|Degree awarded||Master of Arts (M.A.)|
|Duration and credits||4 semesters; 120 ECTS credits|
|Starts in||October (winter semester)|
|Language of instruction||English|
The M.A. Development Studies programme 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 study this degree programme?
This programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in social science 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
- A unique selection of language courses, including German as a Foreign Language
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
- policymakers at bilateral and multilateral organisations, such as GIZ, the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as for civil society advocacy groups
- an academic career as a researcher/doctoral student
Module area A: Foundation (15 ECTS credits)
The module group ‘Foundation Modules’ consists of two examination modules that must be completed by all students:
- Methods and theories of development research
- Interdisciplinary development seminar
Module area B: Research (at least 25 ECTS credits)
The module group ‘Research Methods’ consists of modules about research methods as well as a research seminar and two research colloquia. Students must earn a minimum of 25 ECTS credits in this module group to proceed. Completion of the research seminar and the colloquia is compulsory for all students on the programme. Apart from the colloquia, all modules in this group are examination modules.
- Qualitative and quantitative research methods
- Research seminar
- Development studies colloquia
Module area C: Specialisation (at least 45 ECTS credits)
You are required to complete at least one module each from three of the five module groups forming the core subject areas. You will specialise in a field or further consolidate your knowledge by completing additional modules. All modules in this module area are examination modules.
The module groups forming the core subject areas are:
- Southeast Asian Studies
- Sociology and Politics
- Sustainability and Resources
- Geographies of Development
Module area D: Transfer (15 ECTS credits)
While you can choose most of the modules in this area, the Applied development studies module is compulsory for all students. You can complete this module either as an individual research project supervised by an examiner from Module Area C: Specialisation or as an internship supervised by the chairperson of the Board of Examiners.
The modules available in this group are:
- Applied development studies
- Foreign language module
- Development studies in perspective
- Development studies in perspective I
- Development studies in perspective II
Master's thesis (25 ECTS credits)
You will write a master's thesis in English in one of the module groups chosen in Module Area C: Specialisation
You have the option of placing a study focus on one of the following areas by accumulating a sufficient number of ECTS credits in specific modules. For details, refer to the Infosheet or the study and examination regulations. Upon completion of the programme, your study focus which will be indicated in your final transcript.
Available study focus areas:
- Southeast Asian Studies
A first (bachelor’s or equivalent) university degree in a social science, i.e. economics, anthropology, demography, empirical social or human geography, sociology, political science, administrative science or any other equivalent degree with a minimum of 60 ECTS credits in one or several of these disciplines. Any past achievements and qualifications gained in 'Wirtschaftswissenschaften' (combined business and economics programmes) must be derived specifically from economics ('Volkswirtschaftslehre') modules. 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) must come from empirical research methods, such as data collection, data analysis, mathematics and/or statistics. A general course in research methods is not enough and does not count in this case. The final grade of 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.
If you are unable to provide your degree and examination certificate for your first degree at the time of application, e.g. because it has not been issued yet, you may send us a preliminary academic record/transcript (of records) instead. This should show the courses and assessments completed as well as the marks/grades/results achieved and comply with the above requirement regarding the final grade. If you apply using your preliminary transcript instead of the final certificates, you will be offered a place on condition that you submit your final certificates to the Student Registration Office by no later than the 10th week of lectures in the first semester of your degree programme at the University of Passau.
Unless English is your first language or the language of instruction for your undergraduate studies or secondary school education, you will need to prove that you have adequate English skills (level B2 CEFR or higher) by means of a recognised language certificate.
You should also have basic knowledge of German (level A1 CEFR) to help you in your everyday life. If you do not have basic knowledge of German at the time of application, you will be offered a free language course either before the start or within the first two semesters of the degree programme.
DAAD scholarships in the field of Public Policy and Good Governance (PPGG)
For highly qualified graduates from third-world, threshold, or developing countries, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Bonn, Germany, grants up to ten full scholarships per year to cover the expenses for the whole two-year programme at the University of Passau.
Infosheet for M.A. Development Studies
No, you have to fulfill all academic requirements at the time of application.
No, but you should submit a module catalogue with a description of the courses you completed and a curriculum vitae (CV) together with your application documents. That makes it easier for the selection committee to determine whether you are eligible or not.
You can apply on the basis of a bachelor’s or a master’s degree or an equivalent degree as long as it fulfils the academic requirements.
No, you cannot compensate for missing academic requirements.
Yes. You will attend German language courses during your studies at the University of Passau.
No; your previous schooling or studies will serve as proof of English language proficiency.
Our degree programme is only shown on the uni-assist website during the application period for the upcoming semester (i.e. early May to 30 June).
Uni-assist will do that for you as part of your application process.
No problem: Please add your latest transcript of records to your application documents.
No, unless you have obtained an extra 60 credit points in Anthropology, Demography, Empirical Social or Human Geography, Sociology, Administrative Science, Economics, Business Studies/Business Administration, or a similar discipline. Out of these 60 ECTS credits, 10 must come from Methods of Empirical Research, such as Data Collection and Survey Design, Qualitative or Quantitative Data Analysis, Mathematics or Statistics.