Specialisation: Politics and Governance of Development

In the specialisation Politics and Governance of Development, you explore social transformation processes using approaches from political anthropology, legal pluralism, and international relations. You pay special attention to the dynamics of governance processes in development, the reform of international arenas (UN, bilateral, private), and the differing powers of state and non-state actors. You explore themes relating to access to natural resources, land and water conflicts, climate change, human rights violations, property rights, and migration. Within this specialisation, it is possible to apply for the Sustainable Development Diplomacy track.

Specialisation courses

In the first year, you follow two common courses, and a selection of profiling courses, and if necessary, supporting courses. You follow three specialisation courses within Politics and Governance of Development.

Code Name
ENP-30506 Theories on Politics and Governance
PAP-31306 Politics, Policy Making and Accountability in International Arenas for Development
SDC-35806 Politics of Development: State, Property and Resistance

For more information about the courses and course content of the specialisation, as well as the compulsory parts of the master programme, please refer to the Study Handbook.

Depending on your educational background, the study advisor may determine that you need to follow some supporting courses which will be compulsory for you (for example the courses SDC-23306 Law and Public Power and SDC-33306 Methodology for Field Research in the Social Sciences).

Student experience

"The past year was full of inspiring lectures, tutorial group work, assignments, and readings, writing essays, and engaging with enlightening literature. Indeed, this program offers plenty of opportunities to learn and grow as a student under the close guidance of passionate and dedicated lecturers." - Leah from Germany


    MSc thesis

    In the second year, you demonstrate your ability to design and conduct research by collecting and analysing information on a thesis topic of your choice. Your thesis will be based on the domain within your specialisation, and the specialisation courses will outline the context of your research. To get an impression of the kind of research done by students, these are a few thesis examples:

    Many more examples are found in the thesis library.

    Teachers in the spotlight

    Special Track: Sustainable Development Diplomacy

    Within the specialisation Politics and Governance of Development you have the option to apply for the special track Sustainable Development Diplomacy (SDD). The purpose of the program is to provide (future) academics, practitioners and leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors a combination of theory and practice of international diplomacy and negotiations in the field of sustainable development. Each year in September, from the students who have been admitted to the programme and are following Politics and Governance of Development specialisation, a selection is made on the basis of a motivation statement and an interview. 

    Students who complete this track successfully will receive a special SDD master track certificate besides their MSc diploma. In order to guarantee academic excellence, there will be a procedure to select excellent and motivated students.

    Are you interested? Please take a look at the SDD brochure:



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