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.
Modes and duration
Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time. Typically, core (ie compulsory module) lectures and seminars occur on three days per week with remaining days available for optional or elective modules and self-directed study. Flexible mode students normally attend half this amount.
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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 Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
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
UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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:
About this degree
Students develop the ability to analyse the development process and to formulate appropriate policies for meeting development goals. The overseas practice engagement, which involves work with partners in a country in the Global South, provides the opportunity to study the challenges and possibilities 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 compulsory modules (90 credits) and either one or two optional modules (to a total of 30 credits) plus a dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Development Administration and Planning.
Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.
These four compulsory modules represent the core taught components of the programme, constituting 90 credits towards the degree.
- Contemporary Approaches to Development Management (15 credits)
- Development in Practice (30 credits)
- Critical Ideas of Development Conceptions and Realities (30 credits)
- Society and Market: Private Agency for Development (15 credits)
Recommended optional modules include:
- Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
- An Introduction to Public Economics and Public Policy
- Critical Urbanism Studio II - Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
- Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
- Food and the City
- Gender in Policy and Planning
- Health, Social Justice & The City, Part 1
- Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options
- Managing the City Economy. Urbanisation and Development
- Participatory Processes: Building for Development. Transport Equity and Urban Mobility
- Social Policy and Citizenship
- Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty
- Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
- 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
- Urban Health & Development Planning Strategies Part 1
Or any other available MSc module across UCL, with Programme Leader approval.
Please note: all optional modules are subject to availability.
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 Leader. This module is Development and Planning Dissertation (60 credits).
The programme includes an overseas practice engagement, employing online and face-to-face approaches to facilitate field work with partners in a country in the Global South. In recent years, DPU overseas practice engagements have involved collaborating with partners in Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Turkey, Thailand, Jordan, Cambodia, Myanmar and Colombia. Scheduled in Term 3, (typically April/May), the overseas practice engagements are run as one of the components in the MSc Practice Modules.
Teaching and learning
The MSc employs a range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, group work and discussion, employing both face-to-face and online media to give access to a wide range of learning inputs and activities.
Assessment of student performance in modules generally focuses on two types of activities and outputs: coursework and written examinations. The weighting that is given to each module component in the final module mark will be found in the DPU Master’s Degree Programme Guide to Modules.
The MSc programme represents approximately 1,800 hours of student learning time. This involves a number of activities such as lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, practice engagements, project work, private reading, writing and revising for examinations. Full-time students should commit to an average of at least 35 hours of study a week throughout the programme of study. All other commitments should be secondary to this time.
The programme is organised as a number of modules. A module comprises several of the above elements. Each module involves a number of hours of learning time and is measured in credits. For example, a 15-credit module involves around 150 hours of student learning time, while a 30-credit module generally requires twice that level.
All costs, including partner and facilitation expenses and travel-related, where travel is possible, will be covered from within programme fees. Personal expenses must, as normal, be covered by the student regardless of whether activities take place in person or remotely.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.
Applicants may be eligible for the Otto Koenigsberger Scholarship.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- Deadline: 31 May 2021
- Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
- Based on financial need
- £11,000 (1 year)
- Based on academic merit
- Deadline: 1 July 2021
- Full fees (1 year)
- UK, Overseas
- Based on academic merit
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 range 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.
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.
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.
DPU conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity of national governments, local authorities, NGOs, aid agencies and businesses working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south.
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
What our students and staff say
"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 DavilaMSc Development Administration and Planning MSc Transport & City Planning MSc Global Health DPU's Doctoral Programme
Professor of Urban Policy and International Development
Subscribe to the StudyUCL YouTube channel to learn more about life and studying at UCL.
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
Who can apply?
The programme will appeal to those interested in the development of a more socially just and economically equitable world. We encourage professionals as well as recent graduates with a strong academic record to apply. Strongly interdisciplinary, this programme attracts students from various social science disciplines, lawyers, public administrators, economists and politicians, amongst others.
- Full-time applicants
- 18 March 2021
- Flexible/Modular applicants
- 18 March 2021
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to strong competition for places. It may be necessary to close applications to new applicants if we exceed capacity before the advertised closing date. Applications received by 31 December 2020 will receive a response by 28 February, then in two-monthly intervals after that.
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.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.