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International Development Practice (MSc) 2022 entry

The MSc in International Development Practice explores the theory of international development work as well as applied skills commonly needed for international development careers.

Unavailable for 2022 entry

The International Development Practice programme will not be available for 2022 entry. It is expected that this programme will be available again for those starting their studies in September 2023. Please register your interest to be updated when information is available.

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Key information

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

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

The MSc in International Development Practice welcomes applicants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including, but not limited to:

  • anthropology
  • economics
  • geography
  • international relations
  • management
  • politics
  • public health
  • sustainability.

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

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

Application deadline

Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • A CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • A 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 on headed paper.
  • 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

International development seeks to enable a global reduction in poverty and improvement in human health and wellbeing. On the MSc in International Development Practice, you will explore the theoretical and practical aspects of international development work.


  • Aimed at students intending to follow a career in international development.
  • Introduces key topics in development studies, providing a broad-based overview of the field.
  • Interdisciplinary character helps you to develop a more rounded understanding of international development questions and concepts.
  • Applied components provide a bridge between the theory of development studies and the real-world challenges faced by development practitioners.
  • Integrated training programme connects your academic learning with the development of personal and professional competencies.

The MSc in International Development Practice is distinguished by its interdisciplinary character and an emphasis on applied skills that will be of particular value if you are looking to follow a career in international development.

International development is inherently interdisciplinary. On this MSc subject experts from across the University explore how different academic disciplines understand the character and process of international development.

In this way, you will engage with critical perspectives on the nature of development and international development strategies. You will be encouraged to develop a more rounded, interdisciplinary understanding of international development questions and concepts and learn how to critically discuss development interventions from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Optional modules allow you to explore topics such as environmental change, population change, and gender that shape development needs and responses and which will further develop the interdisciplinary character of your studies.

Applied components provide a bridge between the theory of development studies and the real-world challenges faced by development practitioners. You will learn skills commonly needed in international development work and develop your understanding of the nature of development careers.

Particular attention is paid to data methods; you will look at how quantitative and qualitative data can be used to assess development interventions and become confident in critically assessing the evaluation plan of a development initiative. You will learn how to describe and perform tasks undertaken by development practitioners and hands-on practical classes provide training in activities such as budgeting and fundraising. More broadly, you will learn practical skills in explaining development concepts to different audiences and the translation of academic thinking on development into recommendations for policymakers and practitioners.

The MSc also considers different types of international development roles. You will be encouraged to think about some of the challenges arising from development careers and ways in which these can be overcome.

The MSc includes an integrated programme of skills workshops that connect your academic learning with the development of personal and professional competencies. Workshops bring together students from other Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies Masters degrees, helping you make new interdisciplinary connections.

Teaching format

The taught modules are taken over two semesters – September to December (Semester 1) and January to May (Semester 2). The period from June to August is used to complete the end of degree project.

Each taught module will use teaching and learning methods appropriate to its aims. These may include seminars, workshops, lectures, tutorials, and independent study.

Assessment methods used may include essays, reports, presentations, practical exercises, reflective exercises, and examinations.

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 2021–2022 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2022 entry.

The MSc is structured around three compulsory taught modules:

Semester 1

  • International Development Studies: explores how different academic disciplines understand international development and critically discusses development interventions from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
  • Introductory Data Analysis: covers essential statistical concepts and analysis methods relevant for commercial analysis.

Semester 2

  • Working in International Development: acts as a bridge between the theory of development studies and the real-world challenges faced by development practitioners; you will learn applied skills commonly needed in international development work and develop your understanding of development careers.

Optional modules allow you to broaden your learning in key topics relevant to the MSc.

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

The modules offered in previous year covered areas such as:

  • global politics
  • population change and sustainable development
  • gender theory
  • health inequality and development
  • managing non-governmental organisations
  • managing people in global markets.

The available optional modules will be confirmed before the MSc start date, and you will be able to discuss your choices with an academic adviser before teaching begins.

The final part of the MSc is the end-of-degree project. This takes the form of a period of supervised research where you will explore an international development topic in depth.

Through the project, you will show your ability to undertake sustained critical analysis, develop and improve your research skills, and produce an extended piece of written work that demonstrates a high level of understanding of your area of study.

You can choose to present your end-of-degree project in one of the following ways:

  • a policy report that emphasises your ability to critically assess development policy and make convincing recommendations for policy changes
  • a multi-media portfolio that emphasises your ability to present development concepts in exciting and engaging ways.

If students choose not to complete the project requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive 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 PGDip instead of an MSc.

The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2022 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue

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The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies

The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies was established in 2017 to foster interdisciplinary postgraduate education and scholarship.

The ability to work across subject boundaries is now recognised as an essential skill. The Graduate School’s Masters degrees will help you to develop a more rounded, interdisciplinary understanding of your subject and to use ideas from different disciplines to illuminate your studies.

As well as their interdisciplinary character, the Graduate School's Masters degrees are distinguished by an emphasis on the development and application of practical skills. In addition to broadening your subject knowledge, you will develop your skills of critical thinking and creativity, analysis and appraisal, problem-solving and decision-making, and project management and personal leadership.

One of the most appealing aspects of joining the Graduate School is the welcoming interdisciplinary community. The Graduate School is a place where you can make social and intellectual connections across subject boundaries and where students form close networks within and across their Masters degree groups.


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 a St Andrews research degree 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


The University of St Andrews’ global reputation makes its graduates highly valued by employers. The MSc in International Development Practice is aimed at students intending to follow a career in international development, and you will develop skills commonly needed in international development work.

In addition to broadening your subject knowledge and applying established techniques of research and enquiry, you will develop and demonstrate essential skills including:

  • critical thinking and creativity
  • analysis and appraisal
  • problem solving and decision making
  • personal leadership and project management
  • interpersonal communication and team working.

The University also offers a programme of skills development activities for all students known as the Professional Skills Curriculum. This will help you develop your personal and professional capabilities and gain skills that you need to succeed in your studies and enhance your employability.

Additionally, the Careers Centre provides advice and support to help you plan your professional development and achieve your career goals. As well as online resources, the Careers Centre offers one-to-one appointments to discuss any career-related matters.

"The combination of theoretical and practical elements is invigorating and has allowed me to dive deeper into the subject. Guest speakers have opened my eyes as to the possibilities and global potential once I have finished the course. There are so many fantastic opportunities at the University, both socially and academically."

- London, England


The Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies
University of St Andrews
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Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

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.

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.

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