MA in Development Studies

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MA in Development Studies

Development studies emerged as a major academic discipline in the 20th century. It was during this time that third-world countries were striving to rebuild their economies in a changing landscape of postcolonialism. Development studies is a multidisciplinary subject that focuses on the development of nations through a broad cultural, social, political, geographical, and economic perspective. Lately, it has gained immense popularity amongst those who want to build a career in Public Policy. The undergraduate courses in this field will build a foundation, however, to advance in this domain, pursuing a course like MA in Development Studies can be fruitful. In this blog, we have listed down the essential details pertaining to this program. 

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What Does an MA in Development Studies Entail?

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MA in Development Studies is a postgraduation program that is designed to help students gain a deep understanding of Sociology, Political Science, and other allied subjects like Economics and Geography. Running for a period of 1-2 years, it lays emphasis on the political institutions, civil society, and other aspects of public policies that are invariably related to developing countries. As a student, you will be able to gather insight into a chosen community and will learn how to overcome impediments and create a sustainable community.

Major Subjects Covered in MA in Development Studies

In this course, you will be taught various subjects which will imbibe you with the core knowledge of the subject. Tabulated below are some of the subjects that form the part of MA in Developmental Studies syllabus. 

Fundamentals of EconomicsProject ManagementEnvironment Management
Human DevelopmentGender & DevelopmentDisaster Management
Communication Skills Global Health and Population ChangeCivil Society
Fundamentals of GeographyRural & Urban DevelopmentIntroduction to Developmental Studies
Social Work ResearchMicro FinanceAdministration Planning
Food Security and DevelopmentBehavioural ScienceDevelopment and Social Justice

List of Electives

Along with the core subjects, you will also study a pool of electives in MA in Development Studies which will broaden your horizon.

  • Green Economy
  • Gender, Identity, and Inclusion
  • Poverty and Vulnerability
  • Climate Change and Development
  • Smart Cities
  • Public Finance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility 
  • Electoral Politics and Legislative Policies
  • Social Movements and Social Change

Eligibility Criteria 

To get admission to this program, you have to meet the eligibility criteria as set by the university. The basic criteria is to clear an undergraduate course from a recognized college in the Arts stream subjects or any other allied discipline. The other criteria remain that you must have scored well in English proficiency tests like IELTS/TOEFL/PTE, etc along with the GRE exam. 

Indian Entrance Exams

  • Ambedkar University Entrance Exam
  • IIT Guwahati Entrance Test
  • DUET
  • IIT Mandi Entrance Test
  • NIT Rourkela entrance test

MA in Development Studies: Universities Abroad

From Japan and the USA to Europe and Australia, there are many universities across the world that offer MA in Developmental Studies or its related variants. Some of them have been tabulated below.

University Course 
University of SussexMA in Developmental Studies
University of MelbourneMaster of Development Studies
International University of JapanMA in International Development
University of WestminsterMA in Media and Development
SOAS University of LondonMA Social Anthropology of Development;MA Migration and Diaspora Studies;MA Migration and Diaspora Studies and Intensive Language
University of LondonMA in Migration & MobilityGoldsmiths;MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies
The George Washington UniversityMA in International Development Studies
UNITAR United Nations Institute for Training and ResearchUPEACE – UNITAR M.A. in Development Studies and Diplomacy
Eötvös Loránd UniversityMA in Ethnic and Minority Policy
Leeds Beckett UniversityMA Peace and Development
Tel Aviv UniversityMA Global Migration and Policy
BRAC UniversityMA in Governance and DevelopmentBRAC University
University of JohannesburgMA in Community Development Social Work
University of LeedsMA Global Development
Boston UniversityMA in Global Development Economics

MA in Development Studies: Indian Universities

In India, in order to pursue an MA in Development Studies, you need to qualify the entrance exams as designated by the university or at the state level. Enlisted are some of the reputable names offering this program: 

  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  • Ambedkar University, Delhi
  • Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi
  • Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul
  • Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata
  • University of Madras, Chennai
  • Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
  • Swami Vivekanand University, Sagar
  • Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow
  • Dr. BR Ambedkar University, Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi
  • National Institute of Technology, Rourkela

MA Developmental Studies Distance Learning

There are various universities around the world that offer MA/MSc in Development Studies as distance education. MA Development Studies distance education is flexible and allows students to study from anywhere in the world. Here are some universities offering this programme-

  • University of Hampshire, USA
  • SOAS University Of London, UK
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University, India
  • Malmo University, Sweden
  • University of London, UK
  • University of the West Indies, Jamaica
  • Friedensau Adventist University, Germany
  • Massey University, New Zealand
  • Buckinghamshire New University, UK
  • University of North Alabama College of Arts and Sciences, USA
  • University for Peace, Costa Rica

What After MA in Development Studies? 

Being a vast and multidisciplinary field of study, you can find employment opportunities in multifarious roles across international organisations, NGOs, academic institutions, health departments, government sectors, etc. Here are some profiles which you can consider: 


  • Consulting Firms
  • NGOs
  • Think Tanks
  • Academic Institutions 
  • Government Bodies

Job Profiles

  • Policy Maker 
  • Researcher
  • Social Worker 
  • Academician
  • Community Service Officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Business or Government Consultant
  • Community Development Worker
  • Development Officer
  • Diplomat
  • Economic Development Advisor/Officer
  • Economic Policy Analyst
  • Ecotourism Guide/Agent
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Fundraiser
  • Government Relations Advisor
  • Immigration Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • International Aid Worker
  • International Communications Expert
  • International Policy Analyst
  • International Youth Worker
  • Market Researcher
  • Peace/Human Rights Activist
  • Political Risk Analyst
  • Program Analyst
  • Project Coordinator
  • Researcher
  • Professor
  • Volunteer Recruiter

Top Recruiters

  • PwC
  • Deloitte
  • KPMG 
  • United Nations
  • Pratham
  • Niti Aayog 
  • Sir Dorabji Tata Trust & Allied Trusts
  • FINO


What is MA in development studies?

MA in Development Studies is a postgraduation program that is designed to help students gain a deep understanding of Sociology, Political Science, and other allied subjects like Economics and Geography.

What can you do with a development studies degree?

Here are some profiles after developmental studies degree
Policy Maker 
Social Worker 
Community Service Officer
Policy Analyst
Business or Government Consultant
Community Development Worker
Development Officer

What subjects are in development studies?

Fundamentals of Economics
Project Management
Environment Management
Human Development
Gender & Development
Disaster Management
Communication Skills 
Global Health and Population Change
Civil Society
Fundamentals of Geography
Rural & Urban Development
Introduction to Developmental Studies

Hence, an MA in Development Studies is an excellent option to establish a flourishing career in policymaking. Are looking forward to studying this course at reputed universities? Does the admission process seem a daunting task for you? Then let the experts at Leverage Edu take care of your academic journey. From helping you complete the application modalities to finding a suitable scholarship, our experts will provide assistance throughout the admission process!

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