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MSc Development Studies MSc Development Studies (Research)

About the MSc programmes

These programmes aim to provide students with a high quality academic training in development studies, using contemporary theory in the social sciences to understand the processes, policy and practice of development.. We will consider applicants with a background in any subject, although a first degree in a social science or humanities subject would be an advantage. As the programme requires intensive reading across a broad range of literature drawn from various social science disciplines students must have a high proficiency in the English language to perform well. The MSc Development Studies offers you a wide range of choice in optional courses within the School so that you can deepen or broaden your disciplinary training, or take up the advanced study of a particular region of the developing world. The MSc Development Studies (Research) offers you a choice of courses for advanced training in research methodology through LSE's Department of Methodology (see Department of Methodology), including both qualitative and quantitative elements. Flexibility of dissertation topics in both programmes allows you to shape your studies to your needs and career objectives.

The MSc Development Studies brings together an exciting group of European and international students with a diversity of academic and professional backgrounds who have gone on to establish an international alumni network involved in development research and practice.

Programme details

Students for both programmes must take the compulsory courses, Development: History, Theory and Policy; the component course on Social Research Methods in Developing Countries, and complete a 10,000 word dissertation. Students on the research programme must also take the course on Foundations of Social Research taught in the Department of Methodology and the equivalent of one full unit of optional courses. Students studying for the main MSc will take the equivalent of two full units from the list of optional courses.

During the Michaelmas term you have the opportunity to attend a weekly lecture series in development research offered by faculty members based on their first-hand research experience. On average you will have about 13 hours of lectures and classes a week during Michaelmas term and nine and a half hours during Lent term plus the opportunity to meet with a faculty adviser during weekly office hours. You will also participate in a dissertation workshop during Summer term, where students present and discuss their dissertation proposals.

Compulsory courses

  • Development: History, Theory and Policy is a full unit intensive core course, which allows students to study the theories and historical experience of development, as well as the cutting-edge policy debates of the present.  The course provides students with a strong foundation to engage with the economic, political and social dimensions of development policy and practice. By meeting throughout the Michaelmas and Lent Terms at weekly lectures and in much more intimate weekly classes, students build a comprehensive and coherent foundation to bring together the diverse optional courses they choose in their individually designed programme of study.
  • Foundations of Social Research (compulsory course for the Research track) provides an introduction to quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Dissertation including Social Research Methods in Developing Countries and dissertation workshops.

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two full units (MSc Development Studies) or one full unit (MSc Development Studies (Research)) from options in Anthropology, Economic History, Economics, Gender, Geography and Environment, Government, International Relations, Law, Population Studies 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

Recent graduates have gained employment in government, international development agencies, international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international and local private firms, or have gone on to obtain PhDs in development studies or other social science disciplines.


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Application code: Y2U6 (Y2U2 Research) (check availability|)

Start date: 24 September 2015

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

Intake/applications in 2013: 86/701

Minimum entry requirement: Good first degree in any subject with social science or humanities an advantage (see entry requirements|)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements|)

GRE/GMAT requirement: Not required but will be considered if submitted

Fee level: UK/EU £12,024; overseas £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support|). The MSc Development Studies (Research) is accredited for ESRC funding as part of a four year award (see ESRC|)

Application deadline: None - rolling admissions. Students are advised that applications received before the end of February stand the best chance for full consideration, and for ESRC nomination complete application required by 12 January 2015

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