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Graduate Admissions

The MPhil in Development Studies seeks to provide students with a critical and reflexive program that eschews the norm. This approach to development enables a rethinking of who benefits from explicit and implicit contemporary approaches, allowing for a repositioning of who development is for. This MPhil aims, then, to give students a rich and inspired program that will allow them to build an approach to development that is grounded in thoughtfulness and reflection of the historical, racial and political terms of the paradigm as it stands.

The MPhil in Development Studies is taught within the Centre of Development Studies and in collaboration with the Centres of African Studies, South Asian Studies, and Latin American Studies, as well as the Faculty of Economics, the Departments of Land Economy, Geography, Politics and International Studies, Social Anthropology, and the Judge Business School. It, therefore, provides a framework within which students can construct a pathway suited to a wide range of different interests and needs, drawn from different institutional locations.

Learning Outcomes

The MPhil in Development Studies allows space for students to capture what they desire. Our emphasis on critical reflection privileges analytical approaches to development as opposed to more practice-based or vocational strategies.  Students will come away from the MPhil will a broad and incisive understanding of development, its institutions, actors and interests. In doing so, the MPhil seeks to provide students with a solid foundation for consistent future growth through various fields of development, whether in scholarship or practice. Classes on quantitative and qualitative data analysis are taught separately to the MPhil, by the Social Sciences Research Methods Centre at the University. 


Several students annually continue to the PhD in Development Studies. For continuation on to the PhD candidates will have to achieve an average of 70 (high pass) for their overall mark in the MPhil course. They will also need an acceptable PhD proposal, with a relevant academic supervisor available.

In recent years Development Studies students have also been accepted as PhD students by the Faculties of Education, Social and Political Sciences, and History, by the Departments of Social Anthropology, Geography, and Land Economy, by POLIS, and by the Judge Business School.

The PhD admissions criteria can be found on the Centre's website.

Open Days

Applicants are welcome to visit the Centre on appointment during working hours and to contact the Centre Administrator with any questions they might have. Applicants are encouraged to make these arrangements during term times when all staff members are present.

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

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Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2020

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
Jan. 7, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2020
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 9, 2019

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