Master of Science in International Development Studies
The program focuses on global social, political and economic change. The degree provides a critical understanding of the history and current dynamics of globalization, and its impact on societies and environments.
Students find employment in a wide range of national and international institutions, government agencies, non-governmental development organizations, multilateral and bilateral aid organizations, businesses, research and teaching institutions.
What will you learn?
The degree is distinguished by its combined use of research-based pedagogy and real-world study and practice as the foundation to understand what development means, and how it is practiced in a complex and changing global context. Students will gain a solid grounding in the concepts, theory and practice of international development, and will learn about conditions for human development at the local and global levels, as well as the relationships between development and ecological processes.
The degree is organized as a full-time program over a 2-year period with 120 study points. All teaching is in English, minimum requirements regarding English qualifications must be met. The degree consists of a series of courses including a Master’s thesis (30 or 60 points). Students are encouraged to write their thesis on the basis of research carried out in ‘field’ conditions in developing or developed countries. The first year consists of course work covering development theory and policy, research methodology, poverty, plus a range of elective subjects. Students design an individual study plan for the degree during the first semester, with the thesis usually written in the final Spring semester. Field courses provide valuable practical experience and are offered as electives. Compulsory courses can be waived for students with a strong background in the subject.
You will understand the connections and political and economic processes in the global North and South, and acquire the necessary analytical and practical skills to work in the field of international development.
Global and local problems related to poverty, environment and social conflicts are central challenges for the world`s population in general, and for policy formulators, development practitioners and academics specifically. The programme offers a broad understanding of social science perspectives of societies, development, and change, as well as more specialised approaches to poverty reduction, conflict avoidance, and sustainable resource management. A problem- and process oriented learning approach in the program provides the students with crucial resources and tools for the transformation of knowledge into plans, projects, policies and critique. Job opportunities can be found in academia, in government agencies, in national and international development and environmental organizations and in private consultancy agencies.
After completing this study program the students should have the following competences:
Understand the meaning of development, the various approaches and theories related to the dynamics of development, and the critique of these.
A specialized insight into a particular area of development, for example poverty, food security or institutions.
Knowledge of theories and knowledge of understanding of different conceptions of development, including the disciplinary and interdisciplinary interpretations.
Utilize the competence in planning and carrying out field research, project management and development work, critically assess new academic developments, within the development studies field as well as policy directions.
Carry out interdisciplinary analyses of development issues and evaluate past experience of various policy instruments in collaboration with colleagues from other academic fields.
Use various understandings and methods of social relations and drivers of change.
Analyse old and new directions within social sciences in understanding poverty, wealth accumulation, rights evolution and conflict.
Evaluate and use primary, secondary and tertiary sources of data.
Develop a critical perspective on power relations, ethical issues and conflicts of values related to social and environmental processes of change.
Contribute to social innovation and propose new solutions to development challenges.
Plan and carry out independent research, develop innovative research questions and engage critically in policy formulation and project development.
Solve theoretical and methodological and project and policy problems.
Apply knowledge in new settings such as development, private sector management or teaching.
Participate in networks, negotiations and public debates, and be able to collaborate with people from different cultural backgrounds and academic fields.
Qualifications after graduation:
Graduates will be eligible to apply for further studies at the Ph.D. level within the field, both nationally and internationally. Noragric offers a Ph.D. programme within Development Studies that is well suited. Students completing the program qualify for jobs in government institutions, in national and international development and environmental organizations, and in private consultancy companies.
Contents and structure:
This degree program is normally of two-year duration. The program consists of 50 credits of compulsory courses: Introduction to Development Studies (5), Development Theory and Policy (10), Development classics (10), Research methods (15) and Poverty (10). In addition, the students will combine elective courses according to interests. It is also possible to take courses at other departments and universities, although such courses must be approved in each case. A 30 (or 60) credit master thesis based on individual data collection, is mandatory.
Most courses use different evaluation methods. In some, student work is evaluated continuously on a pass/fail basis, while the final grade is determined by a final examination or a semester assignment. Other courses will only have a final examination or a single semester assignment.
Cooperation with other institutions:
Noragric has institutional cooperation with several international institutions, such as Aberystwyth University (Wales), American University (Washington DC), Institute of Development Studies in Jaipur, India (IDSJ), Centre for Development Studies (CDS), among others.
Arrangements, incoming exchange students:
The program is taught in English. Incoming exchange students can design a variety of course combinations.
Bachelor `s degree or equivalent education in any field relevant to Social sciences: development studies, economics, political science, biology, teaching, anthropology, resource management, journalism, geography, etc. Please note that students with a former master degree from NMBU will not be prioritized. For admission procedures and English requirement, please see the NMBU admission web page: https://www.nmbu.no/en/studies/admission
The overarching approach to learning in the program is problem-based and process-oriented. This implies that in many of the core courses, the students will be given responsibility for developing assignments, finding information, and deciding on the form of the presentation. Problem-based work will usually take place in a group setting.
The development of collaborative and communicative skills is a central topic in the program, and problem-based learning within groups is an effective means of learning in this context. This type of work will also form the basis for continual evaluation of students. However, most of the courses will not solely rest on problem-based and process-oriented learning, but will include a mixture of teaching and learning methods and approaches. These will include lectures, seminars, tutorials, and individual work. Teaching and learning methods will also vary somewhat according to the specialisation the student is following.
NMBU has exchange agreements within many disciplines and with many universities across the world. There are ample opportunities to do parts of the studies abroad, both at universities with which NMBU has agreements and other universities/institutions. Refer to the following list: https://www.nmbu.no/en/students/exchange/where
Admission requires either a Bachelor degree, a Norwegian cand. mag. degree, or an equivalent background in one of the following fields: Social Sciences, Development Studies, Political Science, Education, Anthropology, Sociology, Resource Management or Economics. Applicants must meet the university’s requirement for English language proficiency and include a 1-page (A4) motivation letter.
- My master thesis involved 5 months of field research in rural Tanzania, which equipped me with the necessary field research experience and thematic pre-knowledge to qualify for my current job. Linn Jaeckle, Social Protection Officer, UNICEF Malawi