International Programmes 2023/2024

Development Studies Development Studies

University of Bayreuth • Bayreuth

Master of Arts (MA)
Teaching language
  • English

Courses are held in English and German. Participants can choose to write their Master's theses in either language.

Classes in German enlarge the students' choices, but these classes are not required.

Programme duration
4 semesters
Winter semester
Application deadline

1 March to 15 July (winter semester)

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

Understanding development processes in times of global change
Processes of development, change, and globalisation in Latin America, Asia, and Africa are playing an increasingly important global role in this day and age. The interdisciplinary Master's programme "Development Studies" addresses the causes, conditions, and consequences of such processes. Here you have the chance to look at "development" from different perspectives, to link methodological and theoretical approaches, and to detect connections between social, political, and spatial conditions. Development Studies is a bilingual programme (in German and English) with an English track that can be completed as a full-time or part-time student.

Master complexity through interdisciplinarity
This interdisciplinary Master's programme provides a scientifically grounded yet practice-oriented approach to the chances, challenges, and contradictions in current development processes. The programme combines courses in development sociology and politics, geography, and economics. The University of Bayreuth's research focus on Africa and its comprehensive research on the Global South give you access to extensive expertise. You will benefit from the close integration of the departments involved, while having the freedom to choose your own area of focus to be pursued in development sociology or politics, geography, or economics.

The core disciplines Development Sociology / Politics, Economics and Geography provide the following disciplinary competencies:
Development Sociology / Political Science:

  • Theoretical and methodological approaches from development sociology and development theories and their competing epistemologies
  • Critical reflection of current approaches, measures, methods and tendencies of theory and practice in development politics and the critique of the term development
  • Relevant actors, their actions and interactions within the practice of development politics
  • Political and social structures and processes concerning selected states or topics


  • Development issues and geographical knowledge of specific regions
  • Spatial dimensions of processes in development politics
  • Methods, concepts, programmes, and institutions in the field of development cooperation
  • Regional economic structures and development concepts (spatial economy approach, relational concept, regulation theory, evolutionary economic geography)
  • Approaches to urban and regional planning
  • Theories of space, society and development including different epistemological approaches
  • Intensification of methodological qualifications concerning questions of human geography


  • Theoretical debates in political economy, debates in development politics from an economic perspective
  • Knowledge about conditions of sustainable development processes from a political and economic perspective
  • Economic and ethical foundations and debates on corporate governance
Course organisation

Teaching and learning content will be paradigmatically deepened on the basis of regional foci. Africa is the main research area for Geography and Development Sociology / Politics. The study of Africa is moreover complemented by systematically comparative analyses of other regions. Owing to the programme's multi- and interdisciplinary perspective, graduates are particularly qualified for the professional field of development cooperation, as certain skills that involve the expertise of different disciplines and the ability to communicate across disciplinary borders are integrated into a single Master's programme.

A "project-focussed unit" takes a crucial role within the programme. Students can either do an internship or carry out a study project or field research, both of which are guided. The project-focussed units merge theoretical knowledge and concrete empirical or professional work. Moreover, students have the opportunity within the project-focussed units to critically examine current processes of development and change in a chosen region, the field development practice or development politics. Besides the scientific-methodological content, the active participation in planning and organising the project offers important experience and skills that are necessary for employment in the scientific community as well as in other demanding professional fields.

The study modules include courses with a fixed content and seminars with variable specific topics. Further information, including a sample curriculum, can be found in the module handbook on the website. In general, the programme combines the following four building blocks:

1) Transdisciplinary Foundations (45 ECTS)

  • Development Studies between Concepts and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • Regional Geography: Africa / Asia / Latin America
  • Geographies of Environment and Development
  • Development Theories
  • Social and Political Processes in Africa and Beyond
  • Economics, Governance, and Development
  • Macroeconomics
  • Development Anthropology

2) Elective Courses from one of three Individual Focus Areas
a) Advanced Development Sociology/Politics

  • Actors in Development Politics
  • Development Policies: Selected Issues
  • Social and Political Processes in Africa and Beyond
  • Deepening or Catching Up: Technical or methodological in-depth knowledge within development sociology or policy

b) Advanced Geography

  • Socio-Economic Development Processes
  • Development Cooperation/Development Planning
  • Attendance at a Conference of Experts
  • Political Ecology of Global Environmental Change

c) Advanced International Economy

  • Economic Progress and Institutional Change
  • Corporate Governance: Theoretical Aspects of Corporate Governance
  • Topics in Economics and Governance
  • Development Economics

3) Project-Focussed Unit (as described above)

4) Master's Thesis

International elements

Double degree option with the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne if the individual focus is in geography

Description of other international elements

Double degree option with the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne if the individual focus is in geography

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Semester contribution

In Germany, students at all higher education institutions pay a semester contribution. This payment (University of Bayreuth: 142.85 EUR per semester) has nothing to do with tuition fees; rather, it covers your contributions to student services and the student government. At the University of Bayreuth (which combines the campus in Bayreuth and our Faculty VII located in Kulmbach), it includes a "semester ticket" that allows you to use public transport in the region.

Costs of living

The cost of living in Germany, e.g. accommodation, food, clothing and recreational activities, is about average compared to other European countries. Living expenses are significantly lower than in countries like Denmark, Luxembourg or Switzerland, but they are rather high compared to countries like Poland, the Czech Republic or Italy. Compared to other large German cities, such as Munich, Berlin or Hamburg, Bayreuth's low cost of living and affordable housing make the city and the region particularly attractive to young people and families. The DAAD website will tell you what living expenses to expect in Germany:

Funding opportunities within the university
Description of the above-mentioned funding opportunities within the university

Scholarships for international students: International students and doctoral researchers have the opportunity to apply to the International Office for a study grant. Limited funding from the State of Bavaria and the DAAD is available for this purpose. The application deadline for the winter semester is 31 August and for the summer semester 28 February. All grants can be awarded for up to two semesters.

Unfortunately, first-semester students cannot be funded, i.e. applications cannot be submitted until the second semester of study for funding starting in the third semester of study. Above all, academic achievements from the previous semester are decisive for the evaluation of the application.

Academic admission requirements

Admission requirements

  • A Bachelor's degree from the University of Bayreuth in Applied African Studies, African Culture & Society, International Economics & Development, African Development Studies in Geography, Philosophy & Economics, or Geography (final grade "2.5" or better), or an equivalent degree awarded by another university
  • At least four weeks of practical experience abroad dealing with development

Application for admission

Start of the programme

  • Each winter semester (October)
Language requirements

Currently, candidates must provide proof of language proficiency in English and German at the following levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages:

  • English: C1
  • German: Applicants who do not hold a university degree for a programme conducted in German will be asked to prove language skills at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference by the end of the first year of studies.

Please check the website for updates of the language requirements, as they may be subject to changes.

Application deadline

1 March to 15 July (winter semester)

Submit application to

Applications are to be submitted online. Please check the programme website.

Possibility of finding part-time employment

There are many ways for international students to earn money while they study, but there are some restrictions. For more detailed information, please visit the DAAD website.

The University of Bayreuth’s Career Services team provides a central interface between student and professional life. The team offers guidance and support to students of all subjects with regard to starting their careers.

For information regarding the Corona virus, please visit our website and also see


Accommodation for students
Bayreuth and Kulmbach have a number of student dormitories (both private dormitories and dormitories offered by the Association for Student Affairs) and a vast array of private rooms available. Under no circumstances should you assume that you will be assigned a room in the student dormitories! You will need to actively search for a room on your own – either in a private dormitory or on the private market.

More information regarding accommodation for students is available here: Please also read the DAAD’s information.

Accommodation for international guests
All other international guests are requested to register via the Welcome Services Database (WelSe).

Accommodation for short visits
For short visits, we recommend searching for accommodation on Airbnb. In addition, a limited number of apartments are available in the Alexander von Humboldt Guest House.

Support for international students and doctoral candidates
  • Buddy programme

University of Bayreuth

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The University of Bayreuth is one of the most successful young universities in Germany. © University of Bayreuth

International, innovative, and interdisciplinary in research and teaching

Top-notch research, state-of-the-art teaching methods, international influences, diversity, and a springboard to a successful career – these are all things the University of Bayreuth stands for.

The University of Bayreuth is a dynamic campus university with currently about 13,000 students. Beyond the interdisciplinary research focus and excellence in teaching, the university has a clear vision of social responsibility and entrepreneurship. In the middle of Kulmbach, our new satellite campus unites the perspectives of natural science, economics, law, social sciences, and behavioural science in one place in a way that has not yet been seen in Germany.

We have a close network of strategically selected, international research partners, and we have strategic partnerships with universities around the globe. A wide range of innovative BA, MA and PhD programmes as well as our international summer schools are conducted in English. There are presently around 1,770 international students from more than 100 countries on the Bayreuth and Kulmbach campuses. Focus areas in research include Nonlinear Dynamics, Polymer and Colloid Science, Molecular Biosciences, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, New Materials, African Studies, High Pressure and High Temperature Research, Cultural Encounters and Transcultural Processes, Innovation and Consumer Protection, Food and Health Sciences, Energy Research and Energy Technology, Governance and Responsibility.

Our university has an outstanding staff-to-student ratio. Our high performance levels, multidisciplinary collaborations and scientific excellence result in high-ranking positions. In the 2021 THE ranking of “475 under 50”, the University of Bayreuth once again achieved a top position among the best universities in Germany. We have proven expertise in campus and curriculum internationalisation, which is confirmed by the results of the extended internationalisation audit conducted by the German Rectors’ Conference, a close and successful project cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a number of Alexander von Humboldt Awards for our international management and service.

Welcome to our one-of-a-kind campus in Bavaria!
It is both the heart of our university and a source of inspiration. It is where friendships are made, collaboration is initiated, and ideas are conceived, ensuring that our university remains a beacon of innovation. Scientific exchange profits tremendously from the wide variety of disciplines our communicative campus brings together.

Be sure that there is a comprehensive and high-quality range of courses in all degree programmes that will enable students to successfully begin and continue their studies – on campus or online.

University location

Welcome to Bavaria!
Seventy-six thousand people from 145 nations chose the city of Bayreuth as their new home, and those numbers are steadily rising. Because of its 13,000 students, Bayreuth is the third-youngest city in Germany. Living here means not getting stuck in traffic jams every morning. The short distances in Bayreuth allow you to leave your car at home and to walk or ride your bike to work and to campus.

Career & Networking
The Welcome Service at the University of Bayreuth is here to assist you with any questions regarding living and working in the region of Bayreuth. The team of our International Office provides guidance and support for all international students, scholars, and their families before, during and after their stay at the University of Bayreuth. The aim is to ensure a quick, trouble-free and thus successful start as well as an unforgettable stay on our friendly campus in Bayreuth and Kulmbach.

A good climate for your entrepreneurial spirit
The University of Bayreuth takes its role as a regional motor of innovation very seriously. The Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation was set up to help students gain the necessary qualifications in the area of entrepreneurial and innovative thinking and acting. In doing so, we nurture our students’ willingness and ability to start their own companies. Our Adviser for Start-Ups provides start-ups and prospective start-ups with confidential guidance and support. Strong innovation and research institutions combined with high-performance medium-sized companies make for a steady rise in workforce and a guarantee for job security.

Your new home away from home
Bayreuth and Kulmbach offer a fast variety of childcare services as well as affordable living space. Step outside your front door and enjoy the recreational activities. Scenic northern Bavaria is great for sports activities: cycling, hiking, mountain-climbing, canoeing, rafting, and skiing are all excellent ways to enrich your leisure time. However, if you do happen to crave the feel of a bigger city now and then, Nuremberg is only a one-hour train ride away and Munich is only two-and-a-half hours away. You can reach Berlin in four hours by car or bus and Leipzig in half that time.

Have a great start. We look forward to meeting you!

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