Frequently Asked Questions

These pages contain the answers to a number of frequently asked questions about postgraduate study in the Department of International Development. If your question is not answered in these pages please contact us.

MSc programmes

General questions

Where is the Department of International Development located? 

The Department is located in Connaught House. Administrative offices are on the 8th floor and academic staff offices are on the 6th, 7th and 8th floors. 

The department's postal address is: Department of International Development, LSE, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE. 

What jobs do International Development graduates go on to do? 

Our graduates are employed in a wide range of posts, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations such as the UN and World Bank, regional and national governments, charitable organisations, consultancies, think-tanks and research institutions. Some continue their studies to obtain a PhD. 

Visit the Careers Service to find out more about International Development graduate destinations. 

What links does International Development have with other departments in the LSE? 

The Department offers five joint degrees with other LSE departments and institutes including Anthropology, Geography and Environment and Economic History. 

Students on any of our four MSc programmes also have the opportunity to take a wide range of optional courses from departments across LSE. Please see the course-related questions below for more information. 

Application questions

When should I send my application? 

There is no set deadline for receiving applications. Applications are considered on a rolling basis and programmes will close once we have reached the registration target for each programme. 

The online application system opens in October for admission in the following September. You should submit your application as early as possible as our programmes are very popular and are often full by early March. You can check which programmes still have places available by visiting the Graduate Admissions website

Applications for all available programmes should be made via the online application system. Entry requirements and other details about the application process are available from Graduate Admissions. 

Your application, references and other supporting documents should be submitted through the Graduate Admissions system. Please do not send documents to the department as this will delay the processing of your application. 

How can I check on the progress of my application?  

You can track your application using the Graduate Application Tracker. Any changes to your application status will be immediately posted on the tracker, so please check it frequently. 

Do I have to send two academic references, or can I send a professional reference instead? 

If you graduated after January 2018, you must supply two academic references. References should be from a teaching member of your current (or, if you have graduated, your most recent) university department. 

If you graduated before January 2018, you may supply one non- academic reference in place of one of your academic references. This should normally be a reference from your most recent employer.  

If you graduated from your most recent academic study before January 2016 and no academic references are available, you may supply two professional references. It is in your interests to supply academic references wherever possible 

What is the difference between a full-time and a part-time degree?  

A full-time degree consists of four units and will take 12 months to complete. 

A part-time degree also consists of four units, but takes 24 months to complete. Part-time students will take courses to the value of two units in each year of registration. Compulsory courses should be taken in the first year and the dissertation should be produced in the second year.  

Please note that there is no difference in the total number of teaching hours for full-time and part-time students, the teaching hours are just spread over a longer period for part-time students.  

What are the fees for International Development programmes? 

Fees vary by programme. Full details of fees for the upcoming academic year are available on LSE’s Fees website. 

You can find out if you are eligible for Home (UK or EU) fees by checking the fee status classification. Your fee status (Home/EU or Overseas) will be detailed on your offer of admission. 

Is funding available from the department? 

LSE offers over £13 million in scholarships each year to its graduate students from the UK, the EU and outside the EU. For information on eligibility please see the Fees and funding website. 

Is there a required academic background? 

Please see individual programme webpages.  

MSc Development Studies 

MSc Development Management 

MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies 

MSc Health and International Development 

MSc Economic Policy for International Development

Do I need GRE or GMAT? 

You do not need GRE or GMAT to apply to the programmes in International Development. 

What is the minimum English language requirement? 

Please see the LSE English Language requirement webpage.  The programmes in the International Development department require the higher English Language scores. 

Will I have to attend an interview? 

No, we do not interview for any of our MSc programmes. 

Does LSE offer accommodation for postgraduate students? 

There are a limited number of places available for postgraduate students in LSE student halls. However, most LSE students live in privately rented housing

The LSE Residential Services Office guide to finding private housing has links to accommodation search engines as well as information on London, how much rent you should expect to pay, and advice on rental agreements.  

Does the department hold an open day for prospective students? 

Open days and Campus Tours are organised centrally by the school. Visit LSE 

Programme-related questions

What are the differences in the MSc programmes offered by the department? 

Each of our programmes has a distinctive compulsory course which allows students to combine core knowledge with optional courses. Optional courses can be chosen from within the department, or from a wide range of offerings across LSE. 

MSc Development Studies students take Development: History, Theory and Policy, Research Design and Dissertation in Development Studies and Research Themes in International Development, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation. They will also select courses from options in Anthropology, Economic History, Gender Institute, Geography and Environment, Government, International Relations, Law, International Development, and Social Policy.

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

MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies  students will take three compulsory courses and complete a dissertation of up to 10,000 words. They will select courses from options in Anthropology, Development Studies, Gender, Government, International Relations, Management Philosophy and Social Policy.

MSc Heath and International Development students will take the compulsory courses Key Issues in Development Studies and Key Issues in Global Health and Development, and will choose two courses focusing on health and development. They will also choose further optional courses from a wide range, either within International Development or from other departments and institutes within the School such as Geography and Environment, Health Policy, Social Policy and Psychological and Behavioural Science.

MSc Economic Policy for International Development students will have an opportunity to explore ideas and concepts in development economics in depth through a combination of core and elective courses. The core courses provide both an applied introduction to quantitative causal inference and an opportunity to engage with frontier applied policy analyses across a range of key issues in development economics.

How is the year structured and what are the term dates?  

The year is divided into three terms: Autumn (September to December), Winter (January to March) and Spring (April to June). You can view term dates here. 

A full-unit course will run over both the Autumn and Winter terms. A half-unit course will run during one term only. 

In the Spring term there are usually revision classes and dissertation workshops, followed by examinations which take place during May and June (exact dates will be confirmed by the end of Winter Term). 

The dissertation is due in August via Moodle online submission.  

How many hours of study is involved?  

Most courses require students to attend one 90-120 minute lecture and one 90-120 minute seminar per week. 

Students in the Department of International Development must attend compulsory course Fundamentals of Research Design for International Development (MY410) in the Winter Term. They are also expected to attend the Friday afternoon Cutting Edge Issues in Development Thinking & Practice (DV445) in Autumn and Winter terms. 

In total, full-time students should expect to spend approximately 30 hours per week engaging in academic study (12 hours of lecture and seminars per week, plus 3 hours of reading for each course). For part-time students, this number should be halved, although it may fluctuate depending on course selections and requirements. 

Will I be assigned a supervisor?  

Each MSc student in the department will be assigned an academic mentor at the beginning of the year to advise on course choices, dissertation topics, and other issues - academic or non-academic. 

All members of staff hold regular office hours for student consultation. The department practises an 'open-door policy' and in addition to your academic mentor, you are welcome to approach other member of staff for discussion. 

Is there any preliminary reading I should do?  

A list of introductory readings for each programme will be sent to students over the summer. 

Does the department award any student prizes? 

Prizes are awarded annually per programme as follows: Best overall performance Best dissertation prize. 

Can I study by distance learning or remotely? 

Lectures and classes are only taught during the day, with no evening classes being available for any of our programmes. The International Development Department also does not offer a distance learning or online study options. 

Course-related questions

How are the courses structured? 

Most courses consist of one 90-120 minute lecture and one 90-120 minute seminar per week. Seminars may not always be on the same day as the lecture. 

Full timetables will be available on registration. 

Where can I get more information about compulsory and optional courses?  

The LSE Calendar includes information on all programme regulations and graduate course descriptions. 

Can I take optional courses outside of the department?  

Students can request to take a wide range of optional courses within the Department of International Development, or across the school where regulation and availability permit. 

You can see a full list of available optional courses by checking your programme regulations

How do I choose my optional courses?  

Graduate Course Choice selection will open on LSE for You for browsing at the beginning of Welcome week. During this time you are able to familiarise yourself with the system before it becomes active at the end of Welcome week. You can find a full tutorial on using the Graduate Course Choice system via LSE for You. 

You will have until the start of Week 3 to finalise your course choices. During this time you are encouraged to attend lectures and seminars for all courses you are interested in taking. 

You should choose all of your courses (for both the Autumn and Winter terms) at the beginning of the academic year. Changes to Winter term optional courses only can be made when the system is re-activated in January. 

How do I choose my seminar times? 

You can choose your seminar times for most compulsory and optional courses on LSE for You

How many students will be in my lectures and seminars? 

Depending on the course, lectures can accommodate between 15 and 200 students however seminars are usually limited to maximum of 17 students (this may be less depending on the course). 

ID Specialisms (subject to change for 2024/25)

Which programmes can opt to have a Specialism in ID? 

Specialisms are available to students on MSc Development Studies, MSc Development Management, MSc Health and International Development, and MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies (IDHE).  

What are the requirements to opt for a Specialism? 

For the African Development Specialism: students must take DV418 and DV435, and their dissertation topic must be approved as being appropriate for this specialism. Please note that the African Development specialism will not be running for 2024/25.

For the Population Studies Specialism: you need to take two half units to choose among DV444 Population and Development: Global Health and Population Change, and DV456 Population, Health and Development: Evidence and Projections and MY476 Population Analysis: Methods and Models and your dissertation topic must be approved as being appropriate for this specialism.

For the Applied Development Economics Specialism: DS, DM, DM/Sci Po, and HID students must take DV494 Foundations of Applied Econometrics for Economic Development Policy, plus two courses from: DV490 Economic Development Policy I, DV491 Economic Development Policy II, DV492 Economic Development Policy III. This specialism is not available on the IDHE programme.

Who is the point/contact person for each Specialism? 

For the African Development Specialism contact: Cathy Boone

For the Applied Development Economics Specialism contact: Diana Weinhold   

For the Population Studies Specialism contact:  Arjan Gjonca 

When do I have to make a decision about whether to pursue a specialism, and when will this be confirmed by the Department? 

Students who wish to opt for a specialism can register their interest with the point contact faculty member associated with the Specialism at any time before the first week of ST.  

All students pursuing a specialism will be given conditional approval early in Spring Term (ST) on the basis of the courses they’ve taken and their dissertation topic and proposal.  This conditional approval is subject to final confirmation after the dissertation has been submitted and assessed. 

How do I know what an “appropriate” dissertation is for my specialism and whether my topic/idea will be suitable? 

Students should consult the point/contact person (see FAQ 3 above) for more information about what constitutes an “appropriate” dissertation.  

For the Applied Dev Econ specialism students are encouraged to attend the induction week informational session (more information will be provided after sign-up).

Can I do more than one Specialism if I can fulfil the requirements for both? 

No, students can opt for only one Specialism. 

Do I have to do a Specialism? 

No, Specialisms are entirely OPTIONAL. 

Part-time MSc student FAQs

Are all MSc programmes in the Department of International Development available on a part-time basis? 

Part-time study is available on the following programmes: 

  • MSc Development Studies 
  • MSc Development Management 
  • MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies 
  • MSc Health and International Development 
  • MSc Economic Policy for International Development

How do I structure my modules? 

Part-time study is split over a two-year period, with students typically taking two units per year spread equally across Autumn Term and Winter Term. 

For MSc Development Studies, MSc Development Management, MSc International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies and MSc Health and International Development, you must take the relevant core module in your first year and DV410 in your second year. 

All students must meet with their advisor at the beginning of term to agree their optional course choices. This is a good opportunity to discuss how best to structure your courses to ensure you are able to balance your studies with your other commitments. 

What will my typical contact hours be? 

For each half unit course, contact time is typically 3-3.5 hours per week, consisting of a either a 1.5-2 hour lecture and a 1.5 hour class, but this may vary according to the course so please check the timetable carefully. 

Is there a different timetable for part-time students? 

You will be subject to the same timetable as a full-time student.  

Can you give me some idea of my timetable in advance so that I can plan my time accordingly? 

As the School timetable changes from year to year and is not finalised until August, we are unable to confirm this information in advance. Part-time students are strongly advised to wait until the timetable is available before finalising their other commitments. 

Does LSE offer evening classes? 

Regrettably, LSE does not offer evening lectures or classes.  

If lecturers reschedule their classes and I am unable to attend, what should I do? 

From time to time, it is necessary for lectures or classes to be rescheduled. In such cases, the first point of contact should be the lecturer. Please make full use of the Office Hours offered by lecturers. If the Office Hours are difficult for you to attend, then you should email the lecturer in question. Video recordings of the lecture may be available for some courses. 

Are there other part-time students in my course/department? How do I get in contact with them? 

Please contact one the Department's MSc Administrator’s about this. 

Is there somebody with specific responsibility for part-time student issues in the department? 

Please contact your Programme Director concerning academic matters and the MSc Administrator concerning administrative matters. 

When should I pay the second instalment of tuition fees? 

Please consult with the fees office if you have any fee-related queries.  

When do I get my student ID for my second year? Why is it not valid for two years? 

Wherever possible, your card should normally be valid for two years. However, because of the way our systems work, this is not always possible. If you find that your card does expire before you are due to complete your programme, Student Services will automatically e-mail you before your current card expires to let you know that a new card has been produced and is ready for collection. Upon receipt of that e-mail you just need to come to the Student Services Centre and swap your old card for your new one. 

I am not yet sure whether part-time study is right for me. Can I switch to full time study partway through the year? 

It is possible to change from part-time to full-time study and vice versa partway through the year, but this would require the approval of your programme director. Please read the change of mode of study guidance carefully and note that permission to make either of these changes would only be granted in exceptional circumstances and would depend on the time of year and the teaching and assessments that you have already undertaken. 


Further information

I have more questions - what should I do? 

Please email if you have a general question that hasn't been answered here. Alternatively you may email an individual member of Professional Service Staff or Academic Staff if your question relates specifically to his/her area of expertise. You can find contact information for all International Development staff here.

Questions about the application process and requirements for entry can be answered at Admission Enquires.

MRes/PhD programme

Programme related questions

How is an MRes/PhD degree structured?

The MRes/PhD in International Development is a one-year taught research Master’s linked to a four-year PhD.

The MRes (Master of Research) is a key part of the programme. During the MRes year you will undertake methods training, attend thematic courses and research seminars, and prepare a 10,000 word research proposal which forms the basis of the subsequent PhD project.

Can I study part time for the MRes/PhD in International Development?

All students must apply for full-time study in the first instance. In some exceptional cases, permission may be granted to switch to part-time study after the first year.

Can I study by distance learning or remotely?

No. All of our students must be resident in London. The only exceptions are for students who have received permission to live abroad while conducting overseas research and fieldwork, those who are away on approved academic exchanges at other universities, and those reaching the end of their PhD (the “writing up” phase). Please note that permission to live abroad is on a case-by-case basis and may not always be granted.

Application questions

How can I apply?

All prospective research students must apply using the online application system. Please read the programme description and the answers to frequently asked questions below, before proceeding.

When is the deadline for applications?

To be considered for a place on the MRes/PhD in International Development in the next academic session, you should submit your application by 15 January 2024. 

Please note that applications are not sent to the Department unless they are complete. Missing items (such as references) will delay consideration of your application and may result in your application being rejected due to supervision no longer being available. You are strongly advised to contact your referees well in advance and ask them to submit their letters of support as soon as possible. All application documents must be submitted through LSE Graduate Admissions and cannot be accepted directly by the Department. 

What is the minimum entrance requirement?

The minimum requirement is a very good pass in a Master’s degree in a relevant subject (preferably in a social science discipline).  A very good pass is considered to be 65% or above, or about a 3.5 GPA in the US system. (See our international requirements page to find out what the equivalent is for other international qualifications.) However, competition is high and most admitted students have high passes or Firsts in their undergraduate degrees and Distinctions in their Masters (equivalent to better than 3.8 GPA). Outstanding candidates with substantial relevant professional experience may also be considered, provided they meet the minimum academic requirements.

Is a Master’s degree a pre-requisite for the programme?

Yes. To be considered for entry, prospective applicants must either have a Master’s degree or be working towards one.

I am finishing my Master’s now. Can I still apply if some of my marks are pending?

Yes, you can submit your application and be considered while your marks and Master’s qualification are still pending.

I already have an MRes or MPhil degree. Will I be allowed to skip the MRes year?

No, this is not allowed.

Can I apply for just the MRes rather than a PhD?

There is no separate MRes programme. The MRes/PhD International Development is intended for students wishing to complete a PhD. All students are initially registered as MRes students and are upgraded to PhD status upon completing the MRes and meeting the upgrade requirements at the end of the first year.

Do I need to have a supervisor "on board" prior to making an application?

You don't need to have secured prior agreement from a supervisor before making an application. However, we do ask that you carefully research staff members and their areas of expertise in the International Development department and explain why you would like to be supervised by them - your application is much more likely to be successful if you do this. It also helps us to deal with your application promptly.

To help with this, you can view academic staff profiles on our website at You can also search through all LSE staff filtered by their expertise keywords at

Should I include a full research proposal with my application?

Yes. Applications will only be considered if accompanied by a research proposal. We do not set a maximum word limit but we advise that your research proposal should be approximately 2000 words. Please don't panic about the length of your personal statement or research proposal. The guidance on the word count is there to help you focus your proposal, and not intended to penalise applicants.

What should the research proposal include?

The research proposal should have a descriptive title to enable us to identify the broad theme of the project quickly.

A good research proposal should actively engage with the relevant academic literature, including an introduction to the research problem or question and a discussion of the current theoretical and/or methodological debates to which the proposed research will contribute. The proposal should also indicate how you would go about investigating the proposed topic, eg. what methods and sources of evidence you plan to use. ​The proposal needs to show some depth and coherence, but is understood to be preliminary. MRes students will be expected to significantly deepen and develop their research proposal during the first year of the programme.

For further guidance on writing the research proposal please refer to the supporting documents page.

How can I make sure that my other supporting documents fit the requirements?

Please be guided by the instructions on supporting documents set out by Graduate Admissions. This will ensure that you provide the right information as part of your application. This includes guidance on your sample of written work, personal statement, CV, research proposal and references.

How can I meet LSE’s English Language Requirements?

Please see here for information on how to meet LSE’s English language requirement.

If you do need to submit English Language test scores, you can either take the test now (and submit the scores before applying), or you can apply without the scores and submit them later on (ie, after receiving an offer of a place, but prior to enrolment). If you do it the second way, and you’re made an offer of a place on the programme, then your place would be conditional on passing the test at the required level.

Is there a separate application form for funding?

You do not need to submit a separate application form for LSE or ESRC PhD funding. As long as you have applied for a place on the MRes/PhD International Development by the programme deadline, we will automatically consider you for all PhD funding opportunities you may be eligible for. Please refer to the individual programme page for the relevant deadline information.

In some cases, International Development PhD students who have already completed their first year may be eligible to apply for funding from the LAHP (London Arts and Humanities Partnership), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Students of all nationalities can apply for one of these studentships. Students who are interested should apply directly to the LAHP. Please see here for further details.

Who can I contact for further information?

Please look at the Graduate Admissions webpages for information on submitting your application. Please note that applications and supporting documents should not be sent directly to the Department.

For queries about the programme, please email the PhD Programme Manager, Monika Kruesmann, on



Check back later for our latest Twitter updates.

Contact us


+44(0)20 7955 7425


General Enquires

Address View on Google maps

Department of International Development, Connaught House, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE

Follow us

LinkedIn FaceBook