Graduate School of Social Sciences

Study programme

International Development Studies (MSc)

Programme outline

The Master’s programme begins once a year in September and runs for 12 months. Some students will be required to follow a half-year preparatory programme before being able to start the one-year Master’s programme. Please click below for an overview of the programme timeline.

First semester

In the first block of the programme, from September to the end of October, students take the comprehensive core course in which we discuss the theoretical foundations of International Development Studies (IDS), topical debates in the field of IDS, and look into the application of development theory to policy and practice. In addition to this, students take the research training and fieldwork preparation course during which time they begin thinking about their field research interests and confirm who their thesis supervisor will be. In the second block of the programme (from November to the end of December), students  take two elective courses (please see link below for the selection of elective courses offered in the coming academic year), and the second half of the research training and fieldwork preparation course. Simultaneously, students will begin drafting their research proposals which will be finalized by mid-January before they leave for fieldwork.

Second semester 

During the second semeseter, beginning mid-January, students will carry out their fieldwork and write up their thesis. Students return from the field in the last week of March in order to begin with the Thesis Seminar, which supports students in the writing process. Students will also meet once a week for the Policy and Practice seminar in which they get exposure to what is happening in the professional field of development and can start thinking about what steps they will want to take after completing the programme.

Fieldwork and Thesis

Together, the fieldwork and the master's thesis come to 24 credits. The thesis is based on the student’s independent fieldwork research and gives the student the opportunity to combine theory with their own empirical findings. It is carried out by the student under the supervision of a faculty member. As students consider applying to the programme, they are encouraged to look at the fieldwork guide from the previous year to see what kind of topics have been offered at that time. While some topics may change slightly from one year to the next, the fieldwork guide gives a clear overview of what students can expect. For the most part, students will join into existing projects or topics found in the fieldwork guide which largely correspond with the GID Research Group. There is some space in the programme for students who wish to pursue additional topics outside of these selections, but it is important to be aware that finding expertise supervision may be more difficult, and students will have to draw more on their own networks and options for arranging the fieldwork. The Master's thesis with a required length of 20,000-25,000 words.

Degree requirements

The title of MSc in International Development Studies is awarded when the student has obtained the full 60 ECTS credits, based on all required and elective courses in the curriculum, fieldwork, and the final thesis. 

Detailed course information

The complete description of all courses in this programme can be found in the online UvA Course Catalogue.

Published by  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences

13 March 2018