The Master in Development Studies is an intensive two-year programme that offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the policies and processes of international development, and the practice of development as a profession.
The programme combines training in quantitative and qualitative research methods with courses offering perspectives from the Institute’s core disciplines, including Anthropology, Sociology, History, Law, Political Science and Political Economy.
The programme also includes the completion of a Capstone Project, where students work with one of the Graduate Institute’s partner organisations, as well as professional skills workshops, providing students with the professional tools necessary for effective analysis and ethical decision-making.
Find the 2018-2019 course offerings here.
To earn a Master in Development Studies, students must complete a total of 120 credits over four semesters.
The curriculum is composed of five key elements:
- compulsory courses,
- courses taken under specific specialisation tracks,
- free electives,
- courses aimed at professional skills (workshops, the Capstone project, an internship),
- and finally the Master thesis.
Students are required to take two compulsory courses out of a menu of four: "Economics of Development", "Gender and Development: From Theory to Practice", "History, Theory and Practice of Development", and "Poverty and Inequality". During the first two semesters, students are further required to take two compulsory courses on methods: "Social Inquiry and Qualitative Methods for Development" and "Statistical Methods for Social Sciences".
Before the second semester, students should choose one major from the three specialisation tracks of the Master in Development Studies (i.e. Power, Conflict & Development; Mobilities, Spaces & Cities; and Environment, Resources & Sustainability) and one minor, which can be either from one of the three specialisation tracks of the Master in Development Studies or from the specialisation tracks of the Master in International Affairs (i.e. Global Security, Trade & International Finance, and Environment, Resources & Sustainability), or the minor offered on Global Health.
In each track, except for the Mobilities, Spaces & Cities one, there are two compulsory courses from which students should take one. In addition, they should obtain 18 credits of elective courses within the track. If the other compulsory course in the track, when available, is taken in addition to the one required, it will count towards the 18 credits of elective courses required within the track. For the minor, students should obtain 12 credits of courses within the minor, be they compulsory or elective.
Finally, students are required to obtain 18 credits of free elective courses, 12 credits of workshops, 9 credits for a Capstone project, as well as 18 credits for the writing of a Master thesis . Students can also validate an internship for 3 credits. If they choose not to do so, they are required to obtain an additional 3 credits of free elective courses.
The Master in Development Studies is an ambitious study programme composed of a number of courses, seminars, workshops and a thesis. The curriculum consists of the following five elements:
Compulsory CoursesThe compulsory courses are composed of two courses on methods (one on quantitative and one of qualitative research methods in the social sciences), and two compulsory courses of choice from the following four: Economics of Development, Gender and Development: From Theory to Practice, History, Theory and Practice of Development, and Poverty and Inequality. These introductory courses will lay the groundwork in terms of concepts, theories and methods that are the basis for the subsequent specialisations.
Specialisation Track CoursesBefore the second semester students choose a major among three specialisation tracks, which include Power, Conflict & Development; Mobilities, Spaces & Cities; and Environment, Resources & Sustainability. The last track is offered in both the Master in International Affairs and the Master in Development programmes, which is a reflection of both the Institute’s strong resources in these areas, as well as of the great urgency environmental questions have for the future of humanity. The specialisation tracks consist of one or two core courses, and a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary electives specific to the specialisation track. Students must achieve 24 credits in the major. In addition, students also choose a minor from one of the three specialisation tracks of the Master in Development Studies, or from the specialisation tracks of the Master in International Affairs (Global Security; Trade & International Finance; and Environment, Resources & Sustainability), or the minor offered on Global Health. Studenst must achieve 12 credits in the minor, be these compulsory or elective courses.
Free Electives CoursesStudents are required to choose among a broad range of free electives, which are either specific to one of the subject areas taught in the interdisciplinary Master programmes, or are offered by the five disciplinary departments. Students must achieve a total of 18 credits worth of free electives.
Professional SkillsThese courses are aimed at developing students’ professional skills. They consist of workshops, a Capstone project, and an facultative internship.
The workshops are interactive teaching modules that put students into real-world professional situations, providing them with the competencies to become effective and ethical skilled decision-makers. Each skills workshop accounts for 3 credits. Students are required to take four workshops throughout the course of their studies for a total of 12 credits.
The Capstone projects are applied research seminars that will enable students to work closely with one of the partner institutions of the Graduate Institute, expose them to real-world development issues, while enabling them to build networks in the Geneva’s world of international organizations. The duration of the capstone projects extends over the second and third semesters, and they are completed in the fall semester of the second year. They account for 9 credits.
In addition, students may choose to complete an internship, usually in between the second and third semesters, working with an institution or company whose mission and activities are relevant to their curriculum. Students must work at least 100 hours and submit a final report at the end of the internship. The internship will appear on the transcript of results and is worth 3 credits. If students choose not to complete an internship, they are required to obtain an additional 3 credits of free elective courses.
ThesisThe final element of the Master in Development Studies is the thesis, which is a piece of independent and original research carried under the supervision of a faculty members. For the standard master thesis, worth 18 credits, students are expected to demonstrate command of the literature related to their research question, as well as the relevant theories, concepts, methods and disciplinary fields through which to find creative and intelligent answers to their research question.