Study programme - MSc Development and Rural Innovation

In the master's Development and Rural Innovation you'll be trained as a professional who understands the social and technological aspects of innovation processes. The programme focuses on the innovations in agriculture, natural resource management and the food industry.

Course structure

Development and Rural Innovation is a unique, predominantly social science programme consisting of an amalgam of disciplinary and problem-oriented courses. It is taught in an interactive style where learning from each other is emphasised.

Study Tracks

Together with your study advisor you will choose one of the following study tracks.

  • Communication and Innovation Studies, in which you study communication among stakeholders and disciplines in the context of societal problem solving and change.
  • Technology and Development Studies, with the goal to understand how science and technology interact with international development problems, such as food security, adoption to climate change and social justice.
  • Sociology of Development, focuses on the understanding of worldwide rural development problems from sociological and anthropological perspectives.
  • Rural Sociology, focusses on the dynamics of food provisioning, agrarian change and rural and regional development.


The academic year at Wageningen University is divided into six periods. The total master's programme contains 120 ECTS (2 years) and consists of:

  • The first year invites and submerges you into the social sciences and allows you to build your theoretical framework for your thesis.
  • The second year allows you to illustrate you are capable of delivering a solid piece of scientific research through your thesis. The second year also challenges you to work within a real programme or project during your internship.

A detailed description of all the courses can be found in the study handbook.

Major Thesis

The programme of Development and Rural Innovation is highly thesis-oriented. The subject matter, methodology and design courses serve primarily as preparation for an empirical research project. This entails writing a research proposal, conducting the research and completing a master's thesis. Review the thesis catalogue for an impression of the thesis subjects previous students worked on.

WASS Graduate Programme

Are you enthusiastic about doing research and interested in doing a PhD in the future? The Wageningen School of Social Sciences offers motivated students a special track which prepares students for a PhD position. Learn more about the WASS Graduate Programme.