Programme 2023-2024

Specialised Master in International and Development Economics

Objectives (Program)

The goal of this master programme is to train present and future actors of development to be able to devise realistic and original policy reforms and programmes based on sound economic analysis and well-adjusted to the social and political context of a country.

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

  • design and implement innovative programmes of economics and human development;
  • understand and assess the models and methods used by international organisations; foreign governments and consultants in development assistance and international economic relations; and
  • 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.

At the end of their training, graduates will also be able to:

  • communicate clearly and persuasively both in English (written and oral) as well as in the graphical form;
  • manage a project, collaborate within a team, and exercise leadership.


The specialised master in international and development economics programme (SMIDE) is entirely provided in English; it is a 60 ECTS programme and is co-organised by the University of Namur and the Catholic University of Louvain (UCLouvain).

Most of the classes are held in Namur with one day of classes per week held in Louvain-la-Neuve. Students will have full access to the educational resources offered by the two universities (libraries, IT, etc.).

The academic year begins with the « Concepts and Methods » unit - a review of the basic concepts in economics and quantitative methods. The programme is then organised around two main themes. The first axis studies poverty and institutional structures required for the effective functioning of a market economy in the context of developing countries. The second axis analyzes macroeconomic and trade policies that promote economic growth and macroeconomic stability in a context of poor countries, emphasizing their effects on the well-being of local people.

Depending on their specific situation, students can be offered the possibility either to do an internship while they are developing their personal project or after having graduated from the programme.

The two main axes can be detailed as follows:

  • Macroeconomics and trade policies:

This theme covers issues concerning macroeconomic fluctuations, macro-finance and development. It concentrates on the factors that determine the balance of payments, domestic growth rates, employment rates and structure, inflation rates, public sector accounts and external debt. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between foreign exchange, interest rates, monetary and taxation policy instruments and real economy sectors. National experiences will be used to evaluate the relative costs of adjustments or policies and whether they are sustainable given external constraints. Students will also be able to use case studies to evaluate how various policy regimes or macroeconomic policies can contribute in terms of a sustainable and balanced growth objective.

The programme also studies the opportunities and limitations the economy is facing as it integrates the global market economy. Special attention is given to relationship between economic growth and international trade, the role of multinational entreprises, the location of economic activities the management of adjustment costs after trade shocks. Trade and trade policy aspects are also analysed: the strategic behaviour of firms and governments and the role of regional and ‘supra-regional’ institutions.

  • Development and institutions:

The teaching units of this theme cover the key economic development issues of today.  These include:

  • poverty: key concepts and measures of poverty and inequality are introduced. The current state of poverty in the world is examined and students are challenged to conduct a critical analysis of current sustainable development goals.
  • micro-finance: the formal and informal roles of lending institutions in developing countries are examined and microfinance as a “revolution” in development is discussed.
  • education: the decision to invest in education at a micro and macro level is examined and a discussion on what we know today about the returns to education is opened.
  • gender issues: A presentation of Amarta Sen’s “missing women” analysis is made.  A discussion on the discrimination of women within households is also opened and the main models of decision-making, including intra-household bargaining models, are presented.
  • poverty - environment linkages: after an introduction to environmental economics and its key concepts, we present what we know today about the relationship between development, poverty and environment.
  • the role of development institutions: different economic approaches to institutions are presented, discussed and illustrated. Particular attention is given to transaction patterns, contracts, informal arrangements and social norms. The underlying functions savings on transaction costs, overcoming incentive issues and ensuring coordination are highlighted. Two major fields of application of institutional analysis are covered in detail: the “poverty rights “system and agrarian contracts.

The programme will also cover the effects of different policies in terms of poverty, equality and how these problems can be reduced.

Finally, the programme concludes with a personal project on an economic topic chosen at the beginning of the year. This research project is developed during the year on the basis of lectures and readings and is subjected to critical evaluation by students and teachers. The project consists of a case study, a theoretical or an empirical analysis which leads students to document, analyse and argue a research question with rigour.

Teaching methods

The diversity in the experiences and geographical origins of the teaching staff, guest lecturers and students will contribute to the broad variety of issues dealt within the lectures and seminars.

Students therefore constantly refers these issues with those of his homecountry.

Assessment methods

Written and oral exams, individual and group projects, oral presentations, development of a personal project... Several modes of assessment coexist within the SMIDE programme.

The exact assessment method for each teaching unit is described on the webpage of the teaching unit and can be found at this link

Final evaluations are held at the end of each semester, in January and June. And second-chance examinations are held in August-September.

Mobility and international openness

The audience of the specialised master in international and development economics is mostly international.

The teaching staff also is international and most of the teachers have direct experience in developing countries.

There are also funding/scholarship opportunities for students from developing countries.  For more information on how to apply, timetable and practical arrangements:

Admission requirements

Seuls les candidats avec des connaissances suffisantes en économie seront considérés. 
Dans certains cas, les candidats peuvent être soumis à un test écrit au cours de la procédure d'admission.

Les candidats titulaires d’un diplôme délivré au sein de la Communauté française de Belgique doivent disposer d’un master en 60 ou 120 crédits.

Les candidats titulaires d’un diplôme délivré hors de la Communauté française de Belgique doivent disposer :

  • d’un diplôme obtenu après 5 années (300 crédits) d’enseignement universitaire ou
  • d’un diplôme obtenu après 4 années (240 crédits) d’enseignement universitaire et d’au moins 2 années d’expérience professionnelle utile.

Les étudiants belges et européens doivent avoir au moins un "Master 60" ou l'équivalent de 240 ECTS (pour plus de détails, contactez-nous).

Date limite d’inscription :

Pour les admissions en master de spécialisation, il y a lieu de prendre contact avec le service des inscriptions.

Attention les candidatures aux bourses suivent leur propre calendrier et sont clôturées plus tôt (voir rubrique « mobilité »).

Contact : (for further information on the programme)
Faculté des sciences économiques, sociales et de gestion – UNamurRempart de la Vierge 8
5000 Namur - Belgique
+32 (0)81 724 823



Only applicants with sufficient knowledge of economics will be considered.
In some cases, applicants may be subject to a written test during the admission process.

Applicants with a diploma issued by the French-speaking community of Belgium must have a master worth 60 or 120 credits.

Applicants with a diploma issued outside of the French-speaking community of Belgium must have:

  • a university diploma received after 5 years (300 credits) or
  • a university diploma received after 4 years (240 credits) and at least 2 years of relevant professional experience.

Belgian and European students must have at least a "Master 60" or equivalent to 240 ECTS (for more details, contact us).

Applications must be received before:

For specialised master admissions, contact the enrolment service.

Please note that grant application processes have their own schedule and close earlier (see the “mobility” section).

Contact: (for further information on the programme)
Faculté des sciences économiques, sociales et de gestion – UNamur
Rempart de la Vierge 8
5000 Namur - Belgique
+32 (0)81 724 823


Romain Houssa (Chairman)