Development Studies

As a person working in the field of development studies, you will engage in research and analysis on the various aspects and challenges related to public policies and development.

What do they do?

They conduct research on development plans and challenges, prepare and coordinate policies, and analyse and solve complex development related issues.

What does a typical day at work involve?

  • Checked Engage in academic research on how the process of development affects different sections of the society
  • Checked Conduct meetings and surveys to know the development issues in a community
  • Checked Develop programs for communities covering multiple areas like infrastructure development, health, agriculture, livelihood improvement etc
  • Checked Derive conclusions and solutions to mitigate developmental issues
  • Checked Design and control projects and activities
  • Checked Visit the field and evaluate the progress of the projects
  • Checked Budgeting and rising fund from the stakeholders which include government, corporates, individuals and international organizations

What are the different specialisations in development studies?

Public policy is a specialisation in development studies which deals with the guidelines for the state administration regarding its various policies
Sustainable development is a discipline which focuses on human development by making use of natural resources and the ecosystem in such a way that the damage caused to the nature is minimised.
The discipline focuses on the measures to improve the quality of life for the marginalized and underprivileged sections of the society by providing them unhindered access to health care and proper livelihood opportunities.

How to become a graduate in development science?

Step 1
Take any stream in 10+2

Taking any stream at the 10+2 level would be a sufficient qualification for doing higher studies in this field. But taking a humanities stream would be recommended as it might help to understand the basics of development studies at an early stage itself.

Step 2
Take any Bachelor's Degree

BA Development Studies is not a common UG course in India. Candidates who wish to pursue higher studies in development studies can do a bachelor's degree in any field (with a minimum duration of 3 years) and then go for this specific specialisation at the PG level. Doing an undergraduate degree in a Social Science and Humanities subject (preferably economics) will provide an added advantage as this will help build a stronger base in the subject.

Note :Integrated MA Developmental Studies at IIT-M

IIT Madras offers a 5 year integrated program in Developmental Studies. Students are selected through the Humanities and Social Sciences Entrance Examination (HSEE) conducted by IIT Madras every year in the month of May. Minimum educational qualification for this program is 60% marks (General Category) in 10+2 or equivalent examination.

Step 3
Take MA Development Studies

MA Development studies is a 2 year post graduate program. Candidates with a bachelor's degree, irrespective of their specialisation, would be eligible for admission.

Step 4
Take MPhil/PhD

A master’s degree in social sciences is usually the minimum requirement to register for MPhil and PhD research degrees in the field of development studies. The eligibility criteria would depend on the specific institute and post graduation in related fields might also suffice in some cases.

Development Studies Colleges

Name State District Type Website Course

Requirements for masters (MA) in development studies

Requirements for admission into a PG course in one of the top institutions to help you get an overall picture

India (For MA in Development studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

  • Candidates should have successfully completed a bachelor's degree of a minimum of 3 years duration or its equivalent from a recognized university.
  • Computer based National Entrance test (TISS-NET) rank.

Foreign (For Msc Development Studies from London School Of Economics and Political Science)

  • Statement of academic purpose.
  • Two references.
  • IELTS Academic: an overall score of 7 and a score of 6 in writing and 6.5 in listening.
  • TOEFL: a total score of 100.

To see the entrance exams, scholarships and UG admission details, click here

Skills Required

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

People working in this field have to effectively communicate with people coming from different sections of the society and with different cognitive capabilities as part of their work.


A person working in this field might have to lead groups of various compositions and they will be required to direct their team towards pre-set goals.

Problem solving and analytical skills

An essential skill required in this field as people working in this field will have to analyse situations, reports and then provide solutions to complex problems.

Strategic thinking and planning abilities

Handling complex and multifaceted problems and finding solutions for them will warrant an ability to think strategically and plan properly.

Time management

People working in this field must be able to plan tasks and make sure efficiency is maintained in its completion. Thus management of time is highly important.


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