Study programme

International Development Studies is a one-year Master’s programme taught in English, awarding a total of 60 points in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The programme comprises four course modules, a research-oriented internship in the Global South, followed by a Master’s thesis. On this page you will find information concerning the curriculum, courses, educational methods, examinations and extracurricular opportunities.


During the first half of this Master’s programme consists of taught courses. During the second semester, you will carry out a research project. Traditionally, our students conduct this project in the global South, in affiliation with a local partner organisation. Under certain circumstances students can also conduct alternative research projects e.g. based on digital / remote data collection and/or research in Europe (but always related to global flows and the international development sector). This is the time when you can ‘design your own programme’ with the close supervision of a supervisor at IDS and conduct substantial  individual research on a chosen topic. Students acquire skills and practice in the collection and analysis of data, report writing and presentation of the results. Upon completion of the research, you are to write a Master’s thesis based on the results.

The research practice offers you the opportunity to gain a better understanding of development processes. You will apply theoretical knowledge in a real-life situation, and will be working in collaboration with a partner organisation (e.g. NGO, research institute, university or company).

Educational methods

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Field visits
  • Tutorials
  • Computer practicals
  • Independent research, preferably fieldwork-based in the global South (13 weeks)
  • Thesis writing (individual supervision)


  • Written exams
  • Papers and essays
  • Reports (e.g. policy report, computer practicals)
  • Research proposal
  • Master’s thesis
  • Creative presentation of research findings e.g. policy briefs, blogs, podcasts, visual stories

Research Master's programme

Students that are interested in a two-year research programme in International Development, can check out the research Master's Global Urban Transformations.

Extra opportunities

Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master’s programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at interdisciplinary level and allow you to go deeper into subjects or work on projects that transcend your own discipline.

Read more about the honours programmes