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

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

We require this pre-Master's programme of applicants who have excelled in their Bachelor’s programme, but who lack a sufficient International Development Studies background. When students have completed the pre-Master's programme successfully, the admission into the Master’s programme is automatic. Please see the link in the official admissions letter to the course catalogue, or follow this link for more information about this programme. To be admitted to this pre-Master's programme, you need to apply to the Master’s programme first. The admissions committee will decide whether you can follow the pre-Master’s programme.  

To specify, we require this of applicants when a deficient background includes:

  • Having a very good social science background, but minimal 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 have been out of an educational programme for more than five years, and have not been active in relevant extra-curricular or work activities relevant to the field.
  • International Development Studies
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 4
    Period 5
  • Restricted-choice electives: IDS Elective
    Period 3
    Period 6
  • Restricted-choice electives: Disciplinary Elective
    Period 1
    Period 2
    Period 4
    Period 5

Research methodology module

Promising applicants who are marginally deficient in social science research methodology (so who have completed 16-18 ECTS credits out of the required 24 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.

The MOOC Courses in quantitative and qualitative social science research methods

We recommend the online research methods preparation courses when promising students have some ECTS in social science research methodologies, but need to compensate for some minor deficiencies. To be more precise, we recommend this to students when one or more of the following applies:

  • Students have either a strong quantitative background but little to no qualitative training, or they have a strong qualitative background but little to no quantitative training.
  • Students have just under the required number of ECTS (30 ECTS), but do not need a full length course.
  • Students have enough research methodologies ECTS (30 ECTS), but have been out of academia for some time, and who have not had relevant research experience through internships or employment, and thus need to refresh their skills.

Reading assignment

We recommend the reading assignment when applicants have relevant coursework in IDS, relevant internship or work experience in the development sector, and who have sufficient research credits, but need a bit more background. To be precise, the reading assignment is offered to students who:

  • Have 30 ECTS in 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 preparatory programme.

Application to pre-Master's programme

Please register for the Master and Research Master’s programme in Studielink and apply through the link in Myinfo: The Admissions Committee will assess your application 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 or Research Master’s programme.


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