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MSc Development Management

About the MSc programme

The MSc in Development Management has been offered by the Department of International Development since 1996 and is one of our two main degrees. We currently admit around 70 students to this programme from over 500 applications each year.

Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why are some governed well and others badly? Why are some societies able to move onto virtuous cycles of rising living standards, rising productivity and spreading freedom, while others descend into poverty, chaos and war? How can development managers lead countries onto stable paths of development?

This programme approaches key comparative statics (i.e. the distribution of wealth and poverty across countries) and comparative dynamics (i.e. development as contingent processes over time) of international development through the economic, political and sociological analysis of institutions. We use institutional and organizational theory to help students answer these questions by critically evaluating the mechanisms that govern the operation of the different kinds of agency that are being used in developing countries to promote progressive change. These mechanisms are expected to provide managers of state, private and civic organisations with incentives that reward successful performance, and to make them more accountable to their clients, customers or beneficiaries. We review ongoing debates about the most effective ways of designing state agencies, private firms and NGOs in order to maximise the quality of their performance and contribution to development, emphasising the problems generated by attempts to introduce new practices and processes into late developing countries. The programme provides an analytical basis for making practical judgements about institutional reform programmes by showing how different kinds of institutions and organisations, centralised bureaucracies, markets, participatory and solidaristic agencies operate to provide essential services.

Programme details

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. All students must take Development Management and complete a dissertation of up to 10,000 words. Students also participate in a live group 'consultancy project' for a leading development agency, which forms part of their total assessment. Students 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. Students benefit from joining a highly selective and diverse group of fellow students, bringing practical experience from all over the world.

Compulsory courses

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units from options in Accounting, International Development, Economics, Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour, Gender, Geography, Government, Management, and Social Policy. 

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

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



Application code: L1S4 (check availability)

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time 

Intake/applications in 2013: 97/731

Minimum entry requirement: Good 2:1 in social science, or a degree in another field with relevant work experience (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support)

Application deadline: None - rolling admissions. Early application is advised