The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. Established in 1952 as the International Institute of Social Studies by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education it does research, teaching and public service in the field of development studies and international cooperation

ISS –  Part of Erasmus University Rotterdam

On 1 July 2009 ISS became a University Institute of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). This unique structure, in which ISS retains its mission, location and relative autonomy whilst benefiting from the resources available from an internationally renowned university, came about after a careful process of negotiations. As a University Institute, ISS is able to develop innovative research in cooperation with other EUR faculties and have greater access to Dutch and international research funding. Students graduating from ISS receive diplomas and degrees which bear the names of both ISS and EUR. ISS will remain in The Hague though all staff and students will have access to EUR facilities and resources.


Research at ISS focuses on development studies. This trans-disciplinary field of study seeks to understand phenomena of underdevelopment, development and change, with special reference to low-income countries. ISS research focuses on studying political, economic and social developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North Africa, the Middle East and transition economies. The Institute explores new developments in North-South and South-South relationships and the role of the BRICS countries, especially in relation to globalization and development.


We offer a four-year PhD programme and an accredited 15.5-month MA in Development Studies with various specializations for participants from over 50 countries. In addition we offer postgraduate diploma programmes and short courses. The degrees, including the PhD, are recognized internationally and by Dutch legislation. Our more than 11.000 alumnus function at all levels of government, business and civil society in Africa, Asia and Latin America.


The ISS MA Degree in Development Studies is widely recognized, accredited by the Netherlands Flemish accreditation organization NVAO and provides eligibility for entry to PhD programmes in the Netherlands and other countries worldwide.