Our contemporary world faces a number of challenges with a global reach, such as migration, food security, climate change, and the energy crisis. The world is rapidly changing and so is International Development Studies. This one-year multidisciplinary Master's programme is aimed at addressing the current development challenges and engages with these highly important and urgent issues from people-centred, human perspective.

Development in a complex and highly differentiated world

In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were introduced to guide long-term development policies and end global poverty. Development is no longer considered as a problem ‘out there’ in the global south. We are witnessing massive changes in the relative power structure in our world system. Africa, Asia and Latin America are experiencing rapid transformations, turning traditional North-South relations upside down.

Giants like India and China are strengthening their role in the world, including in international development cooperation: governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America have come up with their own versions of ‘development’.

Over the past decade, the number of actors active in the development domain has multiplied. In addition to the traditional donors, new ‘players’ have entered the scene, including private funds and diaspora-organisations. Furthermore individual migrants and socially-engaged entrepreneurs are acknowledging their role in societal changes; many are taking responsibility for the social and environmental impacts of production activities and/or consumption.

In this increasingly interconnected and changing world, we cannot understand development as an isolated and place-based process. ‘Global’ flows of people, goods, capital and knowledge and local ways of handling them shape the development trajectories and livelihood possibilities of people and places. Who benefits from these opportunities? Who are excluded?

In the Master’s programme International Development Studies you try 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 help to find people-based solutions.

Study in an international and interdisciplinary environment

The multidisciplinary Master's programme International Development Studies focuses on topics surrounding migration/mobilities, climate change and energy, land governance, urbanisation, food security, health and corporate social responsibility. You will study in an international environment, with peers and staff from diverse disciplinary and cultural backgrounds.  Moreover the Master’s programme offers a multi-disciplinary teaching and learning scheme that combines perspectives in Geography and related fields including Economics, Sociology, Political Sciences, Anthropology and Environmental/Sustainability Studies. A research-oriented internship - preferably abroad - is a core component of the programme.

Programme objective

The central objective of the International Development Studies Master's programme, is to equip you with conceptual and empirical knowledge as well as research skills necessary to understand and analyse contemporary issues pertaining to international development in broad geographical contexts (local, regional, and international levels).

Why in Utrecht

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

  • a highly qualified, diverse, multidisciplinary and engaging group of lecturers with over 50 years of experience in teaching and research 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 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 methodological competencies in Development Studies;
  • an international learning environment;
  • the ability to personalise your study programme by choosing your own research-oriented internship, upon which you write your Master’s thesis;
  • ample opportunities to develop your transferable skills (i.e. problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, writing in different genres, oral and written presentation) that enhance your employability in all job sectors;
  • a programme with long-standing collaborative relationships with foreign and local research institutions, universities, and the private sector as well as close relations to lecturers, PhDs, and other research staff members;
  • a large, expanding, and active alumni and friends network – a vital resource for career prospects.

Our International Development Studies programme has recently been awarded a Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation by the European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education (ECA). Read the assessment report.

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: 
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