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Study programme

International Development Studies (Research MSc)

Programme outline

This two-year programme offers a range of specialised courses mainly emphasising state-of-the art theories and approaches towards international development studies. The first year of the programme consists of classroom courses.  In addition to one required thematic core course , students can choose from a range of thematic electives. Similarly, the students take a required course on Epistemology and methodologies in mixed methods and  then choose from a wide range of methodological electives. The last course of the year – Undertaking Fieldwork in developing Countries – prepares for the second year, a year of scholarly practice.  

During this second year of the programme, students conduct sustained independent study in a developing country, on a topic related to international development. They develop their individual portfolio, and attend  the professional and academic skills seminar in which they prepare for an academic or professional career. After completion of the Master's thesis, students also write an academic article together with a member of staff of AISSR.


The research Master's programme concludes with a Master's thesis and an academic article. The thesis is based on an individual research project completed during the second year of the programme and has a clear link with contemporary theoretical debates. The fieldwork for this research takes place in a developing country, predominantly in Latin America & the Caribbean, Africa or Asia. Topics for field research and the thesis will preferably be embedded in the GID Research Group’s three lines of research:

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

Students translate their research findings into an article that meets the requirements for submission to a scientific journal.

Degree requirements

The research MSc in International Development Studies is awarded upon completion of 120 ECTS credits, including all required courses in the curriculum and a written Master's thesis, which is based on an independent research project.

Detailed course information

For a detailed description of courses in this programme, visit the UvA Course Catalogue through the link below.

Accreditation and academic title

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

The quality of this Master’s degree has been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of The Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) in conformity with the Higher Education and Scientific Research Act (WHW) under registration number 60218. This means that the MSc degree is legally recognised.