Research Design and Dissertation in International Development

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tasha Fairfield, Dr Sohini Kar and Dr Rajesh Venugopal


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Management (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Health and International Development and MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course covers the design, research, and writing of the 10,000 word dissertation in international development. Students will learn about the challenges of conducting independent research in international development, consider the methods used to generate evidence, and to critically assess the quality and validity of research analysis and findings in development research and policy.


Students are provided with guidance and training on their dissertation over the course of three terms from their academic mentor, lecturers in DV410, and from individual and group sessions provided through LSE Life and the Methodology Institute throughout the academic year.

Formative coursework

Formative verbal feedback is provided on an ongoing basis from the academic mentor, and in the dissertation proposal form in WT. In ST, formative feedback in a more structured format is provided in the dissertation workshop.


Dissertation (100%, 10000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19
Merit 70.2
Pass 10
Fail 0.9

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2022/23: 335

Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable

Controlled access 2022/23: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills