Picture of women in canoe in Vietnam taken by UCD Geography student on field trip there
MSc in Development and the Global South

Development and the Global South

The Global South is a term used to describe lower and middle-income countries in Asia, Oceania, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and South and Central America. The countries within these regions usually have a history of colonialism by northern, mainly European states. The Global South accounts for over 80% of the world’s population. It represents huge diversity, rapid transformation and commands an ever-increasing role in global affairs. 

Many of these nations are newly industrialised, have experienced impressive economic growth and include some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Yet the Global South is also home to the majority of poor people globally, with growth often accompanied by mounting spatial and socio-economic inequalities, social exclusion, dispossession and environmental degradation.

MSc in Development and the Global South

UCD School of Geography offers a Masters programme in which students gain a critical understanding of the key issues  and theoretical debates in geographies of development in the Global South. The MSc in Development and the Global South provides you with advanced knowledge of key development challenges, potentials and arguments at a range of scales in the Global South. These are informed by local experiences of development, change and sustainability, including debates on decoloniality and social movements. Below is a list of the core and optional modules you can choose from as part of your programme, subject to change:



Geospatial Technology Training

A strong emphasis is placed on developing student skillset in the use of geospatial technology, such as geographical information systems. You will understand their societal application to development-related issues, gain an informed knowledge for practice, planning and policymaking in the Global South. 

UCD Students on a field trip to Vietnam

Field Experience in the Global South

The MSc in development and the Global South offers you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in Brazil or Vietnam. In collaboration with Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro and Hanoi University, as well as development organisations in the regions, you will carry out field-based research as part of your Masters programme.

Career Opportunities

The MSc Development and the Global South is designed to provide students with the key knowledge and practical transferable skillsets that will be a benefit in many careers. Graduates of this programme may progress to careers in:

  • NGOs focused on the Global South
  • International aid, development or humanitarian agencies or organisations
  • Global multilateral agencies such as the United Nations, World Bank, UNICEF and UN-Habitat 
  • Uni- or multinational think-tanks
  • Private-sector research or corporate social responsibility divisions
  • Further research, academic or professional

Find out more about the MSc in Development and the Global South, including entry requirements.

UCD vietnam Research exercise

What Our Past Students Say

The MSc Development and the Global South completely transformed my research and career goals. This program, led by expert members of staff, encourages a wider perspective on development and geographies of the Global South and allows for flexibility in choosing what research interests you. The modules associated with this MSc are engaging and eye-opening as the material is covered that broadens your point of view and encourages you to discuss global concerns. The fieldwork in Vietnam that is associated with this MSc – supported through an Irish Aid project - was a life-changing experience that shaped my future research and drove me to continue into academia by pursuing a PhD. I cannot recommend this program enough.

Laurelle McVicker
PhD student in Geography at the University of Glasgow

Studying geography at UCD provided me with the perfect set of skills in critical thinking; analysis; teamwork; problem-solving and research to underpin my later studies in humanitarian action and in international law and continues to influence how I approach both my career and continued learning. Having a strong sense of how the globalised world works and being cognisant of the geopolitical implications of events is knowledge that I gained in my degree that is vital to the work I do today.

Louise Sarsfield-Collins
International Humanitarian Law Advocacy Officer, Irish Red Cross

Unrivalled Career Preparation and Support

UCD School of Geography is ranked in the top 100 Geography schools in the world. Also, UCD Careers Network is a department dedicated to helping you get the best in your career search.  In addition to hosting a range of careers fairs, workshops and college-specific employment presentations, you can avail of one-to-one consultations with a career professional specialising in your area. All of this is free for UCD students. As of 2020, for the fourth year in a row, University College Dublin is proudly ranked number one in Ireland for graduate employability by QS World University Rankings and 78th in the world.

Got a question about our Geography Masters Programmes? Email geography@ucd.ie