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. 

First semester

The programme starts with a comprehensive core course that discusses the theoretical foundations of International Development Studies (IDS), topical debates in the field of IDS, gives some insight into its applications in policy and practice. In addition to this, students take one elective course, a course in mixed methods and research methodology, and write a research proposal to prepare for fieldwork. There is also an intensive one-week intensive policy and practice seminar will acquaint students with the professional world in Development. 

Second semester 

The second semester is made up of fieldwork and writing the thesis. The thesis writing processes is supported by a thesis seminar which meets four times at regular intervals after returning from the field. 

Research Master

For students interested in developing additional research skills in this field, there is also a two-year research Master in International Development Studies.


The Master's thesis (24 ECTS credits) is based on the student’s independent fieldwork research and combines theory with empirical findings. It is carried out by the student under the supervision of a faculty member. Students will spend approximately eight weeks carrying out their fieldwork, usually in a developing country. For the most part, topics will be related to the three main lines of research within the GID Research Group programme. 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

7 June 2017