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International Development Studies


The Master’s programme in International Development Studies offers several pre-Master possibilities to academic students to make up for (slight) credit deficiencies.

Pre-Master's programme for academic Bachelors (30 ECTS)

Promising students with an academic Bachelor’s degree in a field related to social sciences, but who lack sufficient background for participating in the Master’s programme, may be admitted provided they complete the one-semester pre-Master's programme of 30 ECTS credits first. To be admitted to this programme, you need to apply to the Master’s programme. The admissions committee will decide whether you can follow the pre-Master’s programme. This pre-Master's programme starts in February.

A deficient background includes:

  • Having a very good social science background, but not enough relevant coursework in International Development Studies.
  • Showing excellent academic performance, but lacking social science training.
  • Students with a good academic background in International Development Studies, but who have been out of an educational programme for more than five years, and have not been active in relevant extra-curricular or work activities.
  • International Development Studies
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
  • Restricted-choice electives: Geographies of Uneven Digitalization
    Period 6
  • Restricted-choice electives: Disciplinary elective
    Period 5
    Period 6
See UvA Course Catalogue for more information about this pre-Master's programme

Research methodology module

Promising applicants who are marginally deficient in social science research methodology (so who have completed 12-14 ECTS credits out of the required 18 ECTS credits) and can remedy this deficiency with a short intensive course may be eligible for the Comprehensive Introduction to Research Methodology and Design offered in the summer prior to the Master's programme (July/August). The admissions committee decides whether a student is eligible to take this summer course to qualify for entry to the Master’s programme.

Insufficient research methodology training includes:

  • Overall, an insufficient number of research methodology credits that cannot be compensated with a MOOC (see below).
  • If the applicant does not have enough research methodology credits, and does not have sufficient and relevant research experience through internships and employment experience.

Incoming Master's students who are taking this summer course to prepare for their Master's programme at the UvA Graduate School of Social Sciences will not receive European credits (ECTS). Other students are eligible to gain 6 ECTS for this course. 


Promising students who have some credits in social science research methodology, but need to compensate for some deficiencies, will be asked to complete a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The MOOCs can be offered for qualitative research methods, quantitative research methods, or a combination of them. Applicants who will be asked to do a MOOC include those who:

  • Have a strong qualitative background, but no quantitative training
  • Have a strong quantitative background, but no qualitative training
  • Have nearly enough credits in either qualitative or quantitative, but still need to reach the required number of ECTS credits.
  • Have enough research methodologies ECTS credits, but have been out of academia for some time.
  • Have not had relevant research experience through internships or employment, and thus need to refresh their skills.

Intensive reading assignments

Applicants who have relevant coursework in IDS, relevant internship or work experience in the development sector, and who have sufficient research credits, but are just short of meeting all the application criteria, may be asked by the admissions committee to complete an intensive reading assignment during the summer, and attend one refresher lecture and participate in one discussion seminar on the readings during the introduction week. This will be offered to students who:

  • Have a good range of courses relevant to IDS, but lack a comprehensive introduction to development including the historical emergence, the main approaches, the main discourses and debates in development, and current transformations in the field.
  • Have a strong academic background to IDS, but have been out of academia for more than two years, and thus need a refresher course.
  • Have just under the required number of academic credits for the programme, but are not missing enough to require the semester long pre-Master's programme.

Reading assignments are offered for free and do not require extra tuition fees.

Application to pre-Master's programme

Application for a pre-Master’s programme is not needed or even possible. You must register for the Master’s programme in Studielink and then submit an application through the link in Myinfo, also for the Master’s programme. The Admissions Committee will assess your application for the Master's programme and decide if a pre-Master’s programme or course is needed and if it will sufficiently prepare you for entry to the Master's programme.

Tuition fee

For more information, see webpage on tuition fee and calculator.


If you have questions regarding admission and application, please contact the Admissions Office at  apply-gsss@uva.nl.

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