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Admission and language requirements

Admission requirements for the Advanced Master in Development Studies

You are eligible to apply if you:

  • hold a Master degree or five years bachelor degree in Development Studies or a related discipline1 and obtained good study results. Applicants with a 4-year Bachelor are not automatically excluded but need to demonstrate equivalence to a Master degree on the basis of the Bachelor’s curriculum that includes several research-oriented courses and assignments; successful attendance of relevant academic courses/trainings and/or highly relevant professional experience2. Holders of a University degree under the European Bologna system must hold a Master degree;
  • have a good command of English, certified by an official language test;
  • show a proven interest in development issues (for ex. relevant professional experience, internship, field research, volunteering experience);
  • submit a complete and timely application: see application procedure below.
  • VLIR-UOS scholarship applicants need to meet additional requirements: see VLIR-UOS scholarship below

1 Related disciplines are Economics, Economic Planning, Political Sciences, Administrative Sciences, International Relations, Public Administration, Sociology.

Acceptable fields of study are for ex. Business Economics, Geography, Anthropology, Demography, Statistics and Sustainable Development but these fields of study require other assets in the application (for ex. relevant professional experience, outstanding study results, ...).

* Applicants with a background in Law, History, Community Development, Communication Sciences, Languages, Civil or Agricultural Engineering, Statistics need additional training in methodological subjects and relevant professional experience.

* Fields of study that are not accepted are for example: dentist, pharmacist, Germanic languages, chemistry, nursing, theology, botany, librarian, philosophy, exact mathematics.

Applicants with only a Bachelor’s degree of three years of study will not be admitted to the Advanced Master programmes. Several Bachelor’s degrees of three years are not equivalent to a Master degree. Certificates from continuing education courses (for example Postgraduate diploma) are not equivalent to a Master degree.

2An overview of relevant professional experience can be found here: Advanced Master of Globalisation and Development / Advanced Master of Development Evaluation and Management / Advanced Master of Governance and Development.

Language requirements

Applicants need to be proficient in English, the language of instruction for all our programmes:

  • If English is not your language of instruction at University level; a language test certificate is required.
  • If English is your language of instruction at University level but you are originating from Rwanda, the French-speaking part of Cameroon or from an Asian country except for India and the Philippines; a language test certificate is required. In case of unavailability of this test or in case of inability to take the test, you can be admitted to the Master programme provided you attend the intensive English language course (see below).
  • You are exempted from submitting a language test certificate if you are originating from one of the following countries: Australia, Botswana, Canada, Cameroon (English-speaking region), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Accepted language tests:

  • TOEFL: minimum score of 550 for the paper-based test or 79 for the internet-based test
  • IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 and a minimum score of 6.0 on each component)
  • The IOB does not accept the TOEFL ITP.
  • Applicants from other language backgrounds who do not meet the English language admission criteria for direct admission, i.e. students with paper-based TOEFL scores between 500 and 550 (or internet-based TOEFL scores between 61 and 79) or IELTS scores between 5.5 and 6.0, can be admitted provided they attend the intensive English language course prior to the start of the programme (see below).
  • Language score reports will be checked on their authenticity and genuineness.

Intensive English language course

The intensive two-week English language course is organised prior to the start of the Master programme. In addition to bringing the student’s English competency up to the required level, this course also offers an introduction to international development literature and practice.

This language course is accessible for students from other language backgrounds who do not meet the English language admission criteria for direct admission, i.e. students with paper-based TOEFL scores between 500 and 550 (or internet-based TOEFL scores between 61 and 79) or IELTS scores between 5.5 and 6.0. The course can be attended on a voluntarily basis if permission is granted by the IOB.

Although the course is offered free of charge by the Institute, students should note that only VLIR-UOS scholars will receive an allowance during this period.