Study programme - MSc International Development Studies

In the MSc programme of International Development Studies you learn to understand processes of social transformation, and also how to integrate and share your knowledge.

Academic year

The programme runs annually beginning in September each year. The programme comprises 120 credit points (ECTS), equivalent to two academic years. The academic year consists of 6 periods. Period 1, 2, 5 and 6 comprise six weeks of classes, one week of self-study, and the exam week. In these periods students often follow two courses worth 6 credits each. Period 3 and 4 consists of four weeks in which both the lectures and the exams take place. In these periods students follow one course worth 6 credits. The expected workload is 40 hours per week.

What you will learn

A variety of themes are studied in this programme, including social unrest, the way people cope with conflicts and disasters, migration, refugees, poverty, food (in)security, and sovereignty, property rights, sustainable use of natural resources, resource conflicts, and access to social and natural resources.

You also learn to include the diverging views of various stakeholders, as well as how to work in multidisciplinary teams, thereby investing in your professional aptitude, by working on a ‘real life’ project for a client in the 9 credits Academic Consultancy Training (YMC-60809). You improve specific skills that are useful for you professionally by following modules of the Modular Skills Training (YMC-60300).

You follow one specialisation depending on your background and interest, and in consultation and agreement with your study adviser. The specialisations differ primarily in the disciplinary approach used.

The second year allows you to gain insight into your professional abilities by working at an external organisation during an internship (of four months). You also demonstrate your research abilities in the second year by carrying out research within your specialisation and writing a thesis (approximately six months duration).


You select one of the following specialisations in consultation and agreement with your study adviser. Your specialisation depends on your academic background, and interest.

If you have a BSc or BA in the social sciences, you can choose one of the following:

If you have a BA or BSc in economics, you can follow:

Course information

Information about the courses in the programme can be found in the online Study Handbook. Via this link you see a detailed overview of the study programme and the various specialisations, including the compulsory common courses, all the specialisation courses, other requirements of the programme, as well as the course contents.

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.