Graduate School of Social Sciences

Master's International Development Studies

Information on the Master's programme in International Development Studies (MSc).

International Development Studies focuses on global development issues. In an increasingly interconnected world, several cities and regions have successfully adjusted to the processes of economic globalisation and show high growth rates; simultaneously, processes of impoverishment and exclusion occur all over the world, both in the North and South.

Virtually everyone who wants to deal with international affairs or who would like to work internationally is confronted with issues such as poverty, equity, social justice and sustainability. During this programme you will look at these issues at multiple levels in both rural and urban contexts.

Interdisciplinary programme

The Master’s programme in International Development Studies is an interdisciplinary programme in terms of content, its staff and the students participating in it. The programme provides you with a strong background in contemporary theories and debates in international development, as well as insights into more specific themes. You will have the opportunity to specialise in, for example:

  • the role of education in development 
  • economics 
  • natural resources and environmental concerns 
  • urbanisation and urban inequalities


A characteristic feature of this Master’s programme is a fieldwork period of roughly 8-10 weeks in a developing country, in which you will conduct your own research project. 

Student profile

The Master’s programme in International Development Studies welcomes both Dutch and international students who seek to study international development issues in an interdisciplinary programme and to join an intellectual community known for its open and critical view towards global concerns. The programme is high level and demanding, and we expect you to devote full attention to your studies during the entire year.


Interdisciplinary and problem-oriented training equips you with both academic and professional skills needed for a career in the development sector. You will be well prepared for a position in international and national organisations that work on international development issues. The Master’s programme also provides a valuable foundation for you if you are planning to continue your studies in order to teach or conduct research in development issues.

Focus on research

This programme in International Development Studies builds upon a long tradition of research, often policy oriented, through its extensive global network of both Southern and Northern partners-in-development.  Most of our staff’s research is carried out within the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), more specifically in the research group of Governance and Inclusive Development.

Within this group, there are three lines of research:

  • Governance of natural resources and well-being
  • Urban governance and resilient development
  • Governance resources for human development (education, knowledge, rights and social justice)


Elective courses in the Master’s programme in IDS are offered along the lines of these subgroups and, in principle, students will also carry out their fieldwork within the broad scope of these fields.

Ambition in research?

For students interested in this field of study, we also offer a two-year Research Master’s programme in International Development Studies.

Degree certificate 

Upon successful completion of International Development Studies, students receive a Master of Science (MSc) degree in International Development Studies.

Key facts

Degree programme
MSc International Development Studies
Regular study programme
60 ECTS, 12 months
Language of instruction
Starts in
February, September
CROHO code

Published by  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences