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.
Covid-19 programme updates
Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.
This programme is now closed for entry. Unfortunately, we are not able to accept applications for September 2020 as we anticipate that the programme is now full.
Modes and duration
Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time. Typically, lectures and seminars occur on two days per week. Flexible mode students normally attend half this amount.
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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. 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
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 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 compulsory modules (90 credits) and either one or two optional modules (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.
- 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
- Land, Food and Agriculture
- 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
- Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: Knowledge Systems in the Global South
- 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 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 overseas fieldwork trip is a practical research-based residential that helps draw the various elements of the degree together.
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 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.
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.
- This scheme is now closed for 2020/21
- £15,000 (1 year)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
- 1 July 2020
- £10,000 (1 year)
- 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.
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
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.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.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 anthropologists, geographers, lawyers, public administrators, economists and politicians, amongst others.
- Full-time applicants
- 11 August 2020
- Flexible/Modular applicants
- 11 August 2020
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.
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