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Research Master
International Development Studies
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Study programme

In this programme the underlying interplay between social, political, economic, environmental and cultural factors, at multiple levels of governance will be discussed, focusing on inequalities and social justice in current issues. As a theoretical and empirical science, International Development studies studies development as a phenomenon that results from the interaction between diverse local and international actors and processes, within context-specific institutional environments.

Year 1

The first year of the programme consists of classroom courses. In addition to one required thematic core course, students can choose from a range of thematic electives. Similarly, the students take a required course on Epistemology and methodologies in mixed methods and  then choose from a wide range of methodological electives. The last course of the year – Undertaking Fieldwork in developing Countries – prepares for the second year, a year of scholarly practice.  

Year 2

During this second year of the programme, students conduct sustained independent study in a developing country, on a topic related to international development. They develop their individual portfolio, and attend  the professional and academic skills seminar in which they prepare for an academic or professional career. After completion of the Master's thesis, students also write an academic article together with a member of staff of AISSR.


The research Master's programme concludes with a Master's thesis and an academic article. The thesis is based on an individual research project completed during the second year of the programme and has a clear link with contemporary theoretical debates. The fieldwork for this research takes place in a developing country, predominantly in Latin America & the Caribbean, Africa or Asia. Topics for field research and the thesis are preferrably in line with the following themes:

  • Governance of natural resources and well-being
  • Urban governance,, resilient development, violence and security
  • Governance resources for human development (education, knowledge, rights and social justice) 

Students translate their research findings into an article that meets the requirements for submission to a scientific journal.

Embrace the extended fieldwork opportunity
Alumna Maria Hagan tells about her choice for this programme.


The programme maintains a high academic standard and is also demanding. We expect you to devote your full attention to your studies for the duration of the programme.