Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington

Program Description

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington

Development Studies seeks to explain the enormous differences in peoples’ living standards across the world and to do something about them. The programme examines the theories and practices associated with inequalities in world development, using multi-disciplinary approaches. It is concerned with the processes and relationships between people and institutions at different scales – from local, small-scale communities, through to national government agencies and international organisations.

Particular attention is paid to the relationships between 'developed' and 'developing' societies, the roles played by various institutions within them and their effects on processes of social, political, economic and environmental transformation.

Development Studies concerns issues of contemporary relevance to the world today including:

  • Poverty
  • Inequality
  • Globalisation
  • Gender equity
  • Environmental change
  • Participation and democracy
  • Human rights
  • International aid

Our programme is accessible to graduates from a wide range of disciplines and occupations. People with work experience in community and international development are strongly encouraged to apply, especially those with a background in the Asia Pacific region.

Students are encouraged to spend some time overseas in a developing country as part of their postgraduate study and Masters students usually complete a research thesis based on work in a developing country. Students have undertaken research in places as diverse as Ethiopia, East Timor, Brazil, Chile, Bhutan, South Korea, Malaysia, Samoa and Rapanui.

The MDevStud degree seeks to enhance the ability of graduate students to contribute as professionals to development practice worldwide.

Potential Projects

All students are urged to plan their course of study with the Director of Development Studies before enrolment, as well as during the course of their programme.

More Information

  • Download the postgraduate prospectus
  • Contact the Development Studies Programme Director, John Overton
  • Visit the Political Economy and Development Research Group web pages for information about research and staff in this area
  • For information about undergraduate study in Development Studies please view the Development Studies page.


Masters students must have previously completed a Bachelor’s degree, ideally with an average B+ grade or higher, in relevant 300 level courses.

The following points are also taken into account before a student is accepted into the programme:

  • appropriateness and quality of academic background and/or work experience
  • a clear understanding of how the proposed programme fits with career goals
  • motivation to complete the thesis within two years
  • being able to commit ample time to the programme

Course Requirements

All students should plan their course of study with the Programme Director before enrolment. Part time study is possible.

Part 1

A total of 120 points, made up from:

  • DEVE 511 – 514
  • 60 points from approved elective courses

To progress to Masters Part 2, students must achieve a B+ average in all Part 1 courses.

Part 2

  • DEVE 592 - thesis

The thesis is worth 120 points and will be approximately 40,000 words (120-150 pages). It must be completed by February 28 in two years following the year of enrolment.

Students begin their thesis following submission and acceptance of a full research proposal as part of DEVE 514 - Development Research, taken in the second trimester.

All students should plan their course of study with the Programme Director before enrolment. Applications must be received by 10th of December in the year prior to the commencement of study. Part time study is possible.

Academic requirements

To study the Master of Development Studies you will need one of the following:

  • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in same subject area

Proof of English proficiency

You need to demonstrate a satisfactory command of English through one of the following:

  • IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0
  • TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing
  • Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 65 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 58)
  • EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 15, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Mar. 2018
2 years
Part time
Full time
33,627 NZD
New Zealand - Wellington
Start date: Mar. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Mar. 2018
New Zealand - Wellington
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info