Programme 2020-2021

Specialised Master in International and Development Economics

Learning outcomes (Program)

At the end of their training, graduates are in a position to:

  1. Design and implement innovative programs of economics and human development, inspired by a rigorous economic analysis and adapted both to local aspirations and to international constraints;
  2. Understand and assess the models and methods used by international organizations, foreign governments and consultants in development assistance and international economic relations;
  3. Play an educational role, in particular by clarifying to local decision-makers and to the general public the rationale and usefulness of economic reforms in their local context.

Objectives (Program)

The objective of the program is to train present and future actors of development to be able to devise realistic and original reforms and programs based on a sound economic analysis and well-adjusted to the social and political context of each country.

The program enables graduates and young professionals to:

  1. Acquire international standards of economic analysis and increase their abilities in this field;
  2. Confront their personal experience with foreign perceptions of the world economy and of their country;
  3. Gain the maturity needed to further sharpen their professional or research objectives.

These qualifications are especially appreciated by governments, international organizations and the academic community.


From September 2007, the Departments of Economics of the Universities of Namur (UNamur) and of Louvain (UCL) organizes the "Advanced Master (Master Complémentaire) in International and Development Economics". The "Master Complémentaire" is the legal designation of all post-graduate professional master degrees in the French-speaking Community of Belgium.

The program has a two-sided economic approach. On the one hand, it analyses macroeconomic and trade policy issues related to the growth of an economy within the world market system. On the other hand, it analyses the ways of reducing poverty and inequality and deals with the institutional structures required for the effective working of a market economy in the context of specific countries.

The courses taught are structured around two main themes: macroeconomic policies and economic development including its institutional aspects:

  1. Macroeconomics and Trade Policies

    The Macroeconomics theme addresses the issues of stabilization and structural adjustment. It focuses on the determinants of the balance of payments, the domestic growth rate, the employment level and structure, the inflation rate, public sector accounts and external debt. Particular attention is devoted to the interaction between exchange rates, interest rates, monetary and fiscal policy instruments and the real sector of the economy. Country experiences are used to assess the relative costs of adjusting or not adjusting unsustainable policies in the face of external constraints, as well as to evaluate the contribution of various policy regimes or macroeconomic policy packages to the policy makers’ objective of sustainable and balanced growth.

    The program studies also the opportunities and constraints confronted by an economy when it integrates into the world market economy. Special attention is devoted to such themes as the relation between economic growth and international trade, the role of multinational firms, the localization of activities, and the management of adjustment costs after trade shocks.  Trade and policy aspects are also analysed: the strategic behaviour of firms and governments and the role of regional and supra-regional organizations.
  2. Development and Institutions

    The classes offered in this field cover the key topics in development economics today. The topics include:
    • Poverty: We discuss key concepts and measures of poverty and inequality. We examine the current situation of poverty in the world and conduct a critical analysis of the Millennium Development Goals.
    • Microfinance: We study the role of formal and informal lending institutions in developing countries and discuss whether microfinance can be considered a "revolution" in development.
    • Education: We examine the decision to invest in education at a micro and macro level and discuss what we know today about the returns to education.
    • Gender issues: We present Amartya Sen's analysis of missing women. We discuss discrimination at the level of households and study the main decision models including intra-household bargaining.
    • The links between poverty and the environment: After an introduction to environmental economics and its key concepts, we examine what we know today about the relationships between development, poverty and the environment.
    • The role of institutions in development: Different economic approaches to institutions are presented, discussed and illustrated. Modes of transactions, contracts, informal arrangements and social norms receive particular attention. The underlying functions of economizing on transaction costs, overcoming incentive problems and providing coordination are highlighted. Two important fields of application of institutional analysis are covered in more details: systems of property rights and agrarian contracts.

Organizational modalities

The programme is a one-year programme of 60 credits. The courses and seminars are given mainly in the University of Namur. Once a week, classes take place at the catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve .Within a short distance from each other, the two institutions provide courses in the areas of specialization of their professors. The students have access to pedagogical resources (libraries, languages and computer labs...) in both universities.

Teaching methods

Each topic is covered in formal lectures and emphasis is put on policy responses to central problems in development today.

Each class also provides students with essential methods and tools that can be applied in a wide range of economic problems. In particular, students learn how to compute and assess poverty measures, how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and a rigorous impact evaluation and how to address the issue of institutional choice in specific situations. Various personal works provide opportunities to apply these tools.

The language of instruction is English.

Assessment methods


The program starts with a one month-session of classes reviewing the main analytical tools of economics. While mostly theoretical, classes make constant reference to the applications of these concepts and methods. An evaluation takes place at the end of the month. Those who show deficiencies are required to retake these exams before the end of the first semester of the program.

Exams are organized at the end of each semester, in January and in June. Retakes take place in August.

Personal Study Project

Each student completes a personal study project on an economic topic of special interest to him.

The research project is continuously developed through the course of the year and subject to critical appraisal from fellow students and professors. The project consists of either a case study, a theoretical or an empirical analysis.

At the beginning of the year, students may propose a subject. Then they meet with a supervisor to define its objectives and appreciate feasibility of their proposal. An alternative is for the students to choose from a list of topics proposed by the professors.

Public presentations of the work at various stages aim to contribute to the group learning experience. The final report will consider a precise economic issue and will be submitted before the June exam session.

Mobility and international openness

This program attracts mostly international students. There are rarely more than two students with the same nationality in the classroom.

The teaching staff is also international and most professors have a lot of first hand experiences in developing countries.

You are a national of a developing country and you hold a master's degree? The ARES scholarships offer you the possibility to attend a one-year master's in Belgium – University of Namur. Informations (rules of introduction, deadlines and pratical arrangements):


Admission requirements

Only applicants with a strong background in economics will be considered.

International applicants (“holding a degree not issued from the French-speaking Community of Belgium”) must have either:

  • A graduate degree obtained after 5 years (300 credits) of higher education;
  • A graduate degree obtained after 4 years (240 credits) of higher education and 2 years at least of useful professional experience.

Other students (“holding a degree issued from the French-speaking Community of Belgium”) must have a "Master 120 credits".


Application deadlines:   

To register for the program, please contact the “Admission Service” as well as the program staff (see Further information - Contact).

Careful: scholarship applications are earlier ! (See “Mobility” section)



Mathias Hungerbuhler (Chairman)