Our Aims and Objectives

We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

Find Out More

What is Development Studies

What is development studies and decolonising development.

Find Out More

Our Members

We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

Find Out More


Find out about our constitution, how we are run and meet our Council

Find Out More


Meet our Council members and other staff who support the running of DSA

Find Out More


The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

Find Out More


Our conference this year is themed "Social justice and development in a polarising world"

Find Out More

Past Conferences

Find out about our previous conferences

Find Out More

Study Groups

Our Study Groups offer a chance to connect with others who share your areas of interest

Find Out More

Students and ECRs

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

Find Out More


Our book series with OUP and our relationship with other publishers

Find Out More

North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

Find Out More

Membership Directory

Find out who our members are, where they are based and the issues they work on

Find Out More

Students and early career researchers

The DSA is committed to supporting the development of students and early career researchers


Why study development?

  • Why does economic growth so often bring greater inequality?
  • Can standards of living improve without costing the earth?
  • What will happen to jobs in the digital revolution?
  • How does race, gender, age, ethnicity or sexual identity make a difference to the impact of policies or programmes?
  • Why is authoritarian nationalism on the rise, and what can be done about it?
  • How should international migration be managed?

If these are the kinds of questions that interest you, then development studies might be the subject for you.

You can study at both undergraduate and masters level. Alongside straight development studies, you will find a wide range of specialisms, such as media, conflict, sustainability, economics, education, management, social justice, global health or climate change.

Jobs in international development span NGOs and charity organisations, social enterprises, international companies, local and national government, aid agencies, policy think tanks, United Nations organisations, global and regional development banks, and regional bodies like the European Union or the Economic Community of West African States.

Search our institutional members’ page for more ideas of development studies courses available in the UK


How we support students and early career researchers

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community. To support this new generation of development scholars, we:

  • offer membership to students at an accessible price so that they can benefit from DSA networking and development opportunities
  • offer an annual Masters Dissertation Prize
  • offer an annual PhD thesis prize
  • include a PhD Masterclass at our annual conference
  • holding a drop-in session for students at our annual conference to help them find out more about DSA
  • encourage a focus on early career researchers at DSA events

We have two student representatives on Council, and our student members are very welcome to contact them with any suggestions or concerns.

At the 2022 virtual DSA conference we held two sessions on getting published, one focused on journals and one on books, aimed primarily at PhD students and Early Career Researchers. You can view the recordings of these sessions here. 


The DSA Masters Dissertation Prize

Since 2015, the DSA has awarded an annual dissertation prize to Masters’ students working in the field of international development, development studies and development economics. This annual prize is awarded to the best masters’ level dissertation in these fields of study.

Nominations by Development Studies and Economics Departments in the UK are accepted during the autumn months. Departments are invited to submit one MA or MSc dissertation each for consideration. We ask all the Heads of Centres of DSA affiliated institutions in the UK to nominate the highest scoring masters’ dissertation (MA or MSc) awarded on their “international development” or related subject programmes. We are happy to accept nominations of extended essays but these needed to be of exceptional quality to win when compared to longer dissertations. Nominations are evaluated by an academic panel from the DSA. Decisions are given by February in the following calendar year, when the winner and their department are notified.

Winners receive a cash prize and free attendance to the DSA Annual Conference, where they are also invited to present their research.

2024 Winners

The 2024 winner of the Masters Dissertation prize is Ana Palma Garcia, who studied at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) for their dissertation on ‘Co-constructing notions of inclusion with deaf women in Colombia throughout cooperative inquiry‘. Mengjun Huang from ODID, at the University of Oxford was highly commended for their dissertation entitled Pursuing ‘freedom’ in Beijing’s urban waste economy: desire, becoming, and loss of rural migrant waste workers in China.”

Find out about previous award winners.


The DSA PhD Thesis Prize

In 2022, the DSA unveiled a new thesis prize for PhD students working in the field of international development, development studies and development economics. This is an annual prize awarded to the best PhD thesis in these fields of studies from across current DSA Institutional Members.

All Development Studies and Economics departments in the UK that are Institutional Members of the DSA are invited to submit one PhD thesis, each, for consideration. Heads of Centres can nominate the highest scoring/ most promising PhD thesis the field of international development, or related subject, by a student who graduated* from their department the previous year. Only PhDs by monograph or papers are eligible for consideration, not PhDs by publications or professional doctorates.

The call for nominations is open from January to March. Nominations are evaluated by an academic panel from the DSA and decisions made by May. The winner, those highly commended, and their departments are notified shortly after and the winner and highly commended and their departments notified.

Winners receive a cash prize and are invited to present their research at the DSA annual conference.

2024 winner:

Francesca Chiu, from the School of Global Development at the University of East Anglia, for her thesis on “Transforming the Outskirts – Planning, Property and People in Urban Myanmar.”

2024 Highly Commended: Anna Colom Miras, from the Development Policy and Practice department at the Open University for her thesis entitled “Citizenship capabilities and instant messaging in Western Kenya: an intersectional approach

Find out about previous award winners.

Please note * The point at which a graduate is officially allowed to call themselves ‘Doctor’.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash