Master of Arts International Social Sciences (Development Studies)

The M.A. in International Social Sciences (Development Studies) has a specific focus on development studies and issues around global justice. Students learn about relevant theories as well as the practical realities of the development/aid industry.
Everyone is required to do an internship and can specialize their interest through relevant electives on topics such as migration, social security, sustainability and gender.

The M.A. prepares thoroughly for an academic career in development through its emphasis on project planning courses and a focus on disaster management and a critical lens on global power relations and postcolonial perspective. Being highly cosmopolitan with students from all over the world, its specific worth lies in the opportunity to assess international issues through a literally global perspective stemming from the diversity of the student body.

Application period  for full-time studies

Intakes only in winter term:

Applicants who need visa:
December 1 to March 31

Applicants who do not need visa:
April 1 to August 31

term dates:

winter term: 01. October - 28. February

summer term: 01 March - 30. September

Length of the program

Full-time studies: 2 years / 4 semesters (incl. a practical training session of 8 weeks)

Study options

Full-time studies


Master of Arts in International Social Sciences (Development Studies)
(120 credits)




ADRA Scholarship Details

Friedensau Scholarship Details


Financial Bulletin

Flyer International Social Sciences

Flyer – full-time

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Icon PlusContents

  • Theories of Development
  • Critical Reflection on Development Cooperation
  • Sustainability, De-Growth and Resource Politics
  • Development Economics
  • Social Protection and Poverty Analysis
  • Public Health in Developing Countries
  • Peace and Conflict Research
  • Religion and Development
  • Migration and Development
  • Project Planning
  • Disaster Response and Humanitarian Aid
  • Public Health
  • Internship in the Field of Development Cooperation or Humanitarian Aid
  • Methods of Empirical Research
  • Advanced Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
  • Research Oriented Master Thesis

Icon PlusStructure

The standard period of study is 4 semesters. It can be extended by up to 2 semesters upon application.
The programme has a modular structure. A module consists of several courses which are grouped in a thematic block. The modules generally take up one semester or one year of study. The certificates of achievement from the individual units are the basis for the module grade, which is awarded as an overall grade. Credits are assigned to the successfully completed modules according to the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). The modules and their performance grades are thus recognized throughout Europe, making it easier to change one’s place of study. Transfer to an overseas institution is also possible.


Academic Entry Requirements for MA ISS:

  • For admission, the completion of a degree program at a university or an academically recognized college or university of applied sciences or an equivalent degree in social sciences or humanities is required and proven by a Bachelor degree, a Master degree, a Diploma, a State Examination or a Doctorate. A final grade (certificate grade) of at least 2.5 is required.

Language requirements

  • All applicants must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a result of at least 550 (PBT = paper-based test) or 79 (IBT = internet-based test) points or a comparable performance in another test, such as the IELTS (6.0) or the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (FCE).
  • Applicants who received their B.A. degree in an English-language program are exempt These applicants submit a certificate from the university indicating that the medium of instruction at the university is English.


Application Process (students who do not need visa, omit visa information):

  1. Submit the fully completed application package before the indicated deadline. Follow the button "INFORMATION ABOUT ADMISSION" below to start your online application process.
  2. The submitted application will be discussed at the academic admission and  financial committees respectively (within 1 week to 1 month). The decision of acceptance will be made under consideration of the enrolment capacity and a completed financial
  3. The admission committees’ decision will be communicated to the applicant by the admissions office within 1 week.
  4. Selected applicants will be asked to transfer the down payment and deposit (see below for the fees) to the University within 2-3 weeks after the admission decision is communicated.
  5. Upon the receipt of the down payment and deposit, the admissions office prepares and sends to the prospective student, documents for the embassy (may take up to 1 month).
  6. The applicant applies for a student visa (please check in advance how much time you need in order to receive an appointment at the respective embassy. The visa application normally takes 6-8 weeks.)
  7. Upon the receipt of the visa, the admissions office should be notified and informed about the flight schedule taking into consideration the appointment for the pickup service.
  8. The admissions office offers 1 or 2 appointments for a pickup service of the prospective students from the airports  in Berlin to FAU, normally on Friday or Sunday/Monday depending on the number of the prospective students.  The dates for a pickup service will be communicated after the visa is received.
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… on study programs
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… or general?

If you want to register firmly for a study course, please send the signed application form to Ulrike Schultz, Prof. Dr. rer. pol., Head of study program ISS (Development Studies).

Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Ulrike Schultz

Telefon: +49 (0) 3921 916-193

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The Internship is an important phase for the M.A. International Social Sciences (Development Studies) students, in which they combine their theoretical academic knowledge with practical experiences. During internships, students begin to develop and modify their skills required for the degree. Moreover, they get an overall perspective of their future course of action and goals.

Internship Information and Forms

The institute where I did my internship is the ‘Regional Institute of Gender, Diversity, Peace and Rights’ (RIG/DPR), which is part of Ahfad University for Women in Sudan. The students I interacted with were brilliant and interesting women, having the same kind, welcoming spirit of the people I met during my time in Khartoum.
– Arlyn Avilés

During my internship at the Community Health and Development organization (CHAD) in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, I performed tasks such as preparing lesson plans and conducting awareness trainings, recording data for the annual and quarterly plans, attended meetings and workshops with UNICEF, visited camps for internally displaced persons.
– Dawn Lu San

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