International Development Practice (MSc) 2018 entry

The MSc in International Development Practice is a one-year interdisciplinary Masters degree. Taught by academic staff and development practitioners, students explore key theoretical concepts in development studies and receive practical training that can be applied in international development roles.

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Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 september 2019

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.

While the course draws elements from anthropology, economics, geography, international relations, management, medicine, modern languages, and statistics, applications are welcomed from suitably qualified applicants in other disciplines. 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.

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Tuition fees

UK and EU: £10,360
Overseas: £20,980

Application deadline

Applications should be submitted as early as possible and normally by early June. However, applications will continue to be accepted until early August 2018 (applicants from outside the EU) or early September 2018 (applicants from the UK and EU). You should also apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

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, and 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 is a one-year interdisciplinary Masters degree designed to train students in both the theoretical and practical aspects of international development work.


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

The programme 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 students 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 programme also features discussion of different careers in 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 MSc International Development Practice is distinguished by its interdisciplinary character and involves academic staff from the following Schools:

  • Economics and Finance
  • International Relations
  • Medicine
  • Modern Languages
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Philosophical, Anthropological, and Film Studies.

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 requires two semesters of full-time coursework, normally equivalent to six modules. 

The course involves both independent and group study. Modules have different methods of delivery, including:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • practical classes
  • field work.

Assessments include: 

  • written assignments
  • presentations
  • technical summaries.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


The MSc International Development Practice involves both independent and group study. Modules have different methods of delivery, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, and practical classes. Forms of assessment include written assignments, presentations, and technical summaries.

For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.

Each semester is organised around two core modules exploring the theory and methodologies needed to complete the end of programme project.

Semester 1

  • International Development Studies: introduces key concepts in international development studies through which students engage with critical perspectives on the nature of development and development strategies.
  • Quantitative Research in Social Science: provides a user-friendly introduction to the fundamental concepts of quantitative analysis.

Semester 2

  • Qualitative Methods in Social Research: offers both a theoretical and practical introduction to the collection, analysis and writing of qualitative social science research.
  • Working in International Development: provides an opportunity to learn applied skills commonly required in development professions.

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

Semester 1

  • Being a Social Scientist
  • Development and Environment
  • Issues in Global Health
  • Principles in Implementation Science
  • Problems of Culture and Identity I
  • Ten Global Health Problems
  • A language module offered by the School of Modern Languages

Semester 2

  • Economics for the Environment
  • Evidence Synthesis for Global Health Policy, Programming, and Practice
  • Globalisation and Health
  • Inequalities and Inequities in Global Health
  • Philosophy and Methodology of Social Sciences
  • Problems of Culture and Identity II
  • Climate Policy and Climate Economics
  • A language module offered by the School of Modern Languages
  • A relevant module offered by the School of International Relations

Optional modules require a minimum number of students to be offered and the optional modules available may change.

Over the summer, you will research an international development-related topic in depth. The project will combine the theory and data methods learned in the core modules. Students produce a written dissertation of up to 15,000 words and a shorter policy synthesis of up to 1,000 words. Students agree their project topic with their project supervisor and the programme director. 

Subject to availability, projects may be undertaken in collaboration with an organisation involved in development work. Collaborative projects might involve desk-based research conducted at St Andrews or field work conducted elsewhere. This allows students to gain first-hand professional experience and will be of particular value to students who are looking to develop a career in international development.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Certficate or 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 2018 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 14 November 2018

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The Graduate School

As a wholly postgraduate unit,  is dedicated to understanding and meeting the needs of Masters students. To help you adapt to life as a postgraduate and make the most of your degree, the Graduate School will offer a programme of events and activities exclusively for Masters students. Bringing together students from each of the Graduate School’s programmes, these are an opportunity to meet fellow postgraduates, make new connections, and foster interdisciplinary contacts. Scheduled at key points over the degree, the programme provides advice and guidance as you need it and provides a welcoming and supportive framework.

You will also be part of a much wider community of postgraduates across the University. All postgraduates are members of St Leonard’s College. St Leonard’s College brings together Masters students and research students and, working with the Postgraduate Society, aims to promote a vibrant and intellectually rich postgraduate community.


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 postgraduate scholarships. 

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. 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
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Queen's Terrace
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2032

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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).


Students interested in the MSc in International Development Practice should be aware that this webpage was updated on 15 February 2018 to remove reference to the optional module, Public Policy and the Environment which is no longer available for students on this programme.