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    I am planning to come to LSE this autumn to do the MSc in Development Studies.

    I have been out "in the field" for the last few years as an aid worker in Bosnia, Iraq, southern Africa and parts of Latin America and am excited to get back into the academic environment.

    I have a few questions:

    1) Is there anyone else on this forum who is studying, will study or knows a little about this course and can give some insight?

    2) What are people´s impressions of the Development Studies Institute and its faculty?

    3) What is the usual background of the students? ie Are they straight out of undergrad or do they usually have a bit of experience?

    4) What are the job prospects like after? What do people usually do after this course? I would like to eventually go on to a career at the UN, Bilateral donors or the World Bank.

    5) I am thinking about continuing with a PhD -- what are the funding possibilities?
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    (Original post by Mateo)
    I have a few questions:
    1) Is there anyone else on this forum who is studying, will study or knows a little about this course and can give some insight?
    Ahh excellent programme at the LSE, very well done for having gotten in, one of the most competitive masters at the school. Basically the degree is a combination of Politics, Economics, History and various other disciplines. You can take any module from within these departments at the LSE, i.e. you've a hell of a lot of choice available - I would start thinking about this now, it can be overwhelming once you're there and you discover that you can study just about anything from across the board. I think there's a core module in development, which provides an introduction - it combines the various disciplines and introduces how each deal with the respective issues; and then you can specialise in whatever your interests are. You will take 2 additional modules (can be full modules or halves) and then from June onwards you will be writing up your MSc dissertation, which has the value of another module, although far greater value if you're interesting in heading for the PhD after the masters - thus in total 4 modules.

    (Original post by Mateo)
    2) What are people´s impressions of the Development Studies Institute and its faculty?
    It's quite simply a collection of scholars from Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Philosophy, History etc., looking specifically at development. Overall, as a field, perhaps it’s more heavily centered around Economics, i.e. on Oxford’s Development MPhil. the one compulsory discipline in which you must take at least the core module is Economics. At the LSE, I think it’s fairly neutral, and that you can take pretty much whatever combination you wish to – although there may be pre-requisites for the more technical modules. If you’re interested in the more technical aspects of say Economics and do not have a sufficient background, you could look into the LSE’s summer school although it is intense and quite expensive, it’s certainly extremely beneficial.

    (Original post by Mateo)
    3) What is the usual background of the students? ie Are they straight out of undergrad or do they usually have a bit of experience?
    There's a variation on any MSc at the LSE. There's a large chunk of people who've only in recent years completed their first degree and are coming onto the masters with very little ‘real world’ experience. However, particularly many of the international students, they tend to come with far greater experience, many have even taken masters degrees in order to even get admission into the LSE. I’m aware that quite a few people at the Development Institute who have had experiences with the UN, IMF, World Bank, the ILO and various other international organisations, many upon completion return to their former organisations, especially as quite a few are being financially sponsored by them.

    As for what the students on the course will most likely have specialised in prior to coming to the LSE, I would say that for a masters as competitive as Development, the LSE are going to go mostly with the ‘safe bet’ social science students. So, I would imagine there to be a mixture of people coming in from Law, Economics, Politics and IR, also a few from the humanities, perhaps a couple of people who’ve specialized in the Engineering/Sciences – you’ll notice them a mile off


    (Original post by Mateo)
    4) What are the job prospects like after? What do people usually do after this course? I would like to eventually go on to a career at the UN, Bilateral donors or the World Bank.
    I think you’ve chosen the right institution for an ‘international career’, quite a few people, especially from Economics, International Relations, Law and Development tend to work for international organisations, whilst many also go into academia. I think that’s why, if you look at the applications per place ratios for each of these courses – they’re sky high, and I believe that’s at least partially because they give you a good deal of choice over the course content you’re able to peruse as well as your career choices thereafter – a very broad array of options available on both counts.

    (Original post by Mateo)
    5) I am thinking about continuing with a PhD -- what are the funding possibilities?
    Incidentally, after your course, although depending on the combination of modules you’ve taken, you can apply for the doctorate in Economics, IR, Development, Management, History, Industrial Relations, Economics, Law or wherever area of research your MSc and prior academic and vocational experiences lead you.

    As for funding, it depends on numerous factors: firstly many of the scholarships are specifically aimed at certain nationalities (i.e. Marshall) or certain Institutions (i.e. Rhodes) and sometimes often certain areas of research. I think there’s an LSE graduate merit award or something, they seem incredibly stingy on that one though, quite a few first class students are rejected without any obvious reasons been given. Aside from that, for Development you could look into what the various international organisations are willing to offer you, again many of their awards tend to be nationality specific – typically, and understandably offering greater financial incentive to those from developing areas. I’m not sure about department specific funding though, you’ll have to look into it, well worth doing so though.

    All the best.
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    one of my friends is doing that MSc.
    she's focusing mainly on economics and JS said pretty much everything there was to be said [as always ].
    she's going into investment banking with citigroup next year.
    edit: as for her background, she came straight out of university but i think she's in a minority.
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    Thanks JS for the extensive information. I appreciate it a lot. I was planning to take modules in peace and conflict, complex emergencies, etc., since this is the area of my experience and interest. Do you know anything about these modules?
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    (Original post by Mateo)
    Thanks JS for the extensive information. I appreciate it a lot. I was planning to take modules in peace and conflict, complex emergencies, etc., since this is the area of my experience and interest. Do you know anything about these modules?
    Don’t know those modules in particular, however LSE modules usually follow a similar pattern. I’ve been looking through the Development course, it’s what I suggested earlier, one compulsory introductory module, a dissertation and then 2 choices.

    You can take these as half units, of full in whichever combination you please. I must give you a slight word of warning though, do not take 4 half units as your entire module selection unless you’re prepared to put in a lot of work. Although, I must also say, if you do take this option, and DO work damn hard, you will gain a lot more from your MSc. It’s important to note, that unlike the US, LSE is not too keen on getting a large chunk of your assessment out of the way during, or immediately after the winter period. It’s quite common, perhaps even the norm for a masters student at the LSE to reach May/June without having undertaken any significant form of assessment – with the possible exception of a handful of course essays. I’m telling you this because if you take a half unit which begins in October and runs till December, your examination for this module is likely to be in June – I think this can make matters rather difficult as the content is not as fresh in one’s mind, this is a difficulty that I have myself encountered, however if you’re willing to put the extra work in, it’s not so difficult to overcome.

    Btw must also emphasise, DO NOT leave your dissertation to the last minute, I saw quite a few of my friends do just that. Always bear in mind that the standard expected of you for your MSc thesis is very high, so leave a good deal of time towards the end to reach such a level of attainment.
 
 
 
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