In an increasingly interconnected and changing world, global issues, such as migration, food security, climate change, and the energy crisis, require a different approach. Development is no longer considered as a problem ‘out there’ in the Global South, and rapid transformations are turning traditional North-South relations upside down. During this one-year multidisciplinary Master's programme you address current development challenges while engaging with these urgent global issues from a people-centered, human perspective.

research-oriented internship as core component
years of experience in the field of Development Studies

Development in a complex and highly differentiated world

Development cannot simply be understood as an isolated and place-based process. Global flows of people, goods, capital and knowledge, as well as local contexts, shape the development trajectories and livelihood possibilities of both people and places. In the Master’s programme International Development Studies you aim to understand how to make societies more inclusive and sustainable, focusing on the situation of vulnerable groups in risky places. Co-creating knowledge and solutions from a bottom up perspective will help to find people-based solutions. Furthermore, you will master conceptual and empirical knowledge as well as research skills. All necessary to understand and analyze contemporary issues pertaining to international development in broad geographical contexts (local, regional, and international levels).

See the full study programme
On the verge of the coastal environment
In development studies, coastal environments face challenges of climate change, urban expansion, and resource exploitation. Analyzing these dynamics is crucial for sustainable development strategies to safeguard ecosystems and livelihoods of communities.

Focus and research topics

International Development Studies focuses on topics surrounding (non-)migration/(im)mobilities, climate change adaptation, climate change and energy transitions, land governance, urbanisation, food security, health, and corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, the programme is part of a vibrant research community within the department Human Geography and Spatial Planning. With a strong engagement to society and an actor-oriented approach our researchers focus on three main themes: flows of capital, flows of people and trans-local development. They aim to address the challenges of persisting poverty, widening inequality and increasing vulnerability crises across Global South and North.

Read more about our research

Why in Utrecht?

Opting for the International Development Studies at Utrecht University means you will benefit from:

  • an international environment, with peers and staff from diverse disciplinary and cultural backgrounds; 
  • a programme that is ‘in tune’ and contributes to the new developments and trends in the field as well as a well-balanced curriculum that develop students’ theoretical, empirical, and professional competencies in Development Studies;
  • the ability to personalize your study programme by choosing your own research-oriented internship, upon which you write your Master’s thesis;
  • a multi-disciplinary teaching and learning scheme that combines perspectives in Development Geography and related fields including Economics, Sociology, Political Sciences, Anthropology and Environmental/Sustainability Studies;
  • a programme with long-standing collaborative relationships with foreign and local research institutions, universities, civil society organisationsand the private sector as well as close relations to lecturers, PhDs, and other research staff members;
  • a highly qualified, diverse, multidisciplinary and engaging group of lecturers with years of  experience in teaching and research in the field of Development Studies and a wealth of research and professional expertise in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean;
  • a large, expanding, and active alumni and friends network stemming from over 50 years of experience – a vital resource for career prospects;
  • opportunities to publish your research and practice transferable skills (i.e. problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, and writing), for example through The Journal of Development Around the World, a yearly journal for IDS students edited by recent alumni.

Key facts

Development Studies (MSc)
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
1 year

Dutch & EU/EEA students: 1 June

Non-EU/EEA students: 1 April

Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 20,043

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Graduate school: 
School of Geosciences
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