MA in Governance and Development

Background note

Governance and development have become a center of attention for most local, national, and international development actors across the world. The impacts of the socio-economic situations, poor implementation of public policies and strategies, widespread of corruption and maladministration, poor customer service delivery, international the financial crisis, the effects of climate change, the spill-over from intra-state conflicts and impact of international crimes, and illicit financial flows have raised attention to the importance of cross-border governance and development issues and thereby increased interconnection and more interdependence of different actors. In this regard, it is vital to address institutional and governance bottlenecks to ensure transformative and sustainable development by providing collaborative and integrated mechanisms across different sectors.

The government of Ethiopia has also put an accelerated economic development as a fundamental goal and a point of departure so as to build a sustainable market economy. In this case, fostering good governance is asserted as a means of ensuring the rapid and sustainable development of the country. Thus, it can be asserted that good governance constrains the actions of corrupt officials and reduces corruption, improves customer service delivery, fosters accountability and transparency, provides effectiveness, stimulates technological change and encourages development. Hence, higher educational institutions, like Bahir Dar University, are playing a significant role in this regard.

It is at this junction that the Department of Governance and Development Studies was launched in 2007/08 G.C under the school of law so as to fulfill the demand for trained manpower in the areas of governance and development studies in the country. In addition, the department has to undertake a number of community services to bring fundamental changes in the community and it has been actively involved in different research projects geared toward addressing community problems. Because of the ever-increasing demand for qualified professionals in governance and development with a high level of training, the department has launched the Master of Arts (MA) degree program in Governance and Development. 

Rationales of the Program

In supporting the overall development endeavor of the country, the requirement for a human resource with knowledge, skill, and attitude make reasonable the launching of the Master of Arts in Governance and development. Besides, lack of good governance, maladministration and underdevelopment are bottlenecks that most developing nations including our country are still facing. Therefore, the initiation of such a program could alleviate the aforementioned predicaments and challenges by producing practitioner with knowledge, skills, and attitudes, cultivating professionals and experts who could analyze socio-economic and political problems with cognate theories and models, designing alternative policy and strategy options, improving the quality and productivity of manpower required to the different sectors, conducting problem-solving research in the areas of governance and development, providing a practical solution for fundamental problems that are widely observed in governance and developmental realms in Ethiopia and realizing good governance and sustainable development in Ethiopia through integrating different actors.

Thus, the program focuses on four key interconnected rationales a) reforming or rebuilding state capacity in terms of creating more accountable, democratic, effective and legitimate, legal, administrative, financial and policymaking institutions, b) empowering competitive market structure, c) bringing societal transformation at the grass-root level and, d) fostering sustainable development in the country.

Program Objective

The program is aimed at producing internationally competent graduates in governance and development.

Graduate Profile

The Graduate Program in Governance and Development is designed to achieve mastery of subjects and the development of desirable attributes. Learning experiences and marketable skills are incorporated into the program to bring about these desired outcomes and assessment is designed to ensure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement.

    1. Knowledge

Master of Arts graduates are multidisciplinary professionals with an in-depth knowledge of governance and development.

On completion of the degree graduates will:

           --Equipped with social, cultural, economic, political, historical and technological contexts of 
            governance and development and their impact on an ongoing global power structure and to visualize
             the need for political and development practices.

  -- Acquire advanced knowledge on the framework of neo-liberalism and its financial architecture like International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO) and other donor agencies, their objectives, mission, vision, strategies, challenges, and finally politics of governance and development.

 -- Equipped on new paradigm-shifting away from public administration to NPM. Therefore, Global Institutions, Public Management, and Governance; Structural Adjustment Program and institutional reforms, the birth of entrepreneurial state and the changing pattern of governance.

 -- Prepare research designs for undertaking research projects at micro, meso and macro levels with different methodological frameworks and scientific tools applied for the data analysis at a higher level.

 -- Enable students to investigate labor in the contemporary social and economic development of the South as well as classic and newly emerging social movements of labor in local, national and international spaces as well as a critical examination of the links between labor, capitalism, development, and poverty.

2. Skills

Graduates will acquire the skills to:

Identify the process of governance and development, their coordination and implemental challenges at local, national, regional and global levels; and be equipped with managerial tools and techniques for building people organizations and promoting livelihood development activities.

   3. Attitude

Graduates of the will be ethical and loyal to serve the public .they also be committed to follow basic principles of good governances.

Development of Attributes and desirable values

Alongside the attributes of responsible citizens, the graduates will have those qualities of personal responsibility and decision-making required to be competent professionals. In particular, graduates will have the following attributes:

-- Self-direction and be able to work within time and structural constraints;

-- Accountability, loyalty, responsibility, civic-mindedness, integrity, etc.;

-- Commitment and devotion to give effective services to the community;

-- Confidence to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks;

-- Awareness and understanding of the ethical issues that relate to their profession; and

-- Willingness to sense and shoulder community problems and to react to solve these problems being derived by self-initiative thorough scientific methods; etc.

Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission to the program, candidates must hold an undergraduate degree in any of the specific fields listed below and fulfill academic requirements pursuant to Bahir Dar University Senate Legislation. Candidates who have work experiences in governmental and non-governmental organizations are encouraged to apply. Other admission requirements will be determined in accordance with the relevant University Legislation.

  1. Academic requirements

1. An applicant for admission to the Master’s program must have a Bachelors' degree in the specific/related field(s) of study from an accredited institution of higher learning.


Bachelors’ Degree in the specific/related field(s) of the study should be in:

Social Sciences which include political science, Civics and Ethical studies, international relations, governance and development studies, public administration, sociology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, public policy, history, geography, gender studies, and other social sciences related fields.

Arts and Humanities with a specialization in language and literature, journalism and mass communication and other related fields

Business and Economics with specialization in business administration, management, commerce, economics, public finance, banking and insurance, accounting and finance and other related fields

Agriculture and Environmental Sciences: with specialization in natural resources management, rural development, environmental science, agronomics, forestry, and other related fields.

Law: specialization in law and related fields.

2. The applicant must satisfactorily pass an entrance examination to be administered by the program concerned. Foreign applicants may, in lieu of sitting for the entrance examination,
submit results of GRE/TOEFL/IELTS or equivalent, language proficiency examinations,
for applicants whose undergraduate medium of instruction is not English, etc.

    2. Non-academic Requirements

1. The candidate must produce a minimum of two letters of recommendation from undergraduate instructors, employers or professional Associations.

2. Candidates may also be required to bring a letter of sponsorship.

3.  Other requirements will be determined in accordance with the relevant University Legislation.

Graduation Requirements

In order to earn the Master’s degree in Governance and Development, graduate students must take at least thirty-six (36) credit hours including thesis, which encompass ten courses. Students must get a passing score for each course as well as the thesis as set out in the University Senate Legislation. In addition to these specific rules, the rules regarding graduate study as incorporated in the University Senate Legislation shall apply.