Institute Of Social Studies - Erasmus University Rotterdam


About ISS

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment. Established in 1952 as the International Institute of Social Studies by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education it does research, teaching and public service in the field of development studies and international cooperation. We are located in The Hague, known as 'The World’s Legal Capital'.


On 1 July 2009 ISS became a University Institute of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). This unique structure, in which ISS retains its mission, location and relative autonomy whilst benefiting from the resources available from an internationally renowned university, came about after a careful process of negotiations. As a University Institute, ISS is able to develop innovative research in cooperation with other EUR faculties and have greater access to Dutch and international research funding. Students graduating from ISS receive diplomas and degrees which bear the names of both ISS and EUR. ISS will remain in The Hague though all staff and students will have access to EUR facilities and resources.



Research at ISS focuses on development studies. This transdisciplinary field of study seeks to understand phenomena of underdevelopment, development and change, with special reference to low-income countries. Poverty, globalization, gender and inequity are key words in most of our programmes.


We offer a four-year PhD programme and an accredited 15.5-month MA in Development Studies with various specializations for participants from over 50 countries. In addition we offer postgraduate diploma programmes and short courses. The degrees, including the PhD, are recognized internationally and by Dutch legislation. Our more than 11.000 alumnus function at all levels of government, business and civil society in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


The ISS MA Degree in Development Studies is widely recognized, accredited by the Netherlands Flemish accredication organization NVAO and provides eligibility for entry to PhD programmes in the Netherlands and other countries worldwide.

Public service

Our staff comes from many countries and is a source of knowledge and has wide experience in international development. We stimulate public debate on current issues, important for the exchange of knowledge and for increasing public awareness. ISS organizes a wide variety of events, from large conferences to small roundtable meetings for selected groups. The staff is also engaged in institutional capacity development, contract research and advisory services for international agencies and national governments.

ISS in a nutshell

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague is part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

It is a graduate institute of policy-oriented critical social science, founded in 1952 and able to draw on sixty years of experience.

ISS is a highly diverse international community of scholars and students from the global south and the north, which brings together people, ideas and insights in a multi-disciplinary setting which nurtures, fosters and promotes critical thinking and conducts innovative research into fundamental social problems.

Key to the ISS philosophy and practice is the wish to make a contribution to achieving social justice and equity on a global level. The strong partnerships with organizations and individuals in developing countries make up a network in which the co-creation of knowledge and an integrated approach to research and teaching can flourish and remain societally relevant.

ISS shares expertise with a wider public by providing high-level policy advice, serving as a platform for debate and the exchange of ideas and engaging in consultancy.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

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This school also offers:


MA in Development Studies

Campus Full time 15 - 16 months September 2017 Netherlands The Hague

The Master of Arts in Development Studies offers a solid academic and professionally relevant training in theory and methods for development studies. It is designed for those wishing to start or continue their professional careers in the area of development. [+]

The Master of Arts in Development Studies offers a solid academic and professionally relevant training in theory and methods for development studies. It is designed for those wishing to start or continue their professional careers in the area of development. In the MA programme you learn about the most recent theories and debates. You will also learn to apply this knowledge to practical issues of development and social change. Critical thinking MA students are encouraged to develop a critical understanding of major debates, theories and strategic interventions and of the skills to analyze the issues, and to design and assess interventions aimed at tackling these issues. An essential part of this process is to develop skills in research methodology, which will be applied in a research paper prepared as a requirement for the Masters degree. Period of study The 15.5 month MA programme consists of coursework (40 weeks of full-time study, 61 ECTS credits) and the research paper (25 weeks of full-time study, 27 ECTS credits). ISS offers the possibility to do the one-year coursework at ISS and to work on the Research Paper at home with supervision being available through the electronic learning environment. Majors The MA Programme in Development Studies is organized in five Majors. You must select one of these Majors when you apply to the MA programme. Programme overview [-]