Applied Development Economics

The programme offers students the opportunity to apply economic and political economy analysis to solving real-world problems.


The Masters in Applied Development Economics (ADE) trains researchers and policy practitioners to understand and address current development challenges. It offers students an opportunity to apply economic and political economy analysis to solving real-world problems. In doing so, it approaches economics from a pluralist point of view. In this context, pluralism comprises three dimensions: theoretical pluralism; methodological pluralism; and dialogue between economics and other social sciences.

This unique offering provides students the opportunity to study important areas of economics that address some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. For example, our elective offerings include courses on gender economics, health economics, and environmental and energy economics, among others. Many of our academic staff are conducting cutting-edge research in these fields and are actively engaged in the policy and advocacy spaces.

Career Opportunities

The Masters degree in Applied Development Economics prepares students for a career in research and policy-making in the NGO, private and public sectors in the broad field of development. Students who successfully complete this degree can also go on to enrol for the PhD in Applied Development Economics.


The Coursework Masters in Applied Development Economics programme comprises of a Research report (10 000 – 15 000 words) together with a total of 6 courses, made up of 3 compulsory courses and 3 electives as shown below.
Compulsory courses:
- Political Economy of Development
- Microeconomics & Industrial and Trade Policy
- Advanced Macroeconomics for Policy
Students can choose from a range of electives offered in Economics (they should consult with the Programme director when choosing their electives). Below is a list of some of the available electives in Economics:
- The Economics of Competition and Regulation
- Development
- Advanced Institutional Economics
- Gender Economics
- Introduction to Health Economics
- Environmental Economics and Policy
- Energy Economics
- Public Economics
- Applied Econometrics
- Time Series Econometrics
- Introduction to Applied Econometrics
Note: Please note that the electives on offer in any one year may vary according to the availability of staff.
Additional requirement: If the candidate has not taken the School’s Research Methods/Research Methods for Development course in their Honours year, this will also need to be completed for non-credit purposes in the Masters year.
Due Date for Research Report: The Research Report is expected to be completed alongside the coursework. The research proposal for the Research Report must be approved by the School’s Postgraduate Committee early in the second semester. Therefore, work on the research proposal should commence in the first semester. The completed Research Report must be submitted by the end of the following February.

Entry Requirements

  • A bachelors degree with honours in Applied Development Economics/Economics/Economic Sciences (or an equivalent). 
  • Applicants are expected to have achieved an average of at least 65% for Honours.

International applicants and South African applicants who do not hold South African university degrees must have their degree(s) assessed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) before making an application. Ideally, the applicant should apply for SAQA assessment at least 3 months before applying to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management. Please see the SAQA website for more details:

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.