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Masters in Development Studies (MDev)

Development Studies is a multidisciplinary programme whose teaching, research and practice are continually evolving in tandem with change processes in society. The Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Masters of Development Studies (MDEV) programme addresses contemporary development issues using appropriate theories and methodological approaches. The main objective of the course is to equip students with the skills and knowledge required for a career in the field of development. It aims at giving students a proper understanding of the development experiences of different countries and empower them with the analytical and conceptual skills needed to understand the challenges of development.

The courses involve formal study and practical experience in the social sciences. A team of scholars with varied academic background and experience including sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, and economists deliver the curriculum. The team facilitates the delivery of the MDEV programme through an interdisciplinary approach and an emphasis on theoretical rigour. This approach aims at improving understanding of current development problems and how development research can improve the real lives of people.

The MDEV curriculum takes into account emerging issues that have implications for development. Issues such as the philosophy and operationalisation of research in the development arena, urbanisation, enterprise and entrepreneurship, climate change, security and peace, leadership, governance social protection and social policy and financing are covered.


Mode of Delivery

The programme shall adopt blended learning through the use of face-to-face and online modes of delivery. The face-to-face learning will take place within the classroom setting at the Main Campus. The online classes are conducted over video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet.


The classes are run during the day, Monday to Friday. There are no evening classes at the moment.

The programme will consist of full-time study by coursework, examination, research project paper or thesis extending over two academic years.

The first year (Part I)

All students will be required to take and pass a total of eight (8) courses, four (4) of which will be core courses and four (4) will be electives selected from any two (2) different clusters.

During the second semester, each student will be required to undertake at least one field trip to study a development project.

The Second Year Part (II)

Students proceeding will opt for either a research project paper or a thesis.

Students opting for a project paper will take four elective courses in the third semester. In the fourth semester, students will carry out a research project and present the project report for examination.

Students opting for a thesis will devote the entire second year to research, thesis preparation and presentation for examination.

The minimum period required to complete the programme is two (2) years. The maximum allowed period, including intermission, is five (5) years.


The following core courses are offered at the institute:

TDS 501:             Development Theory

TDS 502:             Development Practice

TDS 503:             Theory and Design of Development Research

TDS 504:             Methods of Development Research

The following are the elective courses offered:

Cluster 1: Environment and Natural Resource Management

TDS 610:             Natural Resource and Environmental Management       

TDS 611:             Energy Policy, Planning and Development          

TDS 612:             Science, Technology and Environment  

TDS 613:             Water Resources Management and Policy             

Cluster 2: Change and Development in African Societies

TDS 620:             Rural Societies and Change        

TDS 621:             Issues in Urban Development   

TDS 622:             Rural-Urban Interface   

TDS 623:             Agriculture and Development in Africa 

TDS 624:             Public Transport and Development        

TDS 625:             Leadership and Society

TDS 626:             Peace, Security, and Development         

TDS 627:             Governance and Development 

 Cluster 3: Human Development

TDS 630:             Issues in Human Development 

TDS 631:             Population, Health and Development   

TDS 632:             Knowledge, Education and Development           

TDS 633:             Gender and Development         

TDS 634              Social Policy and Development

TDS 635:             Poverty, Inequality & Vulnerability         

TDS 636:             Monitoring and Evaluation of Development      

 Cluster 4: International Processes and Development

TDS 640:             Issues in International Development     

TDS 641:             Regional Integration and Development 

TDS 642:             Trade and Development            

 Cluster 5: Economy and Development

TDS 650:             Perspectives on Industrialization and Development       

TDS 651:             Entrepreneurship and Development     

TDS 652:             Finance for Development           

TDS 653:             Industrial Policy             

TDS 654:             Economic Informality and Development             

Research Project Paper and Thesis

TDS 700:             Research Project

TDS 720:             Thesis.


The common regulations for the master’s degree in the University of Nairobi shall apply.

The following shall be eligible for admission:

  • A holder of a bachelor’s degree of the University of Nairobi with at least an Upper Second Class Honours
  • A holder of a bachelor’s degree with at least an Upper Second Class Honours from an equivalent institution recognised by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  • A holder of at least a lower second class bachelor’s degree and with at least 2 years relevant development research/practice experience.
  • A holder of a lower second class bachelor’s degree plus a postgraduate diploma from an institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.
  • A holder of a pass degree from the University of Nairobi or any other equivalent institution recognised by Senate with at least five years of development work experience and a postgraduate diploma from an institution recognized by the University of Nairobi Senate.

We have one intake annually that takes place in September. 

Stepwise Application Procedure

  1. Go to The University of Nairobi Online Application - Site (
  2. Click on “Apply Now”
  3. Click on “Masters & Postgraduate Diplomas”
  4. Choose the “September Intake”
  5. Search “Development Studies” on the Search Bar
  6. Click “Apply for Programme”
  7. While following the prompts, make your application by filling in all the required details and uploading all the required documents
  8. Pay the Application Fee at the end of the application
  9. Click “Submit”

In case of any queries regarding the application process please write an email to and copy

It is a good idea to monitor the status of your application. You can do this online

Current Fee Guidelines

Application fee of Kshs 4,000 (non-citizens Kshs 5,000)

Year 1 Kshs 256,000

Year 2 Kshs 277,000

For financial assistance information, click here


The Master of Development Studies degree programme will be assessed either through:

  1. Coursework, examination, and research project or
  2. Coursework, examination and thesis.

The project paper shall be equivalent to four (4) course units and the thesis eight (8) course units.

The coursework comprises core courses and cluster courses. Each course shall be taught for a total of sixty (60) contact hours.


During their study period, IDS students are actively engaged as research assistants in IDS research projects. This gives them a chance to build their development research skills.  Also, as the projects are implemented collaboratively with industry partners, students get opportunities to build contacts with potential future employers.

Our graduates go on to work in the private sector, civil society organisations and public sectors in Kenya and beyond. They are working to address emerging issues that have implications for development in various capacities including:

  1. Monitoring & Evaluation Experts
  2. Development Analysts
  3. Project Managers
  4. Business Development Experts
  5. Community Development Experts
  6. Development Researchers/Consultants
  7. Academic Professions
  8. Programme Officers in Development Projects.
Enroll and Begin Your Journey at


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