies, manufacturing firms and religious missions, and as independent experts and writers.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Dustin R. Daniels

MSc Development Management, 2013
Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor, City of Tallahassee


I chose LSE because of the internationally recognized academic programs and its preeminent position among social science research institutions around the world. I look back on my time at LSE very favorably. In addition to loving my academic experience, the opportunity to build relationships with some of the most accomplished students from around the world was truly edifying.

At LSE, I worked on two live consultancy projects focused on financial development in Sub-Saharan Africa, and social innovation in Sri Lanka. I now work in the Mayor's Office in the Capital City of the State of Florida, the country's third largest state. I also serve as a lecturer in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University.

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Fiona Imbali

Nairobi, Kenya
MSc Development Management

The MSc Development Management is an interdisciplinary programme covering an array of development issues. I have gained many insights as to why nations fail, from both geographical and institutional perspectives. LSE is one of the top universities in the world and I am taught by some of the best brains in development. I have been lectured by Teddy Brett, Jean-Paul Faguet and Elliot Green amongst others.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Development Management

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline, with social science or humanities an advantage.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

See international entry requirements 

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MSc Development Management

UK/EU students: £20,904
Overseas students: £20,904

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. However any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a Home (UK/EU) or Overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Fee reductions and rewards

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Please refer to the Fees Office website for updates.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 
Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 26 April 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities 

Request a prospectus

  • Name
  • Address

Register your interest

  • Name

Speak to Admissions

Content to be supplied