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Top 10 Universities for International Development Studies

#1 – University of Sussex

The University of Sussex Department of International Development offers 8 Bachelor’s level degrees, 22 Master’s degrees, and 7 PhD programs in development-related studies. The school is research-intensive and diverse, with about 30% of the students coming from about 130 countries outside of the UK. They boast that 100% of their International Development undergraduate students are placed in a career or in further study within six months of graduation. Students gain careers within development agencies, governments, nonprofits, charities, research institutes, international organizations, and more.

#2 – Harvard University

Harvard University offers a Master in Public Administration in International Development, and it also hosts the Center for International Development, which is committed to research and study of various development issues. Harvard boasts a variety of famous graduates and is listed as the third best university in the world by QS World University Rankings. Through their MPA in International Development, graduates are now working with governments and organizations around the world. Currently, the Center for International Development, ranked #2 think tank in the world, has faculty and fellows conducting research projects in 12 countries. The Center boasts a multidisciplinary staff who are contributing to research and discussions about development worldwide.

#3 – University of Oxford

University of Oxford’s Department of International Development offers 5 Master’s programs and a Doctor of Philosophy in development-related studies. In particular, the department’s research and programs focus on refugees/migration, youth, poverty and human development, economic growth, and technology and management. They are a diverse and global department, with students and staff from all over the world and research projects spanning multiple countries. The department hosts about 260 students in their doctoral and master’s programs. Graduates are employed in international and multilateral organizations, nonprofits, research institutes, government organizations, and more.

#4 – University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge’s Centre of Development Studies offers a MPhil in Development Studies and a PhD in Development Studies. In total, the Centre typically accepts 55 Master’s students and 15 Doctoral students each year. These degrees give students the opportunity to research and analyze various issues in development. The Centre also offers opportunities to conduct fieldwork research. In particular, their research and work focus on the regions of Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. Following graduation, students are able to work with national and multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, policy and research institutes, and the private sector.

#5 – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

LSE’s Department of International Development offers 6 Master’s degrees and a doctoral program, as well as 6 affiliated Master’s programs, in development studies. The PhD program begins as a Master of Research, and students can then progress into a doctoral degree, training students in methodological and theoretical skills. The department currently has three ongoing research projects, focusing on various aspects of conflict. Their staff and faculty have a variety of diverse experiences and backgrounds in real-life international development. Through LSE’s programs, students have been successfully employed in government, organizations like the UN, academic institutions, private companies, and development organizations working around the world.

#5 – University of California, Berkeley

Tied at #5, USC Berkeley offers a BA in Development Studies (soon to be Global Studies) and a Master of Development Practice, as well as an MA in Global Studies. Through these programs, students can learn in a multidisciplinary environment from staff and faculty who have extensive experience in international development. USC Berkeley boasts highly-acclaimed faculty, who have obtained dozens of awards and recognitions. Students can choose from a variety of elective courses outside of their core courses to learn about various aspects of development that they are interested in. The students body is made up of a diverse group, with over 100 foreign countries represented, as well as every state in the US. Graduates of these programs are working for governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and more.

#7 – SOAS University of London

SOAS University of London’s Department of Development Studies has several development-related programs to choose from and also houses the Centre for Development Policy and Research (CDPR), where students can engage in policy-oriented research on a variety of development issues. The school also has a Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP), which focuses primarily on research surrounding issues of sustainable development and environment. One of the unique features SOAS offers is its international campus, with the proportion of international students reaching about five times the global average, representing 130 nationalities. Graduates of these programs can expect to continue to further study or to employment in a number of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, governments, and jobs in both the public and private sector.

#8 – University of Stanford

In addition to its research-focused Center on Global Poverty and Development, the University of Stanford also offers a Master’s program in International Policy Studies, as well as several undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations in development-related studies. Stanford allows students the chance to engage in collaborative and engaging research on issues such as global sustainable development and poverty alleviation. In addition to the experienced, highly-acclaimed staff and faculty, Stanford students can also interact with policy makers and development leaders from around the world. Students of these programs will be prepared for further study or for employment in governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and more.

#9 – University of Manchester

The University of Manchester offers several Master’s programs in development-related studies, as well as an undergraduate BAEcon Development Studies. Manchester also houses the Global Development Institute, which gives students the chance to engage in research projects on poverty, governance, the environment, and other international development issues. Students can also choose to pursue a doctoral degree through the Institute, and they also have opportunities to pursue postgraduate research. These programs seek to prepare graduates for further study, as well as work in research institutes, academic settings, international and multilateral organizations, governments, and more.

#10 – University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice has a multidisciplinary program for Master’s students and a limited number of PhD students. The Master’s program is only offered part-time currently and is also split between on-campus and distance learning courses. The department emphasizes academic research, producing books, papers, and reports about relevant development and policy topics. In addition to academic training, students also receive professional training to prepare them for public leadership positions, as well as work with international organizations, think-tanks, and private sector companies.