Economic Development MSc

Modern skyscrapers

This programme is designed for graduates with a background in economics who want to develop an understanding of policy analysis, design and management relevant to developing countries.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The programme is designed to meet the needs of those interested in problems and policies in developing countries. While it is at the research frontier, with special attention devoted to the policy and practical implications of different theories.
  • You will be taught by leaders in the field, many of whom have worked with international and government organisations including the IMF, World Bank, UN, Commonwealth Secretariat, central banks and government organisations in developing countries.
  • The University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School celebrates the legacy of Adam Smith by developing enlightened, enterprising and engaged graduates and internationally recognised research with real social impact.

Programme structure

You will take three core courses, three optional courses and complete a substantial independent piece of work, normally in the form of a dissertation.

Core courses

  • Development policy
  • Growth and development 
  • IMF, World Bank and economic growth.

Sample optional courses

  • Aid and development
  • Basic econometrics 
  • Behavioural economics: theory and applications
  • Economics of inequality and deprivation
  • Environmental economics  
  • Foreign direct investment and development 
  • International trade
  • Money, finance and growth 
  • Policies for sustainability and development 
  • Project planning, appraisal and implementation 
  • Theory and principles of sustainability.

Optional courses are also offered in Economic & Social History and Politics.

What our students say

Jeremy Hanks, UK (2012-13)

 ‘I chose the University of Glasgow because they are one of the only schools who offer this programme in the UK. The way of life in Glasgow is multi-cultural and I made new friends from all over the world. The teaching was good and the University was in beautiful surroundings and offered great facilities.’

Rahmitha, Indonesia (2012-13)

 ‘The University of Glasgow offers a good studying environment. I enjoyed learning more about research skills and being more analytical. My favourite part of the programme was writing the dissertation.’

Wonderful Khonje, Malawi (2006-07)

'I am currently involved in “advocacy on behalf of Commonwealth Small States”, which is the dissemination of research and applicable policy information on small states in ensuring that issues facing these countries reach various stakeholders and developmental partners and is discussed in international fora.

The degree was foundational in that it offered theoretical substance that could easily be used in a practical way in any area across the development spectrum.
The degree reinforced my knowledge in international development and hugely equipped me to tackle developmental issues facing developing countries in a more appropriate and effective manner than before.

I would urge prospective Economic postgraduates to carefully reflect on their backgrounds and career aspirations and choose appropriate subject combinations that will enforce their experience as well as their prospects. On the course, always make practical application to the concepts/theories being taught.'

Timothy James Destefano, 2008-2009

'I really enjoy all my classes and feel that the programme is structured so that when we graduate, we have the tools needed to excel in the real world.  The city itself is large enough that I'm never bored and small enough to move around easily.'

Christian Edem, 2008-2009

'The story back home in Nigeria that the UK has the best education in the world is not far from reality as my experience at the University of Glasgow testifies.  I feel fulfilled in obtaining the best education of my life here in Glasgow.  Staff members have been wonderful - their attitude towards students is highly commendable and quite encouraging.'


The Adam Smith Business School is one of an elite group of less than 1% of the world’s business schools that hold triple accreditation. The School is accredited by AACSB and EQUIS, with the MBA programme also accredited by AMBA. Triple accreditation is an internationally recognised benchmark that validates the credibility and performance of the Adam Smith Business School.

AACSB logo The AACSB Accreditation Process includes rigorous self-evaluation and peer-review elements. The Adam Smith Business School meets all of AACSB’s Accreditation Standards and was first awarded the accreditation in 2007.

Equis logoEQUIS accreditation is one of the most important benchmarks available to business schools worldwide. Institutions that are accredited by EQUIS must demonstrate not only excellence in teaching, the student experience, research and outreach, but also a high degree of internationalisation and interaction with the corporate world.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

2:1 Honours degree or non-UK equivalent (eg, a GPA of 3.0 or above) in Economics or in a related discipline, with at least 3 credit-bearing modules in Economics and/or Development Studies. Students with less than 3 modules in Economics or Development Studies may be considered if they have relevant work experience.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • two sub-tests no less than 6.5, no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; two sub-tests no less than 176; no other sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; two sub-tests no less than 176; no other sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£7500
Full time fee£16500

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme: please see: Deposits for entry in 2015/16

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Career options open to you include working for international organisations, government ministries, academia and research institutions, non-governmental organisations, banks and other financial institutions. Recent graduates of this programme now work for organisations such as the British Council, the Avina foundation, Channing Lucas, consulting firms, and various local and national governments around the world.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • all applications for entry in 2015 are now closed

Classes start September 2015 for most programmes and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Application fee

A fee of £25 per application must be paid by all applicants to this programme. The application fee will be requested when you apply online and it can be paid using your credit or debit bank card.

Terms and conditions

The application fee is non-refundable so it is important that you check any specific entry requirements for the programme. If you are applying with qualifications from outside the UK then you should check the postgraduate taught entry requirements for your country: see International students: In your country

Applicants who are sponsored may have the application fee waived at the point of applying online. However if the sponsorship status changes before the student registers with the University and the student is self-funding the University reserves the right to invoice the student for the initial application fee.

Find out more about Application fees

Apply now