MA in Development Studies

University of the Witwatersrand

Program Description

MA in Development Studies

University of the Witwatersrand

MA in Development Studies

A leading inter-disciplinary postgraduate programme in development studies is currently on offer. The programme is social sciences orientated and specializes in health, labour, gender and rural development. The programme is appropriate for students keen to pursue a career in policy research and in the local and international development organizations. Students will be able to draw upon a vast range of local and international academic expertise in a range of disciplines within the School of Social Sciences and in Economics as they critically engage in current local, national and international debates in Development Studies while promoting professional skills in these fields.

Students draw upon local and international expertise in a range of disciplines. The student body is cosmopolitan and admission is highly competitive. Students with practical experience in the world of development are especially welcomed. The Programme has grown steadily since its inception in 2001. On average it is estimated that about a third of the student cohort is non-South African. Topics of student research include many focused on studies within Africa broadly.


Full time Structure: Completed within a Year

  • Two core courses in the first semester
  • One elective course in the second semester
  • Research report process throughout the year.

Part time Structure: Completed within Two years

  • Three courses, plus one Research Report over a period of two years.

*All classes are offered during the day (morning or afternoon) and during the week. So, part time applicants still need to make provision for time away from the office and travel time.

Benefits of the programme

The programme is appropriate for students keen to pursue a career in policy research and in the local and international development organizations. Students are exposed to a range of courses in the Faculty of Humanities and School of Economics and Business Sciences. The courses are taught by leading academics in their fields of research specialisation.

Enrolment criteria/Admission requirements

  • 68 -70% average for Honours / Fourth year Studies
  • Social Sciences background is an advantage
  • Work or Volunteer experience in the Development field an added advantage

Supporting documents required with your application, (International Applicants):

  • CV
  • Certified copies of your ACADEMIC RECORD /STATEMENT OF RESULTS
  • Certified copy of Certificate of Evaluation from the South African Qualifications Authority. Details of how to apply for the certificate may be found on their website at
  • Letter of Motivation as to why you wish to pursue this line of study
  • Sample of writing (may be a marked essay or a chapter from previous research conducted,etc,)
  • A Three -Five page Research Proposal outlining your research interest.
  • In terms of the University rules, an applicant who has not used English in his/her academic education up to this point will be required to supply proof of proficiency in English at the time of application. A British Council test is recommended and they can be contacted at (011) 718 4300 or email
  • Application Fee of R200.00

Career Options/Opportunities

  • Project Coordinator/Manager
  • International Aid Worker
  • Business Development Specialist
  • Research Assistant
  • International Youth Worker
  • Market Research Assistant/ Specialist
  • Peace/Human Rights Activist
  • Educator/Trainer
  • Journalist
  • Job Analyst
  • Entrepreneur/ Venture
  • Community Development Liaison Officer
  • Writer/Author/Columnist
  • Quality Control/ Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Human Rights Analyst
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Public Policy reseacher

*There are many more careers that a Graduate with Development studies qualification can go into within government, NGOs and Corporate world.

Curriculum Outline/Modules taught

Students are required to complete two compulsory courses, one optional course and a research report

a. Compulsory Course ONE: Theory

  • Economics and Sociology of Development (Economics Department)

b. Compulsory Course TWO: Methods

  • Development Research Methods ( Sociology Department)

c. Research Report on approved topic of choice

d. Optional Courses, many from the social sciences:

  • South African Theory and Ethnography
  • Politics, Governance and the City
  • Community Participation in Urban Governance
  • Rural Transformation: Town and Countryside
  • The Environmental History of Africa
  • The Making of Urban South Africa
  • International Relations of Africa’s Natural
  • International Dimensions of Human Security
  • Empire and Crisis of Civilization
  • Development Issues in International Relations
  • Social Transitions
  • Land & Agrarian Reform Southern Africa
  • The Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Economic Sociology
  • Work and Labour in the Global Economy
  • Global Institutions and Economic Restructuring
  • Labour & Development
  • Environmental Sociology HIV/AIDS in Context
  • Introduction to Migration and Displacement
  • The Health and Psychosocial Consequence of Migration
  • Human Rights Course
  • Identity Movement and Control

Closing dates

Wednesday , 30 September 2015 ( For Both International and South African Applicants)

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Feb. 2017
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Feb. 2017
South Africa Johannesburg
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 2 years
Price Request Info