Master's Degrees in Development Studies: Online & Campus-Based Programs

Although development studies degrees cover a vast amount of information focused on the developing world, there are various concentrations available in the master's programs that will best suit your potential career needs. Read on to learn about the degree concentrations, prerequisites, curriculum, online options, and careers in the field. Schools offering Computer Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Master's Degrees in Development Studies Can I Earn?

Development studies is a broad field that allows you to specialize your education in many social science areas. Some colleges and universities offer general master's degrees in the field of development studies. Most programs, though, are focused on branches such as economic development, public health or environmental policy. While some of these programs focus on domestic development issues, the majority are centered on problems in developing nations throughout the world.

Degree Specializations General developmental studies, economic development, public health policy
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, select course completion, experience in development (varies by school)
Course Topics Economics, trade issues, disease prevention, refugee management
Online Availability Rarely available, and usually in hybrid format
Possible Careers Research-based work, work in a non-profit organization, post-secondary teacher (requires Ph.D. in Developmental Studies)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% (Postsecondary Teachers)
Median Salary (2018) $65,660 (Postsecondary Teachers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Any Prerequisites?

You'll need to earn a bachelor's degree before beginning your master's degree in development studies, with some programs also requiring a prior master's degree. Most programs don't require a particular undergraduate field of study, though certain courses may be required or considered beneficial. These courses may depend upon your field of specialization within development studies, but can include economics, business, geography and history courses. Some programs will also require you to have experience in development. This may include time living in a developing nation, work with the Peace Corps or work experience with a development-focused organization.

What Will I Study?

These programs are often comprised of coursework that is unique to the area of specialization. For example, if you study economic development, you'll study economic growth in developing areas, trade issues and poverty. In studying public health, your studies may include disease prevention, refugee management and sanitation.

Your courses will typically be lecture-based, with many classes including research requirements. Internships are a common component of master's degree programs in development studies. While completing an internship, you may work overseas or for a locally-based organization that focuses on development work relevant to your career interest.

Will I Find These Degrees Available Online?

Most development studies master's degree programs that you'll encounter are campus-based. Very rarely, you can find programs that include limited online coursework. In these cases, you may need to attend the school's campus for additional sessions or workshops. While these programs may still require you to live in or near the city where the program is based, they do afford you the chance to continue working full-time while earning your master's degree.

What Can I Do with This Degree?

You'll be prepared for a wide variety of careers after earning your master's degree in development studies. You may choose to seek fieldwork on the ground in a country of your choosing. You may work there for a government, private or non-profit organization. In many fields, you can seek a fellowship or grant to pursue research-based work. If you intend to teach at the post-secondary level, you'll need to complete a Doctor of Philosophy in Development Studies or a related field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools