International Development Practice (MSc) 2019 entry

The MSc in International Development Practice is a one-year interdisciplinary Masters degree. Taught by academic staff and development practitioners, it explores the theoretical and practical aspects of international development work. 

Applications for 2019 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 9 September 2019
  • End date: 30 September 2020

If you started this programme in 2018, you can find information about 2018 entry on the 2018 International Development Practice page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time; part-time study is not currently offered.

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.

We welcome applications from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including (but not limited to):

  • anthropology
  • economics
  • geography
  • international relations
  • management
  • medicine
  • modern languages
  • statistics.

Applications are also welcomed from suitably qualified applicants with degrees in applied fields - such as nursing, engineering, or education - who are interested in developing a career in international development. 

English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £10,880
Overseas: £21,990

Application deadline

Applications should be submitted as early as possible and no later than 12 August 2019. Applicants who will require a visa to study in the UK should normally apply by June.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé (one page)
  • personal statement explaining:
    • why you have applied for this course
    • how it relates to your personal or professional ambitions
    • how your academic and professional background show you have the skills needed to work effectively at postgraduate level
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MSc International Development Practice offers an interdisciplinary approach to international development theory and practice. Students explore key theoretical concepts in development studies and receive practical training that can be applied in international development roles.


  • Targeted at students intending to follow a career in international development
  • Combines exploration of key theoretical concepts in development studies with training in skills used by development practitioners.
  • Provides a substantial introduction to quantitative and qualitative methods for assessing development programmes.
  • Interdisciplinary approach means you can explore a range of methodological approaches.
  • Your summer research project can – subject to availability – be undertaken in collaboration with an external organisation involved in development practice.

The MSc in International Development Practice emphasises practical skills which will be of particular value if you are looking to develop a career in international development.

Specific attention is paid to training in data methods – familiarising postgraduates with the ways in which quantitative and qualitative data methods can be used to understand and improve the effectiveness of development programmes.

Practical components are, in part, taught through hands-on workshops facilitated by experienced development practitioners. The degree also features discussion of different careers in international development and a literature-based exploration of identity and development work.

Additionally, the summer research project has a strong practical focus. Subject to availability, projects may be undertaken in collaboration with an organisation involved in development work – allowing students to gain first-hand professional experience. 

The degree is distinguished by its interdisciplinary character and involves academic staff from a number of different Schools. The interdisciplinary approach means that you can explore a range of methodological approaches and use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate development studies questions.

Teaching format

The MSc degree is a one-year full-time programme. Students complete one core module in Semester 1 (September to December) and a second core module in Semester 2 (January to June). Students take one or two optional modules in each semester.

The period from June to August is used to complete the summer research project.

The MSc degree involves both independent and group study, and teaching methods include:

  • seminars
  • workshops
  • practical exercises.

Most modules are assessed through coursework including written assignments, case study exercises, and presentations.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2018–2019 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2019 entry.

Each semester is organised around core modules exploring the theory and methodologies needed to complete the summer research project.

Semester 1

  • International Development Studies: introduces key concepts in development studies, providing a comprehensive overview of the field. 

Semester 2

  • Working in International Development: provides an opportunity to learn applied skills that are commonly required in development work.

Optional modules allow you to shape the degree around your own personal and professional interests.

The optional modules available vary each year but will normally cover topics including:

  • Culture and Identity
  • Development and the Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Global Health Policy and Practice
  • Philosophy and Methodology of Social Sciences.

In Semester 1, all students will normally take an optional module in quantitative methods. In Semester 2 all students will normally take an optional module in qualitative methods.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and may require a minimum number of students to be offered (see the University’s position on curriculum development).

The final module of the MSc degree is the summer research project. The project takes the form of a period of independent supervised research where you explore a development topic in depth. Through the project, you will apply the theory and analytical methods learned in the core modules.

You can choose to present your research project as: 

  • a written policy project that emphasises your ability to critically assess policy issues
  • a multi-media portfolio that emphasises your ability to present development concepts in formats suitable for different audiences.

If students choose not to complete the project requirement for the MSc, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Certificate or a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PG Cert or PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2019 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies at St Andrews is a new initiative to foster interdisciplinary postgraduate education and scholarship.

The School’s interdisciplinary programmes and community provide postgraduates with a stimulating environment in which you can:

  • learn across subject boundaries and expand your knowledge base, allowing you to maximise the intellectual and professional value of your time at St Andrews
  • develop and apply practical skills relevant to academic and professional contexts, and enhance your employability.
  • explore a topic in depth and demonstrate your ability to plan and manage academically rigorous research
  • benefit from being part of a vibrant and welcoming postgraduate community and a Graduate School that is wholly focused on understanding and meeting the needs of Masters students.


Scholarships are designed to help students support themselves during their studies. Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

Postgraduate loans
Loans are available for students who meet the residency and other criteria. Find out more about postgraduate loans.


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews. Find out more about the Recent Graduate Discount.

After the MSc

Research degrees

St Andrews offers a vibrant and stimulating research environment. One of the great strengths of our research degrees is the collegiate atmosphere which enables access to expertise beyond your formal supervisors and the ability to conduct interdisciplinary research.

Research students are supported by a supervisory team throughout their studies and are assessed by means of a substantial thesis of original research.

Research degrees


Our fantastic global reputation makes University of St Andrews graduates highly valued by employers. The MSc International Development Practice provides the subject knowledge and general skills needed for international development related careers in government and public bodies, non-governmental organisations and charities, and the private sector.

During the course, you will:

  • be trained in the theoretical and practical aspects of international development work
  • have the opportunity to undertake a summer research project in collaboration with an organisation involved in development work
  • develop broader transferable skills in areas such as project management, team working, and communicating academic concepts to mixed audiences.

Alongside your studies you will be able to complete the M-Skills programme, a programme of face-to-face and online workshops and training materials for Masters students. M-Skills will help you develop the broader personal and professional skills you need to succeed in your degree and enhance your employability.

Additionally, the Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of career development events.

Contact information

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Queen's Terrace
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2032

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Graduate School website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).