In the first block of the programme, 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.
In the second block of the programme, students take two elective courses and the second half of the research training and fieldwork preparation course. Simultaneously, students will begin drafting their research proposals which will be finalised by mid-January before they leave for fieldwork.
During the second semester, 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 course Job Market Preparation in ID 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.
Together, the fieldwork and the Master's thesis come to 24 EC 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 think about possible topics. Once they have accepted their offer to start the programme, they will get access to the Canvas fieldwork page. For the most part, students will join a topic in line with the supervisor's expertise. 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 consists of 20,000-25,000 words.
The biggest difference between the regular and the research programme is the time factor. In our research master there’s more time to gain more in depth knowledge and you will become an expert in the field.
The period you will spend on fieldwork will be longer in the research master (14-16 weeks), compared with the regular master IDS (8-10 weeks).
In the research master there is a strong focus on methodology courses.
The regular master’s programme is more practical, the research master has a more academical character.
The thesis for the Research Master is longer and builds up to writing an academic article.
Once the thesis proposal has been approved by your thesis supervisor, one-year master students (MIDS) undertake three months of fieldwork in Block 4, i.e. between the end of January until early April (for exact dates please consult your specific MIDS Canvas Page). The research master students (RMIDS) undertake three to six months of fieldwork in Block 1 and 2 of their second year or between the end of August until early January (for exact dates please consult your specific RMIDS Canvas Page).
While every supervision is different depending on the student and the supervisors, all students are entitled to a maximum of eight meetings with his/her first supervisor to discuss data-analysis, chapters, the final draft or other issues the student or supervisor considers relevant. The date of submission of the thesis, the date of the thesis defense and planned graduation date have to be carefully coordinated with the supervisor and second reader, to ensure their availability in the planned period.