Master in Development Studies

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Program Description

Master in Development Studies

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

The Master in Development Studies aims to provide students with the methodological and theoretical skills and knowledge, both disciplinary and interdisciplinary, which enable them to approach the major themes in the area of development in a pertinent manner.

Master in Development Studies Overview

The Master in Development Studies (MDev) involves areas of interdisciplinary study that are constantly evolving. While historically the focus has been on developing countries, today our approach involves understanding development actors, policies and practices, with a local and regional perspective, while also addressing issues of global concern.

Our programme aims to provide students with interdisciplinary and disciplinary knowledge and know-how, including theory, methodology and practice, allowing them to address development issues in an effective manner.

The programme takes place over two years (four semesters) starting in September and delivers:

• Semester 1: an introduction to epistemological and methodological approaches, and to disciplinary study areas (anthropology, global ecology, economics, and political sociology).

• Semester 2: an understanding of the complexities of development processes, policies and practices, at the international, regional and local levels, with exposure to concrete examples.

• Semester 3: deeper knowledge in an area of specialization as well as the tools needed for the design, management and evaluation of development programmes.

• Semester 4: the writing of a Master thesis, preferably linked to an internship or fieldwork.

The three areas of specialization within Development Studies are:

  • Human and social development
  • Conflict and development
  • Sustainable development

Studying Development at the Graduate Institute

Studying development with us in Geneva is a unique and invaluable experience and includes:

• A legacy of addressing development issues from a critical perspective.

• A learning programme that combines theory with methodology and practice, providing the tools needed for further academic study or a career in development.

• Faculty and students from around the world, bringing with them a diversity of experiences and perspectives.

• A bilingual learning environment, where students can express themselves and learn in the language of their choice, either French or English.

• A unique location with a campus that extends from the shores of Lake Geneva to the United Nations, with numerous career and internship opportunities with international organizations, NGOs, or the private and public sectors.

Admission requirements

Master in Development Studies (MDEV): Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, sociology, law, economics, history, political science, geography – or a related discipline, or an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s degree in development studies or international relations.

Language requirements

The Institute is a bilingual English-French institution; students are therefore required to demonstrate their knowledge of these languages by including the relevant certificates with their application forms.


* Level required: candidates are required to demonstrate excellent command of the language, both written and spoken, attested by a language certificate

* Candidates of English mother-tongue and those who have completed secondary or post-secondary education in English, attested by a diploma, are exempt from this requirement.


* Level required: a passive knowledge of French can be acquired during the first study semester;.

* Candidates of French mother-tongue, candidates who have completed secondary or post-secondary education in French, attested by a diploma, or candidates who have obtained a French diploma equivalent to a DELF B2 are exempt from this requirement.

* Request for a waiver: candidates with no prior knowledge of French may request a waiver. Upon successful acceptance to the Institute they will be required to attend an intensive French course during the 3 weeks preceding the start of the autumn semester and for the duration of the first semester; upon completion of the course they will be required to pass a language test.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
2 years
Full time
1,500 CHF
Start date Sept. 2017
Switzerland Geneva
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price 1,500 CHF
per term;CHF 2,500 international student