Programmes

MSc Development Studies

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code Y2U6
  • Starting 2021
  • UK/EU full-time: Open
  • UK/EU part-time: Open
  • Overseas full-time: Open
  • Overseas part-time: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

PLAY_MScDevelopmentStudiesAt LSE

The MSc in Development Studies provides you with high-quality academic training in development studies, using contemporary theory in the social sciences to understand the processes, policy and practice of development.

No field in contemporary social science is more challenging and exciting than the study of development – the processes involved in overcoming poverty and creating healthy, wealthy and sustainable societies.

A full-unit core course in Development: History, Theory and Policy introduces you to the theories and historical experience of development, as well as cutting-edge policy debates. The course gives you a strong foundation to engage with the economic, political and social dimensions of development policy and practice. You will also choose from a wide range of optional courses within the School to deepen or broaden your disciplinary training, or take up the advanced study of a particular region of the developing world.

The programme brings together students from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, and recent graduates have gone on to work in government, international development agencies and NGOs, as well as development consultancies and think tanks, or gone on to PhD study.

Teaching and learning in 2021
We hope that programmes beginning in September 2021 will be unaffected by Coronavirus. If there are going to be any changes to the delivery of the programme we will update this page to reflect the amendments and all offer holders will be notified. For more information about LSE's teaching plans for 2020 please visit: https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Graduate/Prospective-students/Teaching-Methods and to view our Coronavirus FAQ's for prospective students please see: https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/meet-visit-and-discover-LSE/COVID-19/Coronavirus-FAQs-for-prospective-applicants

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Development Studies
Start date 27 September 2021
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2019 714
Intake 2019 101
Tuition fee Home: £15,216
Overseas £23,520
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 29 April 2021)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline, with social science or humanities an advantage
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Development Studies

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline, with social science or humanities an advantage.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- statement of academic purpose
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2021/22 for Development Studies

Home students: £15,216
Overseas students: £23,520

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification.

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide generous scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an offer for a place and submitting a Graduate Financial Support application, before the funding deadline. Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 29 April 2021.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Information for international students

LSE is an international community, with over 140 nationalities represented amongst its student body. We celebrate this diversity through everything we do.  

If you are applying to LSE from outside of the UK then take a look at our Information for International students

1) Take a note of the UK qualifications we require for your programme of interest (found in the ‘Entry requirements’ section of this page. 

2) Go to the International Students section of our website. 

3) Select your country. 

4) Select ‘Graduate entry requirements’ and scroll until you arrive at the information about your local/national qualification. Compare the stated UK entry requirements listed on this page with the local/national entry requirement listed on your country specific page 

Programme structure and courses

You will 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. You will also select courses from options in Anthropology, Economic History, Gender Institute, Geography and Environment, Government, International Relations, Law, International Development, and Social Policy.

Development: History, Theory and Policy
Covers the theories and historical experience of development, as well as the cutting-edge policy debates and development practice of the present. The course provides you with a strong foundation to engage with the economic, political and social dimensions of development policy and practice.

Research Design and Dissertation in International Development
Combines a dissertation (an independent research project of 10,000 words, on an approved topic of your choice) with supporting lectures on research methods and the use of research in development practice.

Cutting Edge Issues in Development Thinking and Practice (unassessed)
This non-assessed course introduces students to the practical world of development which will facilitate their career paths and prepare them for the consultancy project, and introduce students to the interface between policy practice and development academia.

Fundamentals of Research Design (unassessed)
Introduces MSc students in the Department of International Development to theoretical and practical foundations of social science research design.

Courses to the value of two units from a range of options

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page. 

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that 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 events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. 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.

Specialisms

Students who choose to concentrate their electives and dissertation in a certain topic area may elect to have a specialism in "African Development”, “Population Studies” or "Applied Development Economics" attached to their degree certificate and transcript. To obtain the specialism indication, students must meet the criteria below.

African Development: students must take African Development (DV418) and African Political Economy (DV435). Further to this, their dissertation topic must be approved as being appropriate for this specialism.

Population Studies: students must take the following two courses: Population and Development: Global Health and Population Change (DV444); and Population, Health and Development: Evidence and Projections (DV456). Further to this, their dissertation topic must be approved as being appropriate for this specialism.

Applied Development Economics: students must take at least two of the following three courses: Economic Development Policy I (DV490), Economic Development Policy II (DV491) and Economic Development Policy III (DV492). Further to this, their dissertation topic must be approved as being appropriate for this specialism.

If no such election is made, the degree certificate will state “Development Studies” without further specification.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 30-40 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect  60-75 contact hours in total. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

During 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 you present and discuss your dissertation proposals.

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, critical thinking and secondary research.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research, and therefore, employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as assistant professors, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ LSE Fellows, graduate teaching assistants, guest teachers and visiting members of staff. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams to name a few. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic mentor who will be available for guidance and advice regarding academic or personal concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

Through the Language Centre, you can access English language support both before you start at LSE and during your studies. Our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme focuses on the skills required to perform in an English speaking academic environment across the core subject areas you will encounter during your time at LSE.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Student support and resources

We’re here to help and support you throughout your time at LSE, whether you need help with your academic studies, support with your welfare and wellbeing or simply to develop on a personal and professional level.

Whatever your query, big or small there are a range of people you can speak to and who will be happy to help.  

Academic mentors – an academic member of staff who meets with you during the course of the year to discuss your academic progress and who can help with any academic, administrative or personal questions you have. (See Teaching and assessment)

Department librarians – they will be able to help you navigate the library and maximise its resources during your studies. 

Accommodation service  - they can offer advice on living in halls and offer guidance on private accommodation related queries. 

Class teachers and seminar leaders – they will be able to assist with queries relating to a specific course you are taking. 

Disability and Wellbeing Service – the staff are experts in long term health conditions, sensory impairments, mental health and specific learning difficulties. They offer confidential and free services such as student counselling, a peer support scheme, arranging exam adjustments and run groups and workshops. 

IT help– support available 24 hours a day to assist with all of your technology queries.  

LSE Faith Centre – home to LSE's diverse religious activities and transformational interfaith leadership programmes, as well as a space for worship, prayer and quiet reflection. It includes Islamic prayer rooms and a main space for worship. It is also a space for wellbeing classes on campus and is open to all students and staff from all faiths and none.  

Language Centre– the centre specialises in offering language courses targeted to the needs of students and practitioners in the social sciences. We offer pre-course English for Academic Purposes programmes; English language support during your studies; modern language courses in 9 languages; proofreading, translation and document authentication and language learning community activities.

LSE Careers ­- with the help of LSE Careers, you can make the most of the opportunities that London has to offer. Whatever your future career plans, LSE Careers will work with you, connecting you to opportunities and experiences from internships and volunteering to networking events and employer and alumni insights. 

LSE Library  Founded in 1896, the British Library of Political and Economic Science is the major international library of the social sciences. It stays open late, has lots of excellent resources and it’s a great place to study. As an LSE student, you’ll have access to a number of other academic libraries in Greater London and nationwide. 

LSE LIFE – this is where you should go to develop skills you’ll use as a student and beyond. The centre runs talks and workshops on skills you’ll find useful in the classroom, offer one-to-one sessions with study advisers who can help you with reading, making notes, writing, research and exam revision, and provide drop-in sessions for academic and personal support.(See ‘Teaching and assessment). 

LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) – they offer academic, personal and financial advice and funding. 

PhD Academy - is available for PhD students, wherever they are, to take part in interdisciplinary events and other professional development activities and access all the services related to their registration. 

Sardinia House Dental Practice - offers discounted private dental services to LSE students. 

St Philips Medical Centre - based in Pethwick-Lawrence House the centre provides NHS Primary Care services to registered patients. 

Student Services Centre – our staff here can answer general queries and can point you in the direction of other LSE services.  

Student advocates and advisers– we have a School Senior Advocate for Students and an Adviser to Women Students who can help with academic and pastoral matters. 

Student life

As a student at LSE you’ll be based at our central London campus. Find out what our campus and London have to offer you on academic, social and career perspective. 

Student societies and activities

Your time at LSE is not just about studying, there are plenty of ways to get involved in extracurricular activities. From joining one of over 200 societies, or starting your own society, to volunteering for a local charity, or attending a public lecture by a world-leading figure, there is a lot to choose from. 

The campus 

LSE is based on one campus in the centre of London. Despite the busy feel of the surrounding area, many of the streets around campus are pedestrianised, meaning the campus feels like a real community. 

Life in London 

London is an exciting, vibrant and colourful city. It's also an academic city, with more than 400,000 university students. Whatever your interests or appetite you will find something to suit your palate and pocket in this truly international capital. Make the most of career opportunities and social activities, theatre, museums, music and more. 

Want to find out more? Read why we think London is a fantastic student city, find out about key sights, places and experiences for new Londoners. Don't fear, London doesn't have to be super expensive: hear about London on a budget

Student stories

Michael Canares

MSc Development Studies
Tagbilaran City, Philippines 

Michael-Canares-170x230

The Development Studies programme at LSE is very interdisciplinary, multi-cultural and pragmatic. It allows meaningful conversation between different disciplines – among economists, anthropologists, political scientists, and even those in the hard sciences. Most importantly, the programme highlights the link between theory and practice. Development theory, poverty, local politics, rural development, and development assistance, among others, are ably captured by the programme and are taught by experts in the field.


Adam Hyde

MSc Development Studies

Adam-Hyde-170x230

LSE embodies exactly what I want in an education: a practical base, a support structure geared at facilitating open study and engagement in the world, and a mentality that fosters innovation, leadership and action. LSE has focussed me, disciplined me and, most importantly, given me the confidence and ability to achieve whatever it is I set my sights on.

The fundamental importance, intensity and quality of the subjects offered within the Department of International Development is giving me a great base and confidence to achieve all I hope to achieve in the future. It is really exciting and hopefully we can all make some positive contribution in coming years.

Careers

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

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Shaina Hasan

MSc in Development Studies, 2011
Consultant, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)

ShainaHasan170x230

Prior to LSE, I was working as a Marketing Executive in the media industry. I have always been interested in working in the development sector and I decided to pursue a degree in Development Studies. My graduate study in development was a one year expedition of self-discovery that transformed my life completely. Upon graduation, I applied for an internship programme at UN ESCAP, Thailand and was luckily accepted. I took up another internship offer at The United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID) in Jakarta to work on REDD+ mechanisms in Indonesia. While I was working as an intern in Jakarta, I received an email from my senior in ESCAP asking if I would be interested in accepting an assignment at UN ESCAP. The answer was an immediate yes!

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Contact us

To contact department programme administrators Intdev.Enquiries@lse.ac.uk.

To contact a current student Ambassador Intdev.Mentors@lse.ac.uk.

For general enquires about the admission process please contact Graduate Admissions

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