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Erasmus University Rotterdam, International Institute on Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment. 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. We are located in The Hague, known as 'The World’s Legal Capital'.

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, has come about after a careful process of negotiations. As a University Institute, ISS will be able to develop innovative research in cooperation with other EUR faculties and have greater access to Dutch and international research funding. From this year, students graduating at ISS will 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 transdisciplinary field of study seeks to understand phenomena of underdevelopment, development and change, with special reference to low-income countries. Poverty, globalisation, gender and inequity are key words in most of our programmes.

You can find out more about research at ISS by taking a look at Ongoing Research at ISS


We offer a four-year PhD programme and an accredited 15.5-month MA in Development Studies with various specialisations for participants from over 50 countries. In addition we give postgraduate diploma programmes and short courses. The degrees, including the PhD, are recognised internationally and by Dutch legislation. Our more than 10.000 alumns figure at all levels of government, business and civil society in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Public service

Our staff comes from many countries and is a source of knowledge and has wide experience in international development. We stimulate public debate on current issues, important for the exchange of knowledge and for increasing public awareness. ISS organises a wide variety of events, from large conferences to small roundtable meetings for selected groups. The staff is also engaged in institutional capacity development, contract research and advisory services for international agencies and national governments.


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