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Development Administration and Planning MSc

This MSc equips students with the analytical, methodological and practical expertise needed to positively contribute to development in countries they are actively involved. Students acquire the tools necessary to respond to a diverse range of problems including productive capacity, intersectoral integration, economic and social diversification, and self-sufficiency.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Flexible: 3-5 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£12,840 (FT)
£20,740 (FT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016
Close: 5 September 2016
Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.
Fees note: Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. The tuition fee schedule for 2016/17 entry can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Entry Requirements

The normal minimum qualifications are an upper second-class UK Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, or a lower second-class UK Bachelor's degree, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a subject appropriate to the programme, plus relevant work experience.

In rare cases, applicants with degrees below this standard will be considered if they have significant relevant professional experience.

In all cases, successful applicants are expected to provide good references and a strong personal statement, which adequately demonstrate the applicant’s interest in the topics addressed by this programme.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

Students develop the ability to analyse the development process and to formulate appropriate policies for meeting development goals. The field trip, conducted in a developing country, provides the opportunity to study the problems encountered in development, and the cultural, administrative and institutional context in which decisions are made.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma, four core modules (90 credits), optional modules (30 credits), full-time nine months, is offered.

Core Modules

  • Contemporary Approaches to Development Management
  • Development in Practice
  • Political Economy of Development
  • Society and Market: Private Agency for Development

Suggested Optional Modules

  • Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development
  • Housing Policy, Programme and Project Alternatives
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • Political Economy for Development: Land, Food and Agriculture
  • The Political Ecology of Environmental Change
  • Social Development and Poverty Reduction: From theory to Practice
  • Urban Development and Economics
  • Socially Sensitive Development in Practice
  • The City and its Relations
  • Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management
  • Political Economy of Development: Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Political Economy of Development: Land, Food and Agriculture
  • Neo-Structuralism and the Development State


All MSc students submit a 10,000 word paper on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic is chosen by the student in dialogue with the Programme Director.

Teaching and Learning

The programme consists of reading, essay writing and individual and group project work, in the context of lectures, seminars, workshops, case study analysis, and a field-trip abroad. In recent years field-trip destinations have included Uganda and Ethiopia. Student performance is assessed through coursework, unseen examinations and a final dissertation report.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Development Administration and Planning MSc


Applicants may be eligible for the DFID Shared Scholarship Scheme and the Otto Koenigsberger Scholarship.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Bartlett Masters Scholarship

£5,000 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on financial need

Brown Family Bursary - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

£15,000 (1 year)
UK students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

David Thomas Award

c. £300 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on academic merit

GREAT-UCL India Scholarship

£10,000 (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on academic merit

Otto Koenigsberger Fund

Up to £3,000 (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on academic merit

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


Graduates are engaged in a diversity of professional activities, including local, regional and national government, consultancy firms, national and international NGOs, United Nations programmes and international aid agencies. A small proportion of graduates pursue advanced research degrees while several work as academics in leading universities or as independent consultants.

Recent graduates are employed by organisations including: Asian Development Bank, American Refugee Committee, Canon Collins Trust for Southern Africa, Medical Research Council (Uganda), North-West Frontier Province (Pakistan), UNESCO; United Nations, Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Relief and Works Agency and World Vision (Zambia).

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Development Planning Unit at UCL is an international centre concerned with promoting sustainable forms of development, understanding rapid urbanisation and encouraging innovation in the policy, planning and management of cities and regions, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Its programmes are supported by international agencies and by national and provincial governments.

This MSc examines and analyses the theory and practice of development administration at international, national and regional levels to provide participants with an understanding of the processes generating social change and with the skills and abilities to respond.

Student / staff ratios › 33 staff › 210 taught students › 45 research students

Department: Development Planning Unit

Degree reviews

Student review

"I applied to UCL as it is one of the top universities in the world and the programme I took was extremely appealing to me."

Julia Tinkov

Development Administration and Planning MSc
Staff review

"I examine recent changes in cities of the (so-called) Global South, with a particular interest in how local governments can design and implement sustainable, more inclusive policies that seek to counterbalance long-term trends towards income inequality and spatial fragmentation. Because of the complex nature of cities, this work is inevitably multi-disciplinary and UCL provides a fantastic platform for it. I have the opportunity to interact with some of the top minds in my field, and to learn from the cutting-edge science that is being carried out in London, including UCL. The energy and diversity of activities within UCL and my own department is something that fills me with awe and pride."

Professor Julio Davila

MSc Development Administration and Planning MSc Transport & City Planning MSc Global Health DPU's Doctoral Programme
Professor of Urban Policy and International Development

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme will appeal to those interested in the development of a more socially just and economically equitable world. We welcome professionals as well as recent graduates with a strong academic record to apply. Strongly interdisciplinary, this programme attracts anthropologists, geographers, lawyers, public administrators, economists and politicians, amongst others.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016
5 September 2016

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Development Administration and Planning at graduate level
  • why you want to study Development Administration and Planning at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • what do you think you will bring to the course
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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