If you are currently studying at the Graduate Institute, check the 2016-2017 Course Catalogue 

The Master in Development Studies is composed of a number of different courses, including introductory courses, courses linked to the specialization tracks, Free Electives, professional skills courses, and a thesis:


Introductory Core Courses

Development Economics


Martina Viarengo

This course covers major issues in development economics from the macro and micro perspectives. The objective is for students to acquire the theoretical and empirical skills necessary to understand the challenges related to the social and economic transformation in developing countries.


History, Theory and Practice of Development


Gopalan Balachandran - Shaila Sheshia Galvin

This course considers development as an historically situated set of practices and theories, formed and informed by political and economic conditions of colonialism, decolonisation, cold war, and neo-liberalism. Paying close attention to shifting landscapes of development, actors and subjects, it aims to deepen and nuance our understanding of contemporary development practices.


Gender and Development



This course focuses on gender as a category of analysis in the field of development studies. From "women and development" to "gender and globalization", a paradigm shift has taken place from women as a homogenous category of analysis to gender as an analytical concept, including the understanding of the workings of masculinities. The articulation of gender and power relations opens up venues to study multiple processes of gender constructions, differences and multiple identities. This introductory class will present a wide range of theoretical developments and critically assess a number of development policies and practices over the last 50 years.


Poverty and Inequality


Anne Saab - Graziella Moraes Silva

This course focuses on how the issues of poverty and inequality have been conceptualized in debates on development, particularly from sociological and legal perspectives. The course content begins with analyzing traditional views of poverty and inequality as a consequence of underdevelopment from the perspectives of sociology and international law. The course further discusses challenges to these traditional views, covering new understandings of poverty and inequality. For example, it will cover the ethnic, gender and political dimensions; the concept of global inequality; issues related to the environment; and human rights. The objective of the course is to enable students to critically examine different theoretical perspectives and develop possible policy solutions.


Introductory Methods Courses

Quantitative Methods



This course is an introduction to statistical methods intended for students in the Master in International Affairs and the Master in Development programmes. The course focuses on applications of core statistical ideas such as random variables, probability distributions, estimation and hypothesis testing, and real-world problems. After taking this course, students will have a deeper understanding of fundamental statistical concepts commonly used in international policy contexts. They will be able to apply these concepts to solve problems and master the use of a number of important statistical tools using specific software.


Qualitative Methods



This course aims to equip students with an understanding of qualitative approaches and the practical skills to design, develop and evaluate these methods in interdisciplinary contexts. The course introduces students to the foundations of qualitative research methods, as well as a range of tools for undertaking and assessing qualitative research analysis and findings in development studies and applied settings.


Specialization Tracks

Please visit our separate page on the Specializations Tracks.


Free Electives

Please visit us soon for a list of Free Electives offers in 2017-2018. For the Free Electives of 2016-2017, please visit the Course Catalogue.



Please read the Guidelines for Master Dissertations for more information about the thesis.