The Master in Development Studies is composed of a number of different courses, including compulsory courses and compulsory courses by choice, courses offered as part of the specialisation tracks, free electives, professional skills courses, and a Master thesis.



Compulsory courses 

Students are required to take the following two courses.


Social Inquiry and Qualitative Methods for Development

Oliver Jütersonke - Visiting Lecturer

This course seeks to provide students with the concepts, techniques and practical skills to undertake original research for their MDEV theses and beyond. It will begin by critically asking what it means to undertake (inter- or cross-) disciplinary research “on” development, “in” development studies, and/or “for” development work. The bulk of the course will then focus on the design of qualitative studies, before emphasizing the practical skills of data collection (document analysis, interview techniques, observation) and analysis (coding). Offering a comparative perspective on social inquiry across a number of relevant social-scientific disciplines and in relation to quantitative approaches, the course will also touch upon effective writing and presentation skills, evaluations and assessments in practitioner circles, research ethics, and the relationship between the social sciences and public life.


Statistical Methods for Social Sciences

Jean Gorz-Swanson - Visiting Professor

This compulsory course is an introduction to statistical methods intended for students in the Interdisciplinary Master programmes. The emphasis of the course will be on applications of core statistical ideas such as random variables, probability distributions, estimation, and hypothesis testing, to real-world problems. After taking this course, students will develop a deeper understanding of fundamental statistical concepts commonly used in international policy contexts; be able to apply these concepts readily to solve particular exercises; and master the implementation of a number of important statistical tools on a computer using appropriate software. Please note: there will be separate lectures for the MIA and MDEV programmes.



Compulsory courses by choice

Students are required to choose two of the four following courses:


Economics of Development

Lore Vandewalle - Professor

The course provides a broad overview of the sort of topics that Development Economists work on, both on the micro and on the macro side. On the macro side, we will focus on economic growth and the importance of history and public goods. On the micro side, we will cover topics such as households consumption, insurance, credit, land markets, and migration.


Gender and Development: From Theory to Practice

Aditya Bharadwaj - Professor

Gender is a useful category of analysis in the field of development studies. From "women and development" to "gender and globalisation" 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. In addition 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 fifty years.


History, Theory and Practice of Development

Gopalan Balachandran - Professor | Shaila Sheshia Galvin, Professor

Development is both a field of practice and an object of ongoing study. This course considers development as a historically situated set of practices and theories, formed and informed by the conditions of late colonialism, decolonization, cold war, and neo-liberalism. Paying close attention to shifting institutional landscapes of development, and to continuity and change in the configuration of its actors and subjects, the course seeks to deepen and nuance our understanding of contemporary development practices. Questions we will ask include: how and why did development emerge and become a goal of policy and a tool of intervention? How have development ideas, policies and practices been shaped by changing ideological and geo-/political imperatives? And, how have they informed public and private interventions in a few key areas, such as food security and agricultural biotechnology, natural resources and environment, and labor and employment? Contemporary development policy concerns will be addressed through case studies developed and presented by students that will also enable them to extend and build on materials introduced in class.


Poverty and Inequality

Anne Saab - Professor | Graziella Moraes Silva - Professor

This course focuses on how issues of poverty and inequality have been conceptualized in debates on development, particularly from sociological and legal perspectives. The course content will depart from traditional views – both from sociology and international law – of poverty and inequality as a consequence of underdevelopment. The course will then identify and discuss challenges to these traditional views, covering new understandings of poverty and inequality (e.g. ethnic, gender, and political), the concept of global inequality, and issues related to environment, and human rights. The objective of the course is to be able to critically examine different theoretical perspectives and possible policy solutions.




Specialisation Tracks

Please visit the page on the Specialisations Tracks here.


Free Electives

For the full list of free electives offered in 2018-2019, please visit the Course Catalogue of the Interdisciplinay Masters.  


Master Thesis

Please read the Guidelines for Master Dissertations, and the more specific ones for MINT Dissertations for more information about the thesis.



Master in

Master in