Master International Development Studies

In this Master’s programme you will examine global inequalities, ranging from their causes, characteristics and possible solutions. International Development Studies is concerned with a broad range of topics like poverty, conflict, security, social and gender inequality, sustainability, education, the environment and the relationship between local, national and global processes.

The Master Programme in International Development Studies is anchored by a concern about global inequalities and seeks ways of understanding them, critiquing them, and possibly overcoming them. It addresses issues such as poverty, conflict, security, land rights, gender inequality, education, sustainable development, and climate change, among others, and seeks to draw links between local conditions – in both rural and urban settings – with national and global processes.

While stimulating students to think academically and critically about the challenges development brings, it also provides tools for exploring development through governance approaches at multiple levels of scale, inclusive development approaches, through discourse, and through popular and contested representations of what development is and means to different groups of people around the world.

Interdisciplinary programme

The Master’s Programme in International Development Studies is an interdisciplinary programme and draws on scholary work from Anthropology, Economics, Social and Human Geography, Political Science, and International Relations. Both the staff and students come from these various backgrounds and contribute to an academically and culturally diverse setting. Students can draw on the interdisciplinary background to specialize in certain areas such as education, economics, urban processes, natural resources, sustainable development, and gender, among others.


A key component of this Master’s programme is the requirement to carry out fieldwork for approximately 8 weeks. This is usually carried out in a developing country and will be the basis for writing the Master Thesis.

Student profile

The Master’s programme in International Development Studies welcomes both Dutch and international students who seek to study global development issues in an interdisciplinary programme, and who enjoy and can contribute to an intellectually and culturally diverse community. The programme is demanding and full time. Thus, students must be prepared to devote all their attention their studies during the entire academic year. 


The programme provides students with both academic and professional skills. Academically, students will be equipped with knowledge about key development theories, issues and approaches. They will learn  to discuss and debate them, to think critically about them, to place them in multi-scalar contexts and to seek ways of moving them beyond them to make new contributions to the field. Students will gain invaluable first-hand experience in carrying out an independent research project. Such research will help them be more competitive in the professional world. Students will also obtain writing skills, cultural communication skills, presentation skills, and can build their contacts and networks in the professional world through extra-curricular workshops and seminars offered throughout the year. 

Focus on research

The Masters Programme in International Development Studies builds upon a long tradition of research through its extensive global network of both Southern and Northern partners in development. Most staff members carry out their research within the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research   (AISSR), and are part of the research group of called Governance and Inclusive Development (GID).

Within the GID, there are three main lines of research. These are:

  • Governance of natural resources and well-being
  • Urban governance and resilient development
  • Governance of education, development and social justice

Elective courses in the Masters Programme in International Development Studies are offered along the lines of these subgroups. In general, 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

MSc International Development Studies
Regulier onderwijs
60 EC, 12 maanden

Gepubliceerd door  GSSS

Graduate School of Social Sciences