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MSc African Development

About the MSc programme

The MSc African Development programme aims to provide students with a high quality academic introduction to the study of politics, economic development, and economic policy in Africa. The programme employs political economy approaches to understand the variegated national trajectories of African states, regionalism and localism in politics and economics, and the political and economic forces that shape Africa's insertion into the global economy. One core objective of the programme is to track the causes and effects of shifts over time in development theory and practice -- these have exerted powerful effects on public policy in Africa since the mid-twentieth century. A second objective will be to identify forces that produce political economy similarities and differences across and within African countries. A third is to consider the global, political and institutional, environmental, and technological changes that are shaping Africa's future.

The programme aims to recruit students from all over the world and will consider all applicants with degrees in any subject. A first degree in the social or policy sciences will provide useful skills and background. The course also welcomes applicants with backgrounds in fields related to health, earth sciences and natural resource management, agriculture, engineering, and business. As the programme requires intensive reading across a broad literature drawn from the various social science disciplines, students must have high proficiency in English to perform well.

Programme details

The MSc in African Development consists of the compulsory courses African Political Economy and African Development. Students combine this with either Development: History, Theory, and Policy, or Development Management, or the half unit course in Key Issues in Development Studies plus one of the following half-unit courses: International Institutions and Late Development, Global Health and Development, Complex Emergencies, or Managing Humanitarianism. Students are also required to do the full-unit course in Research Design and Dissertation in Development Studies, which includes Social Research Methods in Developing Countries. Students then select courses to the value of one full unit from a wide range of optional courses from within LSE to broaden their disciplinary, substantive, and methodological training.

African Political Economy and African Development will require students to complete class assignments and formative essays, plus summer term exams. Other compulsory courses will also require formative essays and exams in the summer term. The MSc dissertation of approximately 10,000 words on a topic related to development in Africa allows you to tailor your studies to your academic and career objectives. Students are expected to participate in many of the public and departmental lectures, conferences, and workshop series that take place throughout the year at LSE, as well as in the Africa Film Discussion Series that is organised for this programme.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of one full unit from a range of options.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc African Development 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

Graduate destinations

Many LSE International Development students go on to pursue PhDs in related disciplines, and we anticipate that many African Development students will follow this path. We also expect that African Development MSc students, like other International Development students, will find opportunities in international aid agencies, NGOs, government agencies, the media, and research positions that allow them to employ the skills gained on the African Development degree programme.



Application code: L8UA (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 13/46

Minimum entry requirement:  Good first degree (equivalent to a 2:1 in the UK system or a GPA of 3.5 or higher) in any subject, with social science or humanities an advantage (see entry requirements). As there are a large number of qualified students applying, we place importance on students’ personal statements for applying to the programme 

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £12,504; overseas £19,344 

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

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions