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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 where 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

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Flexible: 2-5 years

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£13,770 (FT) N/A (PT)
£21,960 (FT) N/A (PT)

Application dates

Full-time applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 28 July 2017
Flexible/Modular applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 4 September 2017

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

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 four core modules (90 credits), optional modules (30 credits) and dissertation (60).

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

A Postgraduate Certificate, four optional modules (60 credits), full-time 15 weeks or flexible study over a period of up to two years, is offered.

Core modules

Four core modules 

  • Contemporary Approaches to Development Management
  • Development in Practice
  • Critical Ideas of Development Conceptions and Realities
  • Society and Market: Private Agency for Development

Recommended optional modules include:

  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • Cost Benefit Analysis: Theory and Practice
  • Critical Urbanism Studio I - Learning from Informality: Case Studies and Alternatives
  • Critical Urbanism Studio II - Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Food and the City
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • Housing as urbanism: housing policy and the search for scale
  • Housing policies: practical dimensions and alternative options
  • Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Land, Food and Agriculture
  • Neo-Structuralism and the Developmental State
  • Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty
  • Social Policy and Citizenship
  • The City and Its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning
  • The Political Ecology of Environmental Change
  • Transport Equity and Urban Mobility
  • Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development
  • Urbanisation and Development

Or any other open MSc module in The Bartlett School of Planning.

Please note: not all optional modules listed above may be available.


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.


The overseas fieldwork trip is a practical research-based residential that helps draw the various elements of the degree together.

The DPU will cover the following costs of the field trip: return flights, visas, travel insurance, accommodation and fees, and costs of local experts and inputs. However, food, local travel and incidental expenses of a personal nature will not be covered by the DPU.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: 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 below.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS) - NOW CLOSED FOR 2016/17

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

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit 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.

Top career destinations for this degree

  • Project Manager, London Borough of Camden
  • Administration Officer, Pakistani Government
  • Coordinator, Department of Development Administration and Planning
  • Campaigning Researcher, Gaia Foundation
  • Consultant, United Nations Development Program (UNDP)


The central objective of this programme is to equip participants with the analytical, methodological and practical expertise necessary to make a positive contribution to the development effort in countries with which they are engaged.  

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Development Planning Unit (DPU) 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.

Department: Development Planning Unit

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

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Development Planning Unit
75% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Student view

"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 view

"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

Full-time applicants
28 July 2017
Flexible/Modular applicants
4 September 2017

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

Page last modified on 20 October 2016 at 12:07 by UCL Publications & Marketing Services. Please contact us for content updates.


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