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Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
The Institute of Social Studies offers a programme of studies leading to a Masters Degree in Development Studies. With a strong focus on training in the theory and methods relevant to development studies, the MA Programme aims to equip graduates to apply new insights in policy analysis in a practical context.
The ISS MA Degree in Development Studies is widely recognised and
provides eligibility for entry to PhD programmes in the Netherlands and
other countries worldwide.
Students should indicate their choice of Major on their application form. Within the chosen field of specialisation, students are encouraged to gain a critical understanding of the major debates, theories and strategic interventions, as well as the skills to analyse the issues, and to design and assess interventions aimed to tackle them. An essential part of this process is to develop skills in research methodology, which will be applied in a research paper prepared as a requirement for the Masters Degree.
The ISS admits a limited number of auditors and associate students
who wish to attend only part of the courses in the MA Programme. For
Netherlands residents a more flexible arrangement of the MA programme
can be requested, spreading the programme over a longer period. These
cases are dealt with on individual basis. Please contact the ISS for
more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MA programme
The ISS has modularised its programme to offer greater flexibility. It is possible to identify other study paths through the programme than the majors listed above.
In total, a student takes courses totaling 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits which is equivalent to 40 weeks of fulltime study and writes a Research Paper representing 28 ECTS. An overview of all courses can be found in the academic calendar . Copies can also be ordered from the student.office.
The MA Programme is structured in the following way.
A. General Course (7.5 ECTS)
General Course surveys the broad questions of development which lie at
the heart of the MA in Development Studies taught at the ISS. At the
same time, it assists students in refining study skills. The Course
provides an introduction to key substantive problems, concepts,
theories and strategies and to key actors in the theory and practice of
development. The issues and the analytical and practical responses to
them are treated in a historical perspective with attention to
socioeconomic, political and cultural dimensions and to intersectoral
problems and approaches. The treatment is both general (relating to
Development Studies as a whole) and specific (focusing on implications
for the different Majors of the MA).
B. Introductory Courses (7.5 ECTS)
principal aim of the Introductory Courses is to provide theoretical and
mainly disciplinary-focused foundations for the more policy-oriented
Majors. There are three types of Introductory Courses: more advanced
disciplinary courses for students with prior formation in the
discipline, more basic courses which introduce students to a discipline
in which they have no or weak prior training, and basic theoretical
courses in fields with no clear disciplinary boundaries, but
nonetheless related to a well-defined body of theoretical concepts and
analysis. Students are required to complete 7.5 ECTS of Introductory
Courses, made up of two courses of 3.75 ECTS.
C. Research Methodology Courses (7.5 ECTS)
Research Methodology Courses aim to enhance skills needed to analyse,
interpret and undertake research. Three integrated packages of Research
Methodology courses will be on offer, ranging from one strongly
quantitative, to intermediate (qualitative/quantitative) and more
strongly quantitative. All packages have a mixture of methodology and
methods, to be able to place the methods in their proper context,
though the emphasis on each may differ between courses.
D. Majors (22.5 ECTS)
Major course, the specialisation chosen by the student, is a linked
series of modules which together constitute a coherent whole and an
opportunity to specialise by studying an area in depth. In general, the
Major is the core of the MA since, in addition to requiring 22.5 ECTS
of study, the Research Paper must be written within the area of the
Major. This ensures that students deepen their knowledge in a
particular area of specialisation. The learning objectives of each
Major state the specific scientific and professional demands which the
Major makes. They also indicate which theories and skills students
should know or master. The components of a Major are related, mutually
supportive and cumulative, leading to deepening insights and a higher
level of understanding.
E. Options (15 ECTS)
Option can either further deepen the study of an element of a Major or
focus on a topic not exclusively related to the field of study in which
a Major is situated. Both types of Options are supported by research
recently conducted by those offering the Option. Students may freely
choose to take Options, including Major modules of other
specialisations, provided that they satisfy any admission requirements.
They are not obliged to take Options within the field of study of their
Major. Each Option is 7.5 ECTS and students must take 15 ECTS in total.
Some combinations of two options, which constitute together an
overarching theme, are also offered as a Minor.
F. Research Paper (28 ECTS)
learning objectives of the Research Paper are that the student
demonstrate the capability to: formulate a research problem clearly;
choose an adequate method to research such a problem; apply that method
adequately; master the skill of finding data and/or theoretical
perspectives relevant to the intended research; draw a clearly stated
conclusion from that research; and support that conclusion with a
systematically presented report containing a logical argument based on
sufficient empirical and/or theoretical evidence.
English language requirements: The ISS does not require a language certificate from native English-speakers. Inhabitants from the following countries are considered native speakers: Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia, New Sealand, India, Philippines, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenia, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and inhabitants from the English-speaking part of Cameroon, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
All other candidates must provide a certificate from one of the following bodies:
TOEFL: For MA applicants, the minimum acceptable score is 550 on the TOEFL and 4.5 on the TWE. For those taking the computer-based TOEFL test, the minimum acceptable score is 213, with an Essay Rating of at least 4.5.
Important: If you inform TOEFL that the ISS Institution Code is 9714 and the Department Code is 01, they will send information directly to the ISS.
British Council: For MA applicants, the minimum acceptable score is 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.0 for writing.
September 2006 - December 2007
Tuition fee: € 8,000 Registration fee: € 115
Students should apply to the Netherlands Fellowship Programme
Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
+31 (0)70 426 0460
ISS is a unique – independent and international – graduate school in the social sciences. It is one of the oldest and largest centres for the comparative study and research of social, political and economic development and change. ISS offers quality learning to its students, all young and mid-career professionals, and critical social science knowledge to its scientific peers, and stimulates debate with the general public, through an organisation that strives for ‘total quality care’.
The courses - all taught in English - provide knowledge and insights in a number of fields including development economics, sociology, politics, public policy and management, governance, gender, employment, population, social security, children and youth, and human rights.
The Institute offers a four-year PhD programme, a 15.5-month MA in Development Studies with various specialisations, postgraduate diploma programmes and tailor-made short courses. All degrees are recognised internationally and by Dutch legislation on higher education.
Over the past 50 years, around 10,000 students from more than 160 countries have studied at ISS. Many now hold leading positions in government, international organisations, higher education, planning agencies and non-governmental organisations.
The staff is drawn from around thirty countries from all over the world. The multicultural community at ISS offers an excellent learning environment both inside and outside the classroom, in which students can gain from each others’ diverse experience.
The ISS participates with other academic institutes in the Netherlands, including the University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University and Wageningen University, in the CERES Research School (Centre for Resource Studies for Development). During their stay PhD students participate in the School’s activities, which include special courses and workshops. This gives them an opportunity to interact with PhD students from other universities in the Netherlands.
ISS is situated in the centre of The Hague, the city of peace and justice. The Hague is home to over 150 organisations like the Permanent Court of International Justice, the Peace Palace Library and Europol. From the Hague it takes a few hours to travel to European cities like Brussels, Paris or London. The ISS guarantees accommodation for all students. The ISS possesses of its own housing close to the institution’s premises and in other parts of The Hague. The ISS has its own library which focuses on the social sciences with a predominant focus on developing countries. The institute has a permanent broad band connection to the internet and students get their own email account.