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International Development

Departmental website: lse.ac.uk/internationalDevelopment

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
Research: 20

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 32

REF: 81 per cent of the Department's research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent

Location: Connaught House

About the Department

The Department of International Development was established in 1990 to promote interdisciplinary graduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change. The Department is dedicated to understanding problems of poverty and late development within local communities, national political and economic systems, and in the international system.

All faculty members are associated with top-ranked departments in the 2014 HEFCE Research Excellence Framework. Members of the Department have considerable experience of living and working in the developing world, and most have engaged in policy-relevant research and consultancy work with international development agencies or non-governmental organisations.

Students in our MRes and research programmes come from all over the world and have found employment in both academia and a wide variety of government, non-government, and private-sector organisations working in the developing world.  Recent placements include the DFID, ODI, World Bank, University of Leeds, Wesleyan University, LSE, Bank of England, and BRAC.

Opportunities for research

The Department of International Development has established a vibrant MRes/PhD programme with students employing a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods from across the social sciences to research questions of development around the globe. 

From 2015 the MRes programme is normally the primary entry point to the research stream and replaces the first year (MPhil) of the MPhil/PhD programme. The MRes programme is designed to both train students in a common academic heritage and to provide significant flexibility to develop advanced methodological and theoretical skills within disciplinary specialisms appropriate to their research interests.  

Prospective students should have a strong academic record and graduate training (at the MSc level) demonstrating a high standard of achievement. This includes any languages necessary for the proposed research and methodological and theoretical grounding in one of the social science disciplines.

Accepted students in the MRes degree who are planning to use advanced quantitative analysis in their PhD research are required to take the summer (September) Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics. Students must achieve a mark of 70 if they wish to request admission to any of the advanced (MRes level) methodology courses offered by the Department of Economics.

During the academic year MRes students acquire methodological training, language skills (if necessary), and background knowledge of specific topics related to their research by working closely with their supervisor and taking advanced methodology and theory courses at the Department or in the School, to a total of four full units of coursework. These include two and a half units of advanced methodology and theory courses (to be determined by the student’s supervisor), a half unit course in Development Theory, History and Policy, and a one unit course on research design for which they will develop their PhD proposal. In addition, all students participate in a 500-level research student seminar series where ongoing work is presented and debated.

Students that satisfactorily complete the four units of coursework, including their research proposal, will receive the MRes degree. MRes students who achieve an average mark of 65 across their three full course credits, and a mark of at least 65 on their PhD proposal, will be allowed to progress to the PhD programme.

Taught programmes

In addition to the programmes listed above, the Department contributes to:


MRes/PhD International Development

Application code: Y2ZI, Y2ED (VRS) (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: MRes 1 year, PhD 3–4 years, VRS up to 9 months 

Entry requirement: Strong academic record and graduate training, equivalent to a UK taught master's degree achieved with a high merit (65 average or above in coursework and 65 or above on the dissertation where one exists), including grounding in the appropriate social science theory, methodology, and languages relevant to the proposed research

English requirement: Research

GRE/GMAT requirement: Highly recommended but not strictly required if student cannot attend to sit the test

Fee level: See Tuition fees

Financial support: LSE scholarships and studentships (see Financial support). LSE is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Centre. The MRes/PhD International Development is part of the Political Science and International Studies group of accredited programmes for ESRC funding (see ESRC). Department doctoral scholarships may be available to EU/UK and overseas applicants

Application deadline: 11 January 2016. Late applications can be considered until 27 April 2016, but candidates are advised that places for late admission are limited. Selection for funding is also based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents – by 11 January 2016