MSc in Development Policy and Politics (with Mo Ibrahim Foundation Internship)

The International Development Department, University of Birmingham, is pleased to offer one scholarship for our MSc in Development Policy and Politics (with Mo Ibrahim Foundation Internship). 

The scholarship is provided by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and is for a two-year programme, with the successful candidate undertaking the full one-year MSc programme, as well as an integrated one-year internship. The internship enables the successful candidate to spend six months with IDD working on research with academics and the GSDRC and then six months with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in London working alongside the team on a variety of the Foundation’s initiatives that aim to “put governance at the centre of Africa’s development”. This includes participating in the Now Generation Forum, a new forum for African emerging leaders and young professionals as part of the Ibrahim Forum and the Ibrahim Governance Weekend.

The programme

The notion that “politics matters” has increasingly become the mantra of development policymakers and practitioners – as well as development scholars – and there is now a growing recognition that development – whether at the national, subnational, regional or global levels – is inherently political. The problems that we face, and the opportunities in our grasp, require strong skills in political analysis skills as well as deep understanding of the political underpinnings of global development challenges. The teaching brings in lessons from around the world about politics, power, governance and policy, and we benefit from IDD’s truly multinational student body who enrich discussions through sharing their own experiences and expertise.

This MSc makes a direct link between academic and practical policy approaches to development, rooted in theory and in evidence. IDD’s cutting edge research on governance, leadership, democracy, thinking and working politically and much more informs our teaching, and students are exposed to innovations and rigour, complexity and debate, bridging theory and practice.   

The pathway for the Foundation scholarship comprises the following compulsory modules:

  • International Development (20 credits)
  • Development Policy and Politics (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits). An in depth focus on a topic of particular interest, with support from a supervisor. This may involve overseas fieldwork in a country chosen by the candidate.

Choose on of the following modules:

  • Governance and State-building (20 credits)
  • Democracy, Dictatorship and Development (20 credits)

Optional modules (60 credits)

Choose from any module from across the School of Government. You may choose a module from another school or college with the agreement of the Programme Director.

The scholarship

The scholarship includes:

1. Full tuition fee
2. Air fare to and from the United Kingdom and visa
3. Monthly stipend of £950 for 18 months
4. Arrival allowance of £950

The remaining six months for the internship will be funded directly to the successful candidate by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.


The entry requirements consist of:

  • first class Honours degree or equivalent from an approved university is essential. Anyone not meeting this minimum requirement will not be considered and should not apply
  • Applicants must be under 30 years of age at the time of applying.
  • Good written and spoken English. For those whose first language is not English, evidence of this capacity is required. Applicants should reach at least level 6.5 in the IELTS or 580 /93 for TOEFL. Please check the University website for more information on English language requirements.
  • Applicants must be African nationals domiciled (or permanent residents) in an African country. Preference will be given to scholarship candidates living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Application process

first class Honours degree or equivalent from an approved university is essential. Anyone not meeting this minimum requirement will not be considered and should not apply

Sufficient applications for the September 2024 intake have now been received and we would encourage you to consider applying for 2025 entry, which opens in October 2024. Please see our other programmes in International Development

Applications must be received through the University online application system, by 8 April 2024. In addition to the usual documents to be submitted, you must also upload a 500 word statement and CV. This statement should set out why you are the best candidate for the scholarship.

You must then send your application ID number to Debra Beard. Please include ‘Mo Ibrahim Scholarship’ in the subject line of the email. Please do not include any supporting documents in this email.