Msc Development Studies

This programme is suited to students from a non-economics background, and will provide you with a solid grounding in policy analysis for economic growth and development, and for combatting poverty. You will develop significant quantitative skills and economic knowledge to address contemporary issues in development, equipping you for an internationally oriented career focused on developing countries.

Why this programme?

The Masters in Development Studies will provide you with a good understanding of:

  • the main social and developmental problems facing less developed countries
  • possible policy responses to developmental issues, with an emphasis on human capital, environment, international trade, and market liberalisation
  • the measurement, evolution, causes and consequences of inequality and poverty
  • policies for combating poverty
  • the effect of foreign capital flows on development: foreign direct investment and foreign aid
  • You will be taught by experts in the field, many of whom have worked with international and government organisations such as the IMF, World Bank, and central banks.
  • This programme provides the empirical tools, data, and STATA software training that will enable students to investigate economic development and to prepare an independent empirical analysis.
  • In addition to a large choice of optional courses, you will have the opportunity to enhance your learning by taking courses in other subjects at the University such as Economic & Social History and Central & East European Studies.
  • You will have access to conferences and seminars hosted by the Glasgow Centre for International Development. This will expose you to development in the fields of medicine, veterinary medicine, environmental management and sustainability.
  • Take advantage of our individualised skills development programme, which will ensure you balance academic theory with crucial employability skills to help you maximise your potential and achieve your career goals.

Programme structure

You will take 4 core courses and fulfil the remainder of the credits with optional courses and a dissertation.

Core courses

  • Development Policy
  • The Economics of Inequality and Deprivation
  • Understanding Development: A Multidisciplinary Approach
  • The Economics of Migration

Optional courses

  • Aid and Development
  • Environmental Economics
  • Finanical Institutions and Markets in Developing Countries
  • Growth and Development
  • Money, Finance & Growth
  • Policies for Sustainability and Development
  • Sustainability and Green Finance
  • Theory and Principles of Sustainability 
  • Health Economics in Developing Countries


  • Dissertation GCDS

If you have little or no economics background you are strongly recommended to take the non-credit introductory course to economics offered before semester one begins.

Programme alteration or discontinuation

The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. 

Career prospects

As a graduate you will be equipped to work in international organisations, government ministries, banks and other financial institutions. Recent graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as the Ministry of Environment, NHS, Malaysian Fuel and Gas Training Academy, and Wateraid. Roles have included Urban Development Consultant, Principal Economist and Senior Officer for Energy and Mining. We have a dedicated careers and employability team who provide 1-2-1 support and advice, group workshops, employer events on campus and networking opportunities throughout the year to help you with your career prospects.

Fees & Funding

Tuition fees for 2023-24:


  • UK - Full-time fee: £10560
  • International & EU - Full-time fee: £23520

Entry requirements

2.1 Honours degree or non-UK equivalent in a social sciences subject. Students with degrees in other fields who have relevant work experience can also be considered. Students who have a degree in economics and wish to pursue further studies in development economics are advised to consider applying for the MSc Economic Development.

Only applications that meet or exceed our stated entry requirements will go forward for consideration. Any application that does not will be automatically rejected. Applicants will be made offers based on their relative performance compared to other applicants, taking into account both current GPA, or degree classification, and the relevance of an applicant’s academic background.

Please note, applications that meet our minimum entry requirements may still be rejected, based on its score in comparison to other applications received during the same round. Please review our stated entry requirements to ensure you meet or exceed them before submitting your application.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

Rolling deadline