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March 28, 2009 / compassioninpolitics

Master’s in International Development Programs

List of Top Programs in International Development

Looking to get an International Development Masters degree? I’ve created this resource for prospective MAs in international development and globalization, because “” is only providing a small picture of people who pay for advertising. I thought I would provide an independent and more objective offering of the best graduate programs for global development:

American University
Brandeis Univ. Sustainable International Development Program
Columbia’s International Development and Globalization Program
Duke Center for International Development
Fordham International Development Program
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
John Hopkins University
McGill International Development Studies
Michigan State University International Studies
Northwestern University
Tufts Gradutate School in International Affairs
UCLA International Institute

Other schools to look which receive high honors Tulane, Denver, GWU, and Maxwell at Syracuse University.

Top Grad Schools from US News and World Report
Top Programs in International Relations from the Foreign Policy Association
Top Programs in Public Administration from

The US News and World Report rankings for development economics suggests the following:

1) Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
2) MIT (Cambridge, MA)
2) Yale University (tie) (New Haven, CT)
4) University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
5) Princeton University (Princeton, NY)
6) University of Chicago (Chicago, Il)
7) Columbia University (New York, NY)
8] Brown University (Providence, RI)
9) Cornell UNiversity (Ithaca, NY)
10) New York University (New York, NY)

Can you suggest any rankings which will better clarify the best programs in international development for PhDs and masters students?

Finally here are the top PhD programs in international relations from the Foreign Affairs Ranking and Reputation study.
1) This is international relations and not international development.
2) These are probably only marginally helpful, because they are likely based more on research and academic reputation than on career potential, but they should still prove instructive for those trying to either widen or narrow their graduate international development program search.


Leave a Comment
  1. compassioninpolitics / May 26 2009 10:20 am

    This list of top international development programs from the Foreign Policy Association may also be helpful:

    It includes American University, Harvard, NYUs Center for Global Affairs, MIT, Tufts, University of California at San Diego, University of Colorado at Boulder, Yale University, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Denver, Rice, Ohio State, Penn State, Ohio State, Syracuse, GWU, University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, Georgetown, Cornell, and Columbia University.

  2. abby gray / Jun 24 2009 5:06 pm

    These lists are helpful, but they are very US-centric. Do you guys know of any resources that list the best international development graduate programs at universities OUTSIDE the US??


    • american in Denmark / Nov 24 2009 5:52 pm

      Hi Abby – see my post under the same heading as your inquiry re study programs outside the U.S.

      • Jen / Dec 18 2009 5:59 am

        To American in Denmark,
        Where is the list? Can’t find it.
        Other than the schools listed here, I’m looking for a good list of schools (master degree) in Europe. Don’t know where to look! Many of the search engines don’t have a good search result. Are there other forums or websites that have good resources? Thanks a million.

  3. James H. / Jun 25 2009 11:29 am

    I’ve been looking at development masters overseas. These are in N. Europe:
    The universities are Lund (Swedend), Agder (Norway), Aalborg (Denmark), and Radboud (Neth).

  4. AJ / Aug 10 2009 6:21 pm

    Great list. I might do this as an option.

  5. josh ritchie / Aug 19 2009 5:43 am

    I was accepted to several of the above programs, but if opted for the Centre for Development Studies @ University of Glasgow (UK). Did the coursework in 9 months, with a dissertation to follow. This is a much more practical route than a 2 year, full-time, 30K per year program here stateside. And as the individuals above had added, Norway, and Sweden offer free options. If you are comfortable doing the program in French, check out Lausanne or Geneva in Switzerland. There really are a ton of options out there outside of the U.S., and they will also get you some of the much sought after international experience – even though none of them are exactly africa.

  6. zarc42 / Oct 12 2009 7:19 pm

    Sussex University in the UK is supposed to have a really good program. As an undergrad students in development studies at McGill, I wouldn’t recommend McGill University for an IDS masters- the focus isn’t there from the faculty, as there is no actual development department in place yet.

  7. compassioninpolitics / Oct 21 2009 8:25 pm

    Thanks for adding McGill, Glasgow, Sussex, Lausanne, and Geneva to the mix as well as Lund (Sweden), Agder (Norway), Aalborg (Denmark), and Radboud (Neth)–I didn’t do as good as job about adding international schools as opposed to US schools to the mix of top international development programs.

  8. Lizenok / Jan 15 2010 6:08 pm

    just wondering if anyone knows if there is a ranking in terms of the quality of the international development programmes?and if so, where to find it. (Im also looking more in terms of grad school in europe, so rankings of programmes there…)

  9. Sidra / Jan 25 2010 6:12 pm

    Thanks for this post. I wish more public universities offered a program in Intl Development; it is really expensive to attend these private schools, especially considering that the potential income with this degree is not very high. Maybe you could also do a post on career options with an intl development degree (besides a doctorate).

  10. JGG / Jan 28 2010 12:48 pm

    Anyone familiar with Deakin University in Australia?

  11. Nadia / Feb 2 2010 3:12 pm

    Some good programs in the UK:

    LSE – Msc Dev Studies (1 yr); MA Int Dev (2 yrs)
    Sussex University – Msc Dev Studies
    Warwick university –
    SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) – Msc Dev Studies

    The Uk programs tend to be 1 year fulltime and have flexible admission dates (generally till June for an Oct start date)

  12. Stefanie / Feb 8 2010 10:09 am

    I’ve been looking for a Master in sustainable development or similar in Europe and the ones I’ve found were the following:
    “Msc Environmental Managment or Msc Sustainable development” at University of Edinburg: this would be my first option, what do you think about it? 1 year
    “Forum for the Future Master course” in London, 6 placements all around the UK,
    “Sustainable development” at Utrecht University (2 years)
    “Sustainable tropical forest managment” : Erasmus Mundus scholarship at two European Universities with field trip abroad.

    What do you recommend me? I studied biology and have been working in digital editing and media production in the last years. I want to find a master that qualifies me to work in NGO or similar.

  13. silvia marinella / Feb 10 2010 10:03 am

    Nadia, thanks a lot for your adv!

  14. DH / Feb 11 2010 6:51 pm

    How about good undergrad degrees in international development at Christian institutions? Any info on those?

    • LB / Apr 23 2012 12:53 pm

      Covenant College has an outstanding Community Development program which is partnered with the Chalmer’s Center for Economic Development. Covenant is aligned with the Presbyterian Church of America

  15. Erin / Mar 2 2010 6:34 pm

    Any opinions on Tulane’s program?

  16. compassioninpolitics / Mar 3 2010 4:42 am

    In terms of international development program looks to be impressive:

    Their projects seem to be quite impressive, which also suggest the program has a practical orientation (at least if you find a way to get involved with these ongoing projects or create your own). Since 1998 they have had “34 projects in 25 countries”–with $52 million in funding (on an average thats $4.33 million a year):

    In terms of social enterprise: their business program ranked well with Entrepreneur magazine, otherwise, I’m not sure how their social entrepreneurship specific programs, offerings, and career network are:

    You can learn more about the program here:

    It seems to me to be focused on non-profits as opposed to SE, although they do have a business plan competition/track around SE business plans. Also, from the Tulane business school website its seems focused on domestic versus international (bottom of the pyramid consumers). It appears that had McKay of Whole Foods speak, which seems pretty cool.

    My guess is I would look at the Beyond Penstripes Study or ask a couple of SE practitioners. It ranked 86 on Beyond Gray Penstripes Global study:

    Anyone else have any relevant info about the Tulane international development or social enterprise MA program?

  17. compassioninpolitics / Mar 3 2010 5:03 am

    If Chris Blattman at Yale had an answer to the ranking question, I would trust his judgement:

    I’m sure the difference is based on if you want to work with a development organization or in the academy. Also, if you want to work in agriculture, education, or health sectors the answer will likely be different.

    For instance, John Hopkins maintains a School of Public Health in addition to SAIS (although I imagine SAIS is a hub for the former):

  18. compassioninpolitics / Mar 3 2010 5:17 am

    Here is a list from the Foreign Policy Association–although they have far, far more specific answers at their website and a more extensive list. (Note: this is not a ranking, just a summary of available programs in International Affairs and International Development–I’ve tried to make notations of when the international development component isn’t evident). Also, when there is overlap, I often haven’t provided a second mention of the specific program….

    1) Cornell University (Master of Professional Studies with an emphasis in International Development)
    2) Columbia University (Masters in International Affias)
    3) Georgetown University (Edmund A. Walsh of Foreign Service)
    4) George Washington University (Elliot School of International Affairs)
    5) University of California Berkeley (Masters in Public Policy)
    6) UCLA (their description doesn’t look very specific to development–more policy analysis)
    7) University of Chicago (Masters of Public Policy)
    8] University of Colorado at Boulder (MA in political science–doesn’t look to be development specific)
    9) University of Denver (GSIS for Health)
    10) University of Indiana (Blooomington)
    11) University of Michigan (Economics–not for PhD however)

    Read the rankings at the Foreign Policy Association and the specific university program websites for more info. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section as well.

    I’ve also included some of the top public health programs (including the top 24 programs from the US News and World Report Rankings):

  19. Dani / Mar 20 2010 6:35 pm

    Regarding Johns Hopkins, the school of public health has an entirely different orientation than SAIS.

    I’m wondering if there are any remote-learning programmes (via internet) that are recognized in this domain.

  20. Working in Japan / Apr 4 2010 1:28 am

    Thank you for the exhaustive list. However, I’m not exactly comfortable quitting my full-time job to become a student (certainly not in this economic climate). How about ONLINE PROGRAMS? Any good ones? Or are online learning programs still something to be avoided?

    Thank you.

  21. Nathan Ketsdever / Apr 14 2010 6:50 pm

    If you are located in the Western United States or have reason to stay close to Colorado, I think the graduate program at Colorado State University is quite impressive as it focuses on Social and Sustainable Enterprise.
    Here is their website:

    The digital face of that program is Paul Hudnut:

    Their program seems focused on using market forces to solve the problems of poverty and development–so its more business and private sector focused than a traditional international development program may be.

    I know they have partnerships with IDE and I believe to field practices as well.

    I guess I would be remiss to leave Stanford Design Institute and MIT Design Lab off the list as they have programs which are focused on design of products (and presumably services) for the developing world. I’m not sure if you need to be in an engineering or design background to do well in the programs–and obviously their bound to be rather competitive to get into.

    Additionally, the Stanford social enterprise & innovation program is impressive:

  22. Jen / May 18 2010 3:06 am

    I have been accepted to Lund in International Development, and which this year is the last year with free tuition.
    And I’ve also been accepted to Sheffield Uni in the UK in the same degree as well.
    I’m contemplating between these two, since the two years in Sweden and the one year in the UK would cost about the same.
    Would the two years offer a better foundation of school work, since my undergrad wasn’t in international development?

    Any advice? Which school would lead to a better career or opportunities after graduation?

    • Bobby / Dec 2 2010 9:55 pm

      What did you decide? I’m currently applying to Lund and SOAS (& a few others in Sweden for kicks). Hopefully I’ll have to chose between the two like you did… 🙂

    • Song / Jun 4 2013 1:09 pm

      I am curious, too! I am currently contemplating between Sussex (IDS),UK and Lund,Sweden. Both of them are costly as I am non- EU residents. Where did you go? and How was it?

  23. Dani / May 18 2010 6:17 am

    Jen, in my opinion, the one-year programme offers as solid a base as the two-year programme, and you finish it in less time.

    Working in Japan, I’ve been looking for good online programmes as well and have settled on the MSc in Global Development Management from Open University. There are a couple others that looked interesting in the UK (SOAS and Birmingham, I think) but Open seemed to be the most flexible–for working professionals trying to obtain a degree in their domain.

    • Jen / May 18 2010 11:48 am

      Thanks Dani for the opinion !
      Birmingham’s programs does look good. But I didn’t choose it coz I wanted a smaller town feel.
      Good luck to you !

    • D.K. / Jun 26 2011 5:31 pm


      Are you already in the international development field, or will you be just starting out in the development field with the degree youll receive from open university? Im interested in getting a International Develpment degree, but Im not sure this type of program is for someone who is already a development professional or for someone just starting in the field. Thanks.

      • Dani / Jun 27 2011 7:19 pm

        I am already working in international development in the field of water, so it is more to validate the experience I’ve already acquired in the form of a diploma, and of course, I’m learning a lot along the way.

  24. Lambert Anoke Mbela / Jun 12 2010 4:54 pm

    Just follow me…

  25. SCB / Jun 19 2010 2:30 pm

    Great posts, helpful blog.

    I looked at a lot of the schools recommended above, and I’m interested in something a little more specific, in combining a Masters in International Development and Business. My undergrad was in Environmental Engineering, and I’m looking learn how to develop socially and environmentally responsible medium sized industries. One program I thought might fit the bill was at University of East Anglia in the UK:

    Does anyone have any experience or understanding of the program or staff? Can anyone recommend a similar program?

  26. Damian Albert / Aug 3 2010 3:21 pm

    I find it very interesting that Eastern University’s MA in International Development has not been mentioned at all. A true “Christian” education with theological reflection… yes, highly ranked with the other secular programs…no. Let’s not focus too much on prestige!

    I recently completed a MPA and am also looking into ID programs. While Eastern is very affordable, the degree formats are a bit limiting. Any comments on Eastern? Maybe someone knows something that I don’t.

    The following link is also helpful to find programs:

  27. Hamid / Aug 20 2010 4:26 pm

    nice discussions there!

    I am about to finish my BA degree in Linguistics. I am interested in International Development. Anyone can send me a link or something that explains fields within the IDev?
    That will be appreciated.

  28. compassioninpolitics / Oct 17 2010 10:25 am

    I’ve noticed that US News has started to rank economic programs for developmental economics:

    My guess is that most of these students are probably more theoretical and end up the in the academy–but I’m sure

    You might also check out public policy/public administration (I’m not sure how popular/effective these are in the field in terms of getting a job.) International public health I would guess is growing…

    My guess is most programs have domestic & international components. I’m sure a little research could solve that question.

  29. Frederick / Oct 18 2010 6:48 am

    Also of note would be the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. They offer MAs in everything from Development to Security and Intelligence, as well as concurrent degree programs with the Law school (among others). It’s a hands-on, very practical school, but their theory teaching is also top-notch. Classes are limited in size, so the teacher/student ratio remains high, which means more face time with professors and closer personal relationships with them and fellow students. Most of the professors have had long careers with the State Department, CIA, and other fields of academia before coming to the Patterson School.

    I’m currently in this program and each class is regularly blowing my mind in a good way.

  30. Aliyah A / Oct 26 2010 6:32 pm

    Hello All,

    First off, its quite refreshing to see that this forum exists. Looking back, I remember frantically searching on the internet for information/rankings on International Development Studies (IDS) programs, which at the time was non-existent and trying to procure information on (post)graduate study programs was simply wishful thinking.

    Till date – there are no such rankings – IDS is a specialized field and thus looking for rankings is still pointless. Looking at University Rankings (total) is also useless for IDS simply because those rankings are based on overall scores – usually undergraduate – and not on academic resources related to the discipline of IDS.

    Saying the above, I cannot help but agree with Abby Grays post – this blog is quite US-centric. So I just wanted to put some light on top UK institutions offering IDS programs at the graduate (MSc/MA/MPA) level so everyone can keep their options open. If any reader has information on program’s outside of the US/UK please do post.

    From what is known to me, the top schools offering development studies programs often are ones that have international development center(s) for academic research in the field. Taking this as being ‘the’ yard-stick to measure, here is a list of the most reputable institutions offering programs in the field of development studies within the UK – no rankings suggested in this post.

    Please keep in mind that when looking at IDS programs, they are usually focused on ‘the social’ rather then economics. Saying this, I do not understate the importance of economics within IDS – in most cases a core module (course) will be in International Political Economics, and if not, should be taken as an elective. However, if you are looking for a more econocentric (post)graduate degree within development, I suggest looking at development economics programs – which, for the most part, are quite different. (Due to space issues – multiple posts may follow).

    • compassioninpolitics / Jan 7 2011 10:16 am


      Thanks for your comments on International Development Studies rankings. I think you may have mistaken my purpose in posting these schools.

      First, the list of schools it to help future IDS students to look at some of the better programs in the field. Second, its to get a discussion of the best graduate schools in the discipline.

      I did include some rankings from US News, but that was again to serve the purpose of providing a range of options. Those rankings are based on peer academic ranking/review. While thats not a perfect evaluation metric–I think its helpful.

      I wish you all the best in picking an international development program thats best for you.

    • CW / Feb 11 2011 6:02 am

      Hi Aliyah, thanks for your post. Is it incomplete? I’m interested in your views on the most reputable institutions in the UK for development studies. I’m trying to find out more on the different institutions and would love to get views from someone in the field – information you can’t get from reading the brochures!

    • Aliyah A / Jul 12 2011 7:24 am

      The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – University of London:
      SOAS Website:
      Location: Central London, Russell Square Bloomsbury
      Humanities & Social Science Institution – Intercollegiate courses available with other UofL colleges.

      Taught Masters Degree’s (MSc.) – One year intensive program. Coursework based:
      MSc. Development Studies;
      MSc. Development Studies with Special reference to Central Asia
      Msc. Globalization & Development
      Migration, Mobility & Development
      Violence, Conflict & Development
      Social Anthropology of Development (MA)

      International Center’s:
      Center for Development, Environment & Policy;
      Center for Development, Policy & Research;
      Law, Environment & Development;
      Public Affairs Interdisciplinary Degree’s to Development Discourse:
      Center for International Studies & Diplomacy; (CISD)

      One year intensive degree’s, Coursework based:
      MA/PGDip International Studies and Diplomacy;

      SOAS is one of the intercollegiate colleges of the University of London – Disciplines: Humanities & Social Science. In (re)constructing their colonial legacy, SOAS’s institutional focus is based highly on non-western forms of knowledge, being the only institution that solely studies Asia, Africa & the Middle East within the UK. Recognized for their regional expertise, language scholarship & cultural focus.

      The University of Sussex:
      Uni. of Sussex Website;
      Location: Sussex, United Kingdom

      MA Degree’s Offered by the International Development Studies (IDS) Center:
      IDS Website;

      (MA) Gender & Development;
      (MA) Globalization & Development;
      (MA) Governance & Development;
      (MA) Participation, Power & Social Change;
      (MA) Development Studies;
      (MA) Poverty & Development;
      (MA) Science, Society and Development;

      Taught Masters Degree’s – One year intensive program. Coursework based:
      (MA) Social Development;
      (MSc.) Climate Change & Development;
      (MA) Environment, Development & Policy;
      (MA) Conflict, Security & Development;
      (MA) Anthropology of Development & Social Change;

      The University of Sussex is considered to have the oldest development studies departments. The institution focuses for international development include: migration and poverty, human rights, corporate social responsibility and environmental management. However, their IDS Center MA programs are more highly accredited then those offered by the Development Studies department.

      • Aliyah A / Jul 12 2011 7:37 am

        The London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) – University of London:
        LSE Website;
        Location: Central London, Holborn
        Humanities & Social Science Institution – Intercollegiate courses available with other UofL colleges.

        Taught Masters Degree’s: (MSc.) – One year intensive program. Coursework based:
        (MSc.) Development Studies/(MSc.) Development Studies (Research);
        Other Degress offered;
        (MSc.) Development management
        (MSc.) Anthropology of Development
        (MSc.) Environment & Development
        (MSc.) Gender, Development and Globalisation
        (MSc.) Health, Community & Development
        (MSc.) International Development & Humanitarian Emergencies
        (MSc.) Media, Communication & Development
        (MSc.) NGOs & Development
        (MSc.) Population & Development
        (MSc.) Social Policy & Development
        (MSc.) Urbanisation & Development

        NOTE A majority of these MSc. have recently been added to the LSE programs list – since the financial crisis LSE has been under much scrutiny to adapt new social-centric curricula to their development studies programs and as a result more then 10 MSc. programs have been added.

        Masters in Public Administration (MPA): Two years intensive program:
        (MPA) International Development;

        Dual Master’s Degree: One Year at LSE, One Year at; Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Sciences Po Paris, Hertie Berlin or Lee Kuan Yew Institute at the National University of Singapore
        NOTE: Admitted students may chose to do their first year abroad and their second at LSE, however if you chose to attend LSE for your second year of studies you must apply through that institution. Having your choice for your dual degree will be based on ballets – once the quotta is filled, you will have an option between your second and third choice. SIPA based in New York City is often picked first and thus is filled quite quickly. The Dual MPA is highly competitive.
        Dual MPA International Development;

        LSE is one of the intercollegiate colleges of the University of London – Disciplines: Humanities & Social Science. LSE has, in recent years, changed much of their disciplinary focus to include more social based (post)graduate degrees – a turning over from econocentric modes of development strategy. Though highly reputable in name – there has not been much stated on the quality of its recently added MSc. programs.

        The Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford: (MPhil)
        Queen Elizabeth House Website;
        Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

        (MPhil) in Development Studies

        New Thought Masters Degree’s (MSc.) Recently Added to IDS Program by the Queen Elizabeth House for 2011:
        (MSc.) in Refugee & Forced Migration Studies
        (MSc.) in Global Governance & Diplomacy”>
        (MSc.) in Migration Studies

        I sincerely hope this list has helped prospective students in their decisions on applying to development studies programs outside the US – IDS is a growing field and for the most part, is one that initially stemmed from institutions/movements arising from the developing world and UK based institutions – so do not overlook them. Ultimately your decision depends on location, student experience and tuition where ever you chose to complete your degree. On this note I wish you all the luck and in hopes to provide some inspiration a song for your trek ahead.

        Song: Bomb The World – M. Franti –


  31. Leicester Courier / Jan 25 2011 6:06 pm

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  32. Allie / Mar 3 2011 6:44 pm

    Is there a similar list (top international development masters programs) for canadian universities? Thanks!

  33. compassioninpolitics / Mar 3 2011 7:28 pm


    I would refer you to Chris Blattman at Yale, as he teachers international development and so has a better grasp on such things.

    I hope that helps!


  34. Nathan Ketsdever / Mar 5 2011 8:56 pm

    This is a list from William Easterly of Development research centers:

    Boston University
    Cornell University
    Duke University
    Harvard University
    MIT, Poverty Action Lab
    Northwestern/University of Chicago
    U of Cal at Berkeley
    University of Maryland
    University of Oxford
    University of Pennsylvania
    Yale University

    I hope this helps in your search for a top program in international development.

    Update: I’m not entirely sure why he doesn’t include Columbia’s Earth Institute (I guess its focus may be sustainability & agriculture vs. the international development space, but I’m not entirely sure.) For whats its worth Jeffrey Sachs is there. Also, I guess William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan should also be included (much of their work is on Next Billion).

  35. Jordanna / Mar 9 2011 4:47 am

    The above conversation has been a great resource.

    Anyone have suggestions for programs in Central and & South America?


  36. Madhumitha Madhavan / Mar 14 2011 3:46 am

    Hi! I realize this post is pretty old but I needed some help. I have been accepted into Denver University as well as GWU for Master of Arts in International Development. However I heard that Denver is planning on discontinuing the program from next year onwards. They confirmed this in a facebook group in answer to another student’s question. Did anybody else know about this?

    I also heard through a friend that a couple of other universities too are planning on discontinuing their development programs in the US. Is there something I’m missing here? Does anybody know if unemployment might be a reason for this? I’m from India and would like to come back to work here. But I don’t want to spend all that money if the course no longer appeals to prospective employers.

    • compassioninpolitics / Mar 14 2011 4:42 pm

      I think you have to ask which universities are discontinuing the courses.

      Also, colleges may be abandoning courses for external reasons (lack of sufficient demand from students at that particular university–which could have any number of causes)

      Two action items to discover the answer & optimize your career satisfaction & earnings:
      1) I would refer your to Blatterman who works in International Development at Yale and writes a blog about it or asking other departments about this question.

      2) Also I would directly ask the top 7 to 10 employers you think you would like to work with what they think & how they view a masters in international development & what kind of experiences you should be creating for yourself to ensure you’re set up to get a job.,

  37. Mktp / Mar 14 2011 4:55 am

    This ihas been a very helpfull discussion, i’ve been searching so much for information on sustainable economics / international development.
    i do agree that it is a bit US centric, and since the US is a bit expensive when it comes to masters it’s rather hard sometimes to find a GOOD and affordable option.
    I’ll add my little contribution to these by posting a couple of really interesting degrees, even though there a MSC in management, their focus might be of some help to this blog. The degrees are from Norwegian school of economics and Business Admin and HEC Paris,-natural-resources-and-environment.aspx

    ( Over the last three years the Financial Times has ranked NHH amongst the top European Masters in Management programme)

    their double degree is also really interesting:

    That took me to HEC Paris:

  38. Advaita / Mar 25 2011 1:12 pm

    are there any MA or PhD programs in International Development in Education?

    • compassioninpolitics / Mar 25 2011 9:08 pm

      I believe most folks with that desire focus on the international development component (to learn about agencies, cultures (day to day life), strategies & tactics, and case studies) and probably take a class or two on the side would give you a sufficient foundation.

      Perhaps some programs even have a class or two.

      If you were really passionate about education, perhaps a double major would work.

    • Alex / Mar 12 2012 1:45 am

      This reply is a year late, alas, but Harvard’s School of Education has a program in International Education Policy.

      It’s 1 year, you can take classes at the Kennedy school and craft your focus. Alum work across the field of global ed for economic and social development.

  39. compassioninpolitics / Mar 31 2011 9:54 pm

    It would be interesting to hear how the 2 programs (global development policy & global development economics respectively) in international development at Boston University are going:

  40. hodan / Apr 6 2011 5:46 am

    Hi i am looking to do a masters in international development but as a working mother i need an online course from a reputable university.

    Please help


    • Dani / Apr 6 2011 7:04 pm

      I’m enrolled in Open University in the Global Development Management Master’s programme and highly recommend it. It is extremely flexible.

      • KW / Nov 11 2013 2:55 am

        American University offers an online Masters in International Relations. I don’t know much about it, but it’s through the highly-regarded School of International Service. One of the options for a concentration is Sustainable International Development.

  41. Simon / May 12 2011 2:49 pm

    Hello. I know my concern is a bit off from the concerns of most. Primarily because my experience in development is on the grassroot – meaning I do extensive organizing works, specifically in urban communities. I am looking for a great graduate school that can help me immensely in the sphere of research and planning because that is the track that I want to go to eventually. Similar to what has been stated by some above, what universities offer courses in Development Studies, Social Statistics (just in case you know any Univ that offers SoStat) and others that are less theory base and more application, fieldwork in approach?

    Thank you in advance.

  42. Simon / May 12 2011 2:54 pm

    Just want to add. If you knew any somewhere in Europe, specifically in Netherlands or Germany.


  43. Kara / May 23 2011 9:06 pm

    I’ve been looking at the Global MDP network (, which includes the program at Columbia, which has been mentioned but also several other universities, all over the world. Have people checked this out? It seems to have developed a positive “brand name” of sorts for development programs, and it appears to have a major practitioner’s focus, which is what I am looking for.

    Specifically, what do people think of the Emory program? See:

    By the way, this page is a very wonderful and helpful page.

  44. D.K. / Jun 20 2011 7:08 pm


    Dani, I see that you are enrolled at Open University. Question for you. Are you
    already working in the international development field, or are you just starting out
    in the field with the degree youll receive? I’m interested in getting a development
    degree, but not sure if this type of program is for someone who is already a development professional or for someone just starting in this field. Thanks.

    • Dani / Jun 28 2011 5:34 am

      I am already working in international development in the field of water, so it is more to validate the experience I’ve already acquired in the form of a diploma, and of course, I’m learning a lot along the way.

  45. Rebecca / Jun 27 2011 9:39 am

    Hi all,
    Please does anyone know what university offer International development online MBA? Secondly, is it advisable to do it online?

    • Dani / Jun 27 2011 7:14 pm

      I’m enrolled in Open University in the Global Development Management Master’s programme and highly recommend it. It is extremely flexible.

  46. compassioninpolitics / Jun 27 2011 7:07 pm

    I did a search, which returned a result from or .org (note: this is a site thats basically pure advertisement–as they receive money from schools for leads). Here are the four of the better programs they identified:

    Tulane University
    University of Maryland
    London School of Economics (LSE)
    Syracuse University

    Alternatively, I think the best way to go about it is to look at the offline options and individually contact them to find out about their online options. Here is the list of schools I identified:

    You might also check out the available programs in specific segments of international development you are interested in (for instance public health or agriculture)

    • Pip / Mar 17 2012 6:52 pm

      I am stuck between Durham and Sussex. What do you know of the Durham program, Sustainability, Culture and Development?

  47. anniemaverick / Jun 29 2011 5:17 am

    Hey, all..
    I found this forum quite informative.I am from India and have completed my graduation in economics.I am very keen to do a master’s in Development Studies from a good foreign university.I wan’t to know whether the universities mentioned above require work experience as I am a fresher with no experience in the field of development.Also, it will be helpful if you can suggest some good not very expensive universities as I am not sure about the fundings.


  48. ebean130 / Jul 15 2011 2:43 am


    Has anyone come across good masters programs that combine technical agriculture courses with development? The best I’ve found in the US is at University of California Davis and Cornell. How about any in the UK or elsewhere in Europe? Thanks!

  49. Sabrina / Jul 27 2011 6:39 pm

    hey everyone, wow this thread was very helpful. I am curious to know if anyone knows of good programs (they don’t have to be top ranked) in Asia or Africa. I am a Pakistani American and want to learn Urdu alongside my development masters… but there aren’t very good schools in Pakistan. Does anyone know any in India? Or anywhere in Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, etc). I really want to get my degree in Asia or Africa (Ghana, South Africa, etc.).

    • Sabrina / Jul 27 2011 6:39 pm

      or even more online schools… I can always go live in India or somewhere abroad while taking a reputable online MA program.

  50. Kim / Jul 28 2011 4:49 pm

    I received my B.A. and M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. The M.A. was a free one year program that Clark offers in various majors if its students maintain a high enough GPA (3.5) in undergrad. The department is excellent and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good program in the US.

    • James / Mar 27 2012 12:27 am

      Hi Kim,would like to get some more information about this program from Clark University? I am interested to know if it is offered online as well? Thanks u, James

  51. compassioninpolitics / Jul 28 2011 5:41 pm


    I appreciate your comment, but what did you like most about the program? Also, what did the program do to set you up for employment or a career after your degree was over?

  52. Sam / Aug 4 2011 1:51 am

    Does anyone know of any programs that have centers that focus on South Asia?

  53. KOFI OPPONG AGYARE / Sep 18 2011 1:07 am

    Can anyone tell me of any university in the United Kingdom or Canada that offers development studies?

  54. Mone / Jan 11 2012 7:40 am

    Hi everyone. All the posts above are brilliant. By the way, I’m looking for ID in Public Health. does any one know the list of graduate school in Europe where I can study International Development related to Health? (my major at undergraduate was life science.)

    • x / Jan 30 2012 11:51 am

      University of Sheffield is the only one I have found in the WORLD that combines public health and ID (MPH/MSc).

  55. Bandini Chhichhia / Jan 23 2012 2:54 pm

    Hi guys,

    Great website, another good LLM in International Development is PROLAW, run by Loyola University at their Rome campus.

    Check out the website –


    • Nathan Ketsdever / Jan 27 2012 12:30 am

      Interesting–to fill my readers in about the Loyala program:

      PROLAW™ is a one academic year LLM program offered by the School of Law at Loyola’s campus in Rome, Italy. PROLAW™ provides its students with the specific knowledge and skills they need to become qualified and effective rule of law advisors in national and internationally sponsored initiatives to improve the rule of law in developing countries, countries in economic transition and countries recovering from violent conflict. Although the course gives students sound understanding of theory, it is first and foremost practice-oriented.

  56. Emma / Feb 4 2012 6:04 am

    I’m an American student and am having trouble finding an affordable program. I’ve noticed that most of the programs are concentrated in the UK, where I would not be eligible for funding (unless I somehow got a scholarship). And the few programs in the US seem to be VERY expensive 😦

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Particularly, is there any way to get money to study in the UK?

    • X / Feb 5 2012 8:27 pm

      I’m an American in school in th UK. You can use US loans government/private as long as the school is a title IV school (most good UK schools are). There are 150k Americans study I the UK. It definitely cheaper than the US, which is why I am here…Sounds like you need to do more research….

  57. CD / Feb 4 2012 6:32 pm

    This is a really good thread. From a UK/distance learning perspective, here are some of my own conclusions from the research I’ve done to date – please let me know if anyone else has any other thoughts. FYI, I’m currently already working in the field but thinking of combining a career break with some additional study.

    These are the UK instituations that I am looking at for a full term one year Masters in the more general Development Studies/Management. I’m somewhat London/South East centric due to living arrangements but these universities also have solid reputations in the field:
    – IDS (University of Sussex)
    – LSE (University of London)
    – SOAS (Univesity of London)
    – DPU (UCL – University of London)

    For some reason, I’m learning towards DPU’s Masters in Development Admin and Planning. It looks a lot more practical and down to earth than the others which seem more academic which is not what I’m primarily looking for. For more prestige and “wow” factor, then I imagine LSE’s MPA Development is probably the nadir but it’s both two years and insanely expensive – neither of which I can afford or feel inclined to dish out.

    Another option that I’m considering is distance learning as I’m thinking of the possibiltiy of taking a career break in another country. I haven’t looked at these in as much detail but these are the options that I’ve seen from a UK perspective, and they are obviously open globally and part time:
    – Open University – I know a lot of people who currently study with them. To be honest, their course modules are fantastic and sound a lot more attractive in some ways than the full time courses I’ve seen at the more “traditional” universities. I would argue that it’s probably more geared towards those already in the field who want the knowledge and can do without the snob appeal of a more “name” university
    – SOAS (University of London) – especially their Masters in Sustainable Development
    – University of Birminham – especially their Public Admin and Development course

    For those of you who are interested in combining public health with development, the two NAME places to study for this in the UK are:
    – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
    – Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
    As you can tell by the names, they are very much geared to the field.

    • X / Feb 5 2012 8:29 pm

      …don’t forget University of Sheffield Msc International Development and Public Health

  58. Jess / Feb 29 2012 4:05 am

    This thread has been so helpful. My question was partially answered above but I was hoping for some more feedback.

    In short, I am currently working in a completely unrelated field and have decided that I want to go back and get my masters’ in international development. I’m very passionate about int’l development (as opposed to local U.S. dev) and social justice. It looks like I will have to go with a distance learning degree as there are no part-time degrees offered locally.

    My concern is what an online master’s degree looks like in this industry? Is it looked down upon? Does this component factor in to the job competition? Also, out of all of the UK schools (SOAS etc.) which program would be the most highly regarded on an international level?

    Lastly, anyone who works in the field…. would a UK degree be more beneficial than an American degree?

    I guess I’m just a bit concerned I’ll spend all this money on an online UK degree…. and then find out that said degree won’t get me a job.

    Thanks in advance.


    • compassioninpolitics / Feb 29 2012 6:32 pm

      From my quick search I suggest: Tulane University, Syracuse University, and St. Johns are options for online programs. Given your constraints these may be your best options–I believe of those Syracuse and Tulane rank at the top. I believe Syracuse’s program is wedged in their Public Administration program which gets high rankings. Ultimately, finding what you want in a program and looking for top notch teachers and opportunities for learning outside the typical classroom activities (ie internships & projects both inside and outside the classroom)

      One thing to keep in mind–some programs just have certificate programs and others have full-fledged graduate programs. You might consider the advantages and disadvantages of both based on talking to a hiring representative.

      You might also consider looking beyond the constraints you pointed out–for instance looking for jobs after you received an admission–which would allow you to balance your concerns. Those jobs on campus are likely to be flexible with your classroom constraints and easy to get to–those which require a full degree might also have discounts on graduate degrees/classes. Moreover, graduate school classes themselves take only about 3/5ths the time that under graduate classes do (12 hours vs. 20 hours)

      One other issue to consider–you might look at for agriculture or health-specific programs as alternatives if Tulane and Syracuse don’t meet your needs.

      You might check if schools like–Indiana, NYU, Penn State, ASU, USC, Northwestern or George Mason have online programs in international development. They have online programs in public policy/public administration and **might** also in international development.

      • Jess / Feb 29 2012 6:47 pm

        Great thank you so much for the reply! I’m taking a look at Syracuse…. it doesn’t say that they offer an online degree? I am hopefully just missing it on the website… do you happen to have a link?

        I am a bit unclear on the differences between an MPA and a master’s in development… would you be able to summarize the differences? I had initially thought a master’s in dev. would be the best fit, but maybe an MPA would be better?

        Penn State has a Master’s in Community and Economic Development that I am considering. I am just concerned because that degree focuses on local/national development whereas my area of interest is international.

        I will continuing looking into the leads you provided– thanks again!!

      • compassioninpolitics / Mar 31 2012 10:24 pm

        Sorry it took me a while to get back to you…

        1) I can’t comment on the syracuse issue–perhaps asking them (it looked like they had a program based on my research). Remember its wedged in their public administration program.

        2) I suggest talking to the Penn State program about that one. You might also talk to development agencies to find out.

        Alternatively, non-profit management degrees & MBAs from quality MBA programs may work as well.

        I also noticed Johns Hopkins certificate program, which takes 2 summers to complete (obviously thats basically just a year if you are able to start this summer)

        Not sure about the value of the certification in the market. And the benefit is you are in the DC area while in your program.

        Here are a number of other programs which offer the certification option:
        • Georgetown
        • UNC-Chapel Hill
        • University of Washington (the state FYI)
        • Monterrey Institute for International Studies (in Washington DC)

        I think University of Southern California may have one…its worth looking into.

        You might also look at one year programs (which would likely run the same in the end as the online option….particularly when you take into account the increased earning potetial of getting the degree one year earlier.

        Here is georgetown’s one year program–it would be worth looking into the other alternatives:

        Best of luck in your search! Investing in both your search and your education will pay off–if you gather the facts–ideally about career placement, opportunities for growth and learning outside the classroom (experiential learning), and reputation in the industry with development professionals and those that hire development professionals.

  59. James / Mar 27 2012 12:00 am

    I will be graduating with a BA in international Relations and minor in Political Science and looking for a good affordable school that offers International Development since my plan is to go back to Zambia Africa after am done. I am asking for advise on online programs since past four years been away from my daughter pursuing 4 yr degree?

    • Dani / Mar 29 2012 6:12 am

      I definitely recommend Open University:

      • James / Feb 2 2013 9:11 pm

        Do you have an information on American Military university(American Public University) since work full time and have family with kids?

  60. LT / Apr 23 2012 9:14 pm

    Hello, I was wondering what types of jobs an MA in International Development could get me..??

    Thanks in advance!

    • Eveline / Aug 8 2012 3:02 pm

      An MSc in IDS could give you a variety of jobs!

      Fields of interest cover: Relief aid, education, environment, agricultural development, governance improvements, conflict resolution, inclusion techniques after conflict, participatory approaches, democracy improvement, women’s empowerment, youth empowerment, you name it…

      You could work for/as:
      – NGOs (of course) (Amnesty, KIVA, Greenpeace, among many many others)
      – International governmental institutions (UN)
      – International economic institutions (WTO, IMF)
      – Journalist
      – Researcher
      – Working for the government development programs

  61. amanshanti / May 5 2012 2:29 am

    I am very interested in the idea of international development, although I am highly critical of it because of its perpetuation of aid based economies. I want to learn more about neo-colonialism, colonisation and how imperialism is continued through the guise of development, foreign aid, trade, world bank, etc. Learning about global disparities interests me, however, I would like to attend a program that can teach me real information with critical, innovative faculty rather than just churn out MA graduates ready to work for NGOs. I would like to learn more and pursue graduate studies but I am at a loss on how to pursue these interests. Does anyone have thoughts or programs that align with these interests? I would prefer a non-western educational experience in hopes of gaining a more ethnohistorical perspective on globalisation and development. Thanks for your help.

  62. William Archer / Jun 1 2012 11:11 am

    Any thoughts on Eastern University and their international development program?

  63. sasha / Jun 6 2012 12:49 am

    I am an American going to study in the UK for my development masters. Anyone know of any scholarship opportunities? I am focusing on South Asia if that helps

  64. sasha / Jun 8 2012 12:14 am

    Also, does anyone know of any good 12-month masters programs abroad in a developing country? I am using the masters to help narrow my interests for an eventual phd, so I am trying to find a cheaper alternative than going to the UK. My interest is South and South East Asia, so was thinking of going over there, but most programs are 2 years.

  65. Tina Deca / Feb 12 2013 6:22 pm

    Hi all!
    I am debating between St. John’s University in new york or EasternUniversity in PA. Which one is better for international development studies? Please help.

  66. compassioninpolitics / Feb 13 2013 6:32 pm

    I wish I could help you. Perhaps someone else can. I’m going to suggest going somewhere in Washington DC if possible.
    (not sure how a Georgetown might compare with St. Johns….but I know it must be pretty difficult to get into).

    This is just my opinion–I would pick the university thats most likely to:
    1. have the most experiential learning opportunities which will allow you to be in the field and gain experience which
    2. the best faculty (the most experienced faculty)
    3. the learning opportunities outside the classroom you want. what other parts of the school integrate with this part? (i.e. perhaps an awesome program for non-profits)
    4. has your speciality OR otherwise allows you to find one (health care development, agricultural development, etc….)

    I would also try to go with the older program. It takes significant time to put a program together. Older programs have a larger data pool & alumni group to draw from. They are likely to better understand the overall system that is politics, development, etc…

    Here’s an analogy–if you didn’t know who to cheer for in the Superbowl and the teams were absolutely even. I would pick the program that had been there 5 times versus the one that hadn’t ever been there.

    Yet another analogy…..did you know more about your university as a freshman or a senior? Well, programs that have been there for years have a richer data set to draw upon. Its possible that a newer program may have an exciting methodology–but I have a high threshold for what exactly that is.

    In terms of your faith choices…..thats perhaps a separate issue.

    All that said….I think St. Johns program looks much better:
    1. Better staff. You don’t even see who the staff is for the program at Eastern.
    2. They talk about some of their alumni. To me thats at least a little bit of transparency.

    So overall St. Johns has the edge. I’m not entirely sure about the internship opportunities (aka the experiential learning component). However, the descriptions from alumni the the focus on careers seems to suggest heavily they probably have the edge there.

  67. Song / Jun 4 2013 1:32 pm

    Thank you for your post. I find it very informative. As other students above, I am currently received offers from European universities. It is very difficult for me to choose one from them. I read your advice above for choosing right programme. but still confusing. The universities I am considering is Sussex IDS(UK) and LUMID,Lund(Sweden).

    Things like this

    1. experiental learning: IDS is 1-year programme, no field study, but has workshops and seminars.
    Lund is 2-ywar programme, 6 month field study. and can learn by doing- has trainning for GIS, SPSS, programme planning as well.

    2. Faculty: IDS itself is a research center, has many experienced faculty. and it’s been approximately 50 years.
    Lund,as far as I understood, has no faculty of its own. professors are from Human geography department.

    3. Outside opportunity: not sure. but one thing is clear- I cannot speak Swedish so I would not get any chance for working in Sweden.

    4. Both of them are International Develoment Studies/ International developement and management
    seems there’s no much difference.

    5. Lund recently joined Global MDP, would it be a benefit for job or internship opportunity?

    6. Lund is much more expensive. about $15000 difference.

    My main concern is – whether it is better to have field study opportunity inside the school programme or it is still okay getting it after graduation? if inside the school is definitely far better, would it be worth for $15,000?

    Please help, any little advice will be very much appreciated.

  68. thanasis / Jun 9 2013 8:48 am

    hello people…extremely interesting blog…

    i have been accepted for the MSc in International Development Studies in University of Amsterdam as well as in the University of Edinburgh for the Africa and International Development Programme. My third choice is the Lund University and the International Development and Management Programme.

    What do you think about these programmes? Has anyone graduated from these unis?

    I really appreciate your help…thanks guys…

    • Marc / Oct 23 2013 5:31 pm


      University of Amsterdam was another Dutch school I was looking into. I also looked at Edinburgh but found their program to Africa focused. Have you made a decision on which of the three you will attend? Also, are you a non European student? Id love to hear from some other Non European students as to why they chose to attend in Europe. I am finding some of the schools I truly want to attend to be far to highly priced. I may as well just stay home and apply to Georgetown or American University at that point.

  69. Marc / Sep 21 2013 3:12 am

    Hello all. I am finishing up my bachelors in political science at the University of Maryland and looking to complete my Masters in International Development overseas in Europe. I am currently focusing on attending Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Anyone have any insight into the program they offer? I know they have a thesis field research aspect which is great because there are a great deal of Dutch NGOs working in the region of South America where my focus will be.

    Many thanks.

  70. Michel / Sep 25 2013 10:58 am

    hi there, I’m currently studying “development studies” in massey university, new zealand. they teach us the development from participatory perspective, and generally the lecturers are against neo-liberal approach. I’m not sure whether this traits also shared by the US-based institutions. it would be interesting to compare the paradigm dominated different institutions in different countries.


  1. Best masters programs in Public Affairs and Administration (MPA) « Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Non-Profits, and Base of the Pyramid/BOP Design Solutions
  2. Find an MPA International Development Grad Program « Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Education Innovation, & Base of the Pyramid/BOP Solutions
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