Development Studies, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 16 months
  • English (schedule IELTS)
University rank #72 (WUR) ,
The International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague is an international postgraduate school and one of the oldest and largest centres for the comparative study of social, political and economic development.


The International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague is an international postgraduate school and one of the oldest and largest centres for the comparative study of social, political and economic development.

The Master of Arts in Development Studies offers a solid academic and professionally relevant training in theory and methods in development studies. It is designed for participants who wishes to start nor continue their professional careers in the area of development. In the MA programme you will learn about the most reason theories debates and subsequently apply this knowledge to practical issues of development and social change. The majority of ISS staff comes from diverse background and has tremendous experience in international development.

Majors on offer:

  1. Agrarian, Food and Environmental Studies (AFES)
  2. Economics of Development (ECD)
  3. Governance and Development Policy(GDP)
  4. Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies: Social Justice Perspective (SJP)
  5. Social Policy for Development (SPD)


ISS MA in Development Studies programme is fully accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO)

Programme Structure

Graduates will be able to understand processes of social development and change and how such processes at various levels (from local to global) interact. They will be able to present a critical overview of major issues, theories, debates and strategic interventions in the field of Development Studies.

Target audience Master in Development Studies

The programme would be invaluable to young and mid-career professionals currently working in the government sector, national or international NGOs and staff of Southern and Northern universities focusing on Development Studies.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 16 months
    • Average part-time duration 30 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Credits
    88 ECTS
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS
  • Minimum required score (Grade B):


    C1 Advanced is a Cambridge English Qualification. It reports on the Cambridge English Scale between 142 and 210. You will receive a separate score for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and for Use of English. These five scores are averaged to give you an overall result for the exam. Universities and colleges may ask you to achieve a specific score, either overall or for a particular skill.

    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

Academic Requirements

Admission criteria

  • Bachelors degree in one of the social sciences or equivalent, comprising at least three years studies at a recognized university or institute of higher education.

  • Applicants must have obtained at least class 2.2 (Lower Second), B or equivalent, but preferably class 2.1 (Upper Second), B+ or equivalent.

  • TOEFL score: for the paper test (PBT) 580; - for the computer-based test (CBT) 237; - for the internet test (IBT) 92

  • IELTS score: 6.5 overall for the Academic Test

  • We may also accept other Englist test. Please contact us for more information

  • ISS does not require a language certificate from native English speakers

Work Experience

At least 1 year(s) of work experience are required.

Professional experience relevant to the Major which the applicant wishes to study is normally expected and is a preference for admission. However it is not compulsory. ISS have admitted students without experience in the past under special conditions.

Tuition Fee

  • EU/EEA Applies to you

    11625 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 15500 EUR for the full programme and a duration of 16 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Rotterdam

  • 760 - 1270 EUR/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


ISS offers many funding opportunities for you to pursue for your masters at ISS. Please visit our Funding and scholarship page for more information:

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.