Universiteit van Amsterdam
International Development Studies
The Master?s programme in International Development Studies offers international and Dutch students the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of international development issues and their academic and professional skills to analyse such issues. The last decade of the 20th century has shown vast changes in international development relations. Current globalisation processes have interconnected countries, companies and people in a completely new manner, and the classic division between the developed and the developing world is no longer sufficient. Whereas several cities and regions have successfully adjusted to the processes of economic globalisation and show high growth rates; simultaneously, processes of impoverishment and exclusion occur all over the world, both in the North and South. As a consequence of these drastic changes, development issues are no longer an issue for the classic development practitioners alone. Virtually everyone who wants to deal with international affairs or work internationally is confronted with issues such as poverty, equity, social justice and sustainability. The program provides thorough background knowledge of contemporary theories and debates on international development, as well as more specific insights into key themes within the international development sector, such as globalization, transnationalism, (urban) governance, sustainable development, and community-based natural resource management. It does so by offering an interdisciplinary and problem oriented training, in which students are equipped with academic skills. Alongside academic skills, students will also develop much needed professional skills.
The curriculum consists of a balanced set of core courses, one elective, and an independent research/thesis project. The three core courses will be offered twice per year in an effort to offer students that must first take preparatory courses, the possibility to start directly after their completion. Electives Alongside the required first semester courses, students will take one elective. Electives are specialist courses (10 EC) that enable students to relate their programme to their personal interests in particular themes and/or regions. Thesis The Master?s thesis is a report on research carried out by the student under supervision of two faculty members. In principle, candidates are expected to spend a period of 8-10 weeks in a developing country to carry out their fieldwork. A variety of fieldwork positions will be made available to students through the institute. Students are given the opportunity to connect their individual projects to the research activities of staff members, or to current PhD projects within the department. In those instances, academic supervision in the field can be guaranteed by benefiting from the wide range of links that have been established with academic institutes in the South, notably in Ghana, Kenya, India, South Africa, and Peru. The thesis should be between 20,000 and 25,000 words. Under special circumstances the research can be carried out elsewhere, including in the developed world. Students who wish to do their fieldwork in other locations than those offered by the institute should realise that it will take an additional effort to find both Dutch and local supervisors.The Master?s programme is directed at students with at least a Bachelor?s degree or equivalent in a field of social sciences or economics with at least 30 EC credits of international development studies courses in their previous studies. Applicants need to have sufficient background in research methodology. Students with a deficiency in this respect will be asked to take a condensed (10 EC credits) course in August prior to the start of the programme. Students with good undergraduate qualifications who have insufficient knowledge of key issues in international development studies gain entry to the Master?s programme by completing a special preparatory programme (30 EC credits) in the semester before the start of the Master?s programme. This preparatory programme consists of the following courses; Introduction to International Development Studies and two electives in the IDS domain, to be chosen in consultation with the academic advisor. The Master?s programme in International Development Studies (60 EC credits) is only awarded upon successful completion of both the course curriculum and a written Master?s thesis, based on an independent research project undertaken during a short period of guided fieldwork, usually in a developing country. Fulfilling all the requirements will take between one and one and a half years. It is possible for capable students with the appropriate background to complete the programme in one full time year of study. Students who have to complete the preparatory programme will need an additional half year.The Master?s programme is intended for candidates with an interest in pursuing a career in various areas of the development sector. Employment opportunities open to them include: development consultant, policy researcher or advisor, aid program manager, journalist, teacher, scientific researcher, or at transnational corporations. There is an expanding demand for such specialists in the (international) labour market. In fact, two levels of demand can be distinguished: that of international organizations and that of national organizations working on international development issues. Both types of organizations increasingly ask specifically for candidates with an academic background in international development studies. The Master?s programme also provides a valuable foundation for those students who will be continuing their studies in order to teach or conduct independent research in development issues.