Development Studies

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: Jun 30, 2023
301–350 place StudyQA ranking:743 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate
The MA Development Studies enables students to develop the advanced knowledge, analytical skills, and conceptual frameworks required to understand and navigate the complexities of economic and social development.
Students enrolled in the programme gain insights into the economic, social, ethical, and cultural contexts and constraints of development. The programme provides outstanding opportunities to put theory into practice through international field research, with a strong focus on integrating quantitative and qualitative methods.
The programme addresses the worldwide need for experts in the expanding field of development research as well as for project managers in international development cooperation.

Who should participate in this degree programme?
This programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in social sciences and mid-career professionals in any development-related field. Qualified students from developing and emerging countries are particularly welcome.

  • Programme taught entirely in English
  • Strong focus on quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Field research opportunities
  • Unique selection of language courses

Educational organisation

First semester (30 ECTS credits)
  • Methods and theories of Development Studies
  • Interdisciplinary seminar
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods

Second and third semesters (65 ECTS credits)
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Research seminar
  • Elective modules (e.g. sociology, economics, sustainability of resources, political science, South East Asian studies)
  • Languages and additional study skills courses

Fourth semester (25 ECTS credits)
  • Field research
  • Master's thesis
  • A research colloquium with internationally renowned guest speakers is offered each semester.

If desired, you may choose to specialise in one of the following:
  • Development Economics
  • South East Asian Studies

Study abroad unit(s)

If you wish to study abroad, assistance in selecting scholarship programmes as well as consultation and information is offered by the International Office.

International Office
Innstrasse 41
94032 Passau
Phone: +49 851 509 ext. 1160, 1161, 1162 or 1163


There is no formal internship requirement for students completing this programme.
If you wish to complete a voluntary internship, you are responsible for searching for an internship, clarifying the outline and making all necessary arrangements. We recommend that students complete an internship, as it allows them to gain valuable work experience in a selected occupational field whilst still at university, while at the same time offering them the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills acquired in their studies. This also allows them to reflect upon their career aims and establish contact with potential future employers.
Your primary contact for all employment-related matters is the Careers Service.
For more details, please see:

Forms of assessment

Courses and seminars operate on the assumption that students will do a good deal of preparation and follow-up work outside of the classroom. They will receive some support from the respective lecturers but, nevertheless, conduct this work independently.
Modules are assessed during or at the end of each semester. European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) credits are awarded when the respective module has been passed and the required coursework submitted. Assessments and coursework are usually graded. The forms of assessment include written and oral examinations, student presentations and written reports, essays and papers, or a combination of the above. A thesis must be written as part of the programme.

Course objectives

Students enrolled in the programme gain insights into the economic, social, ethical, and cultural contexts and constraints of development. The programme provides outstanding opportunities to put theory into practice through international field research, with a strong focus on integrating quantitative and qualitative methods.
Graduates have a wide range of potential career paths within the development field, such as:
  • programme managers for local and international development organisations, including government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and community groups
  • policy makers for bilateral and multilateral agencies, such as GIZ, the World Bank, and the United Nations as well as for civil society advocacy groups
  • researchers and doctoral students, leading to an academic career

Language requirements

If English is not your first language or the language of instruction for your first degree, you will need to prove that you have adequate English skills by means of a recognised English language test at level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
To help you go about your daily life in Germany, it is advantageous to have at least basic German language skills. Therefore, if you have a German language certificate at level A1 CEFR (i.e., beginner's level), you should enclose a certified copy of it when you apply. Do not worry if you do not have basic German skills or cannot provide a certificate: you will take a free beginner's German language course during the first year of your studies in Passau.

Academic requirements

A first (Bachelor's or equivalent) university degree in social sciences, economics, or business studies, i.e., in one of the following disciplines: anthropology, demography, empirical social and human geography, sociology, administrative science, economics, business studies/administration, or any other equivalent degree with a minimum of 60 ECTS credits in one or several of these disciplines. This first degree must have been obtained as part of a programme of study with a minimum standard duration of three years' full-time study.
Out of the 60 ECTS credits referenced above, 10 ECTS credits (or a minimum of 300 hours of coursework) have to come from methods of empirical research, such as data collection and survey design, rigorous qualitative or quantitative data analysis, or mathematics or
statistics applied to social science. A general course in research methods is not enough and does not count in this case. Your overall average mark for your undergraduate degree should be equivalent to 2.5 or better according to the German marking scale or ranked among the best 50% of your cohort.

Enrolment fees

The enrolment fee amounts to 70 EUR per semester. This comprises the student association contribution of 52 EUR and the semester bus pass, which costs 18 EUR.

Costs of living

As a bare minimum, you should budget for about 660 EUR per month for accommodation, food, transport and other activities. Your actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle. Here is a breakdown of typical monthly expenses:
Rent: 180-350 EUR
Food: 150-250 EUR
Public transport: included in the semester contribution
Books/other: 50-100 EUR

Job opportunities

For international students, a dedicated career adviser is on hand. The iStudi Coach will answer all of your questions about finding work or placements in Germany or abroad.
Please note that students from non-EU countries must apply for a work permit at the national job centre if they would like to work more than 240 half-days per year. Students from EU member countries do not require a work permit.

Funding opportunities within the university

In general, scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic performance; applicants' financial situations are only taken into consideration to a minor degree and scholarships (especially those from the university) are not usually awarded before the commencement of studies. If you intend to apply for a scholarship while you are still in your home country, please contact the German Embassy or the German Consulate at your earliest convenience.

Arrival support

Twice a year, at the beginning of each semester before lectures start, the International Office holds orientation weeks for new international students. These are designed to help students settle in, make new friends quickly, and get to know important contact people. All international exchange students are required to attend the orientation weeks, and attendance is strongly recommended for international degree-seeking students.

Services and support for international students

The International Office provides advice, information and assistance. Under the student buddy scheme, each international student is paired off with a German student buddy who helps the international student with all organisational and personal matters.
For more information, please see or write to


Most students in Passau live in privately rented flats, often shared with other students. A number of rooms are also available in our halls of residence. Some of these halls of residence are within walking distance of the university and others are more conveniently reached by bicycle or bus. However, all of our halls of residence are less than thirty minutes from the university.
A room on the private market costs about 200-350 EUR a month. Landlords usually require a deposit of one or two months' rent when you move in, which will be returned to you at the end of the rental period, provided you leave your room in good condition.
The International Office can arrange for accommodation for either six months (one semester) or one year (two semesters). However, this service is subject to availability.
Rooms in halls of residence cost 200-270 EUR per month. These are fully furnished, with kitchen and bathroom facilities.
For more details, see:
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