Next intake: January 2025


The Masters in Development and Gender Studies (MDGS) programme is designed to address the critical interrelation between two important areas of global concern: development is a fundamental human right, which has been conceptualized in different aspects and the achievement of which depends on the realization of the intersection of multiple and cross-cutting factors. Gender, on the other hand, highlight the importance of promoting equality in opportunities, access and results for all people without discrimination on the basis of gender identities and norms.

This course of study aims to explore the theoretical underpinnings of these two concepts and their inter-relatedness, emphasizing the importance of integrating both concepts into policy and practice. Through this exploration, students are expected to gain a deeper understanding of the interrelated challenges and opportunities for advancing human development and seek ways and means to effect positive change in their chosen fields.

MDGS is introduced as the first ever Masters programme in Sri Lanka that combines the element of gender rights and development. This would be a groundbreaking postgraduate programme that provides a combination of theoretical and practical perspectives on gender and development as two concepts.

The MDGS programme is designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the fields of development and gender, as well as those who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in these broad areas. The target group for this program includes:

  1. Recent graduates: Graduates from disciplines such as environmental studies, international development, gender studies, social sciences, economics, law, and related fields who are seeking to advance their knowledge and skills in gender and development.
  2. Mid-career professionals: Professionals who are currently working in development and gender rights fields, and who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to advance their careers or to take on leadership roles.
  3. Civil society and NGO activists: Individuals who are currently working for non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, or grassroots organizations, and who wish to gain deeper knowledge and develop skills in development and gender in order to contribute to their work.
  4. Policy makers and government officials: Professionals who work for governmental agencies or policy-making bodies, and who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the relevance of and the relationship between development and gender, in order to develop more effective policies and programs.
  5. International development practitioners: Individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in international development, including professionals working for multilateral organizations, bilateral agencies, or development banks, and wish to gain deeper knowledge and skills in development and gender in order to design and implement more effective development programs.

This course is designed based on the credit value system of Sri Lanka Qualification Framework Level 9 (SLQF 9) and it allows a candidate to earn 30 credits within the period of One Year by successfully completing six course modules along with an independent study.

Semester I

MDGS 9101 – Theoretical Approaches to Gender

MDGS 9102 – Human Rights Norms and Practices on Development

MDGS 9103 – Gender and Development – Part 01

MDGS 9104 – Research Methodology

 Semester II

MDGS 9201 – Gender and Development – Part 02

MDGS 9202 – Emerging Trends and Challenges Relating to Gender and Development

MDGS 9203 – Guided Independent Study

  1. A Bachelor’s degree from any recognised university or an equivalent qualification recognised by the University of Colombo;

(a) including 30 credits in the relevant subject area


(b) with prior learning/work experience equivalent to 30 credits in the relevant subject area


  1. A professional qualification or work experience in the relevant subject area equivalent to 1(a) or 1(b), as deemed relevant from time to time by the Senate of the University of Colombo


  1. Completion of NVQ level 7, as determined by the Senate of the University of Colombo


A good knowledge of English language and satisfactory performance at a selection test and / or selection interview.

The following are of high-standard learning objectives and outcomes for the MDGS programme:

Mastery of Development and Gender Concepts:

  1. To demonstrate comprehensive understanding of the fundamental concepts, theories, and principles related to gender and development and gender.
  2. To evaluate the linkages between gender and development.
  3. To develop relevant and pragmatic solutions for ensuring human development and gender equality.

 Critical Thinking and Analysis:

  1. To demonstrate the ability to analyze complex problems related to development and gender using evidence-based research and critical thinking skills.
  2. To evaluate the effectiveness of different policies and interventions aimed at promoting development and gender equality, and identifying strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical frameworks for understanding development and gender equality.
  3. To assess the role of institutions and governance structures in promoting or hindering development and gender equality, and analyze political, economic, and other factors that shape environmental and social outcomes from a gender and development perspective.

Research and Methodology:

  1. To develop and implement research projects on issues relative to development and gender, using appropriate research methodologies and tools.
  2. To analyze and interpret social, economic, environmental, and/or other data related to development and gender equality, and communicate research findings effectively to diverse audiences.
  3. To design and articulate new policies or interventions aimed at addressing political, economic, environmental and social challenges from a gender and development perspective, using evidence-based research and evaluation.

Communication and Collaboration:

  1. To communicate effectively and professionally with diverse audiences, including policymakers, practitioners, and community members, on issues related to gender and development.
  2. To collaborate effectively with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and develop interdisciplinary solutions to complex challenges relative to gender and development.
  3. To develop leadership skills and ethical standards that promote human rights, social justice, and sustainability.

 Professional Development:

  1. To develop a strong understanding of career opportunities in the field of gender and development, and gain experience through internships, research projects, and fieldwork.
  2. To engage in ongoing professional development and lifelong learning activities to stay current with the latest trends and best practices in development and gender.
  3. To establish professional networks and relationships with experts in the field of development, human rights, and gender, and contribute to the development of policies and practices that promote sustainability and gender equality at local, national, and global levels.

Application Process

Completed application form must be submitted together with the following:

  • The paid bank slip of the Application fee
  • Copy of the National Identity Card (NIC)
  • Birth Certificate
  • The certified copies of the academic qualification/ professional certificate(s) mentioned in the application and two reference letters.

• The course will commence only if it fulfills the minimum requirement in terms of number of the students.
• Non-refundable application fee of Rs. 2000/- to be paid to any branch of the People’s Bank, in favour of ‘University of Colombo – Main Collection Account’ with the account code number given below.

Account Code Number: 335027300007


Completed application along with relevant documents and the payment receipt to be scanned and emailed to and should be sent by registered post to the address below on or before 15th October 2023.

Centre for the Study of Human Rights
Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
94, Cumaratunga Munidasa Mawatha
Colombo 03

Payment of the application fee can be done through the following options.

Option 1

Pay to any branch of the People’s Bank, in favour of ‘University of Colombo – Main Collection Account’ to the Account number 335027300007 (Thimbirigasyaya Branch)

Please note that you cannot make direct transfers through online banking to the account number given above and can only make the transaction through the web portal mentioned in the option 2.

Option 2

Through the university payment portal. Click here to make an online payment : 

Use the following details;

Fee Type: Course Fee-CSHR

Account reference Number: 335027300007 (Thimbirigasyaya Branch)

For more information contact us on:

Centre for the Study of Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo,

94 Cumarathunga Munidasa Mawatha, Colombo 03

Tel: 011 2500879/2503017