Master's Programme in Development Geography

  • Years2 years
  • Intake10
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Study startAutumn
  • ECTS credits120
  • Tuition feeNone



How can Himalayan farmers adapt to climate change? How should African fisheries be governed to ensure access to nutritious fish on the plates of the poor? Are Latin American cities prepared for green transitions? The Master Programme in Development Geography equips students with theoretical tools and methodological training to enquire into multiple research questions related to global development.

The Degree

The master's programme leads to the degree Master of Philosophy in Development Geography. It is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits).

Objectives and content

The aim of the programme is to provide the candidates with theoretical and methodological skills enabling them to qualify for a Master's Degree. The topics are related to issues of relevance for the study of livelihoods and environmental problems in the global South. The courses aim at introducing the candidates to contemporary scientific discourses on human-nature relations and development, and provide them with analytical skills and critical thinking. The thesis is normally based on data produced though fieldwork in the global South.

Programme profile

The topics are related to issues of relevance for the study of processes affecting urban and rural livelihoods and wellbeing, and environmental problems in the global South.


The methods to be applied will depend on the topic you choose, and will often imply combinations of qualitative and quantitative methods. The programme includes a course in methods in social science.

What you Learn

Required Learning Outcomes

A candidate who has completed his or her programme should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The candidate

  • can analyse and present advanced knowledge in geographical research in Development Geography in relation to themes such as development and migration, human ecology, political ecology, environmental discourses and institutions in developing countries
  • can analyse geographical issues on the basis of history of geographical thought and theory of science
  • can apply contemporary theories, methods and interpretations in development geography, and work independently and in teams with practical and theoretical problem solving


The candidate

  • can establish and develop professional relationships with relevant actors in society
  • can choose and delimit a researchable theme for a Master´s thesis and develop a research problem which can be carried out within the time limits and resources available for the study
  • can select and evaluate relevant methods for collection of empirical data, and give an epistemological account of the methodological choices.
  • can delimit, plan and carry out collection of empirical data through various forms of field work
  • can search systematically in libraries, scientific and other data bases and interpret and evaluate data and literature critically
  • can discuss and analyse different sources of information critically, analyse empirical data and present geographical arguments and analyses
  • can write a research report within given time and resource limits, apply geographical terminology and good academic writing, with exact, updated and systematic use of references, with due credit to secondary sources

General competence

The candidate

  • has the ability to carry out field work and treat data in accordance with good ethical norms and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) practice.
  • has the ability to disseminate research results as publications, articles in media and oral presentations.
  • has the ability to present research findings as academic writing, in public media and in oral form

Programme structure

Programme structure

The programme covers two academic years (four semesters), and starts in the autumn. In the first semester, you are required to complete a writing workshop and develop a project proposal. In addition you complete a course on theory of science and a research design for geographers, and finally, one elective thematic course. In the second semester you will complete one methodological course, write a term paper and take a thematic course. In the third and fourth semester you concentrate on the practical/theoretical master's thesis in geography.

Master's programme in Development Geography (krav 120 SP)
Mandatory courses (krav 60 SP)
Mandatory course
Course codeCourse titleSPSR
GEO310Writing Course and Project Description101–41
GEO308Theory of Science and Research Design for Geographers101–41
GEO326Geographical Perspectives on Food101–41
GEO306Methods in Human Geography101–42
GEO309Term Paper101–42
GEO337Critical Perspectives on Environment and Development101–42
Thesis (krav 60 SP)
Mandatory course
Course codeCourse titleSPSR
GEO350Master's Thesis in Geography601–43
Project proposal
Project proposal, master
Plan for finishing the master's project
Plan for finishing the master's project
Guidance Agreement, Master's Programme in Development Geography
SP = ECTS credits, S = Semester, R = Recommended semester

Study Period Abroad

Study period abroad

The field work is normally conducted in South.

How to Apply

Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to the program, the applicant must normally have obtained a Bachelor degree of 3-4 years' duration, or have an equivalent educational background. The degree must include at at least 1,5 years of full time studies in Geography.

Non-native English speakers must document their English language proficiency in order to be considered for admission to Master's degree programmes at the University of Bergen.

Application procedure

Follow the guidelines on how to apply depending on which applicant group you belong to.

Internal transfer

Students who are admitted to the Master's Programme in Development Geography in autumn 2018 will be given the opportunity to apply for an internal transfer to the Master's Programme in Geography (full programme offered in English from 2019). This will give the students the opportunity to choose a larger variety of courses and additional specialisations in physical geography, economic geography, regional development and planning and environment and landscape geography. We recommend applicants to clarify in a motivation letter which specialization they are applying for.

For more information please contact studieveileder@geog.uib.no.


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