- BA Development Studies (single or combined), eight taught MA programmes, Research Degrees and Summer Courses
- Unrivalled expertise of regional development in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America
- An outstanding reputation for the study of non-Western development processes and systems of thought
Department of Development ranked 8th nationally for research quality
18 December 2014: Department in the UK top 10 for quality of its research with more than 60% of research judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Read more...
Our academic staff have unrivalled, practical knowledge of the many branches of enquiry that make up Development Studies (political economy, globalisation, migration and displacement, conflict, agrarian change, labour movements, political ecology and institutions to name a few). Combined with exceptional access to resources and a cross-disciplinary approach, we offer a unique learning and research opportunity for a diverse and vibrant student community.
Facts and Figures
- 97% satisfaction for teaching (NSS 2013/14).
- 93% satisfaction for access to resources (NSS 2013/14).
- Excellent staff/student ratio
- Ranked 4th in UK (Guardian University Guide 2014)
- Undergraduate Applicant/Place Ratio 7:1
- Research clusters: Labour, Movements and Development; Neoliberalism, Globalisation and States; Violence, Peace and Development; Centre for Water and Development; Migration, Mobility and Development; Agrarian Change and Development; and Development Policy, Aid, Institutions and Poverty Reduction.
- Many of our staff are regularly engaged in a wide range of research with international development institutions, including United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organisations, and government development departments.
Fair Trade, Employment and Poverty Reduction
A four year project conducted by researchers at SOAS found that Fairtrade failed to help the poorest workers, especially women, in Ethiopia and Uganda. The research involved more than 1,000 person days of field research and generated detailed survey data on 1,700 respondents, as well as evidence from focus groups, repeat surveys, more than 100 life and work history interviews, and a large number of qualitative interviews with cooperative executives, policy makers, Fairtrade representatives, and employers. Read more about the research project.
Undergraduate Student Profile
"Previously I just dreamed about SOAS. I had some lectures on Africa while studying Social Anthropology in Hungary, and I discovered that my professor had studied at SOAS. This made me work hard to join SOAS.
To be here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can develop my academic skills and grow personally. My studies have been exciting and rewarding."
Katalin Kovacs, BA African Studies and Development Studies
Read Katalin's full profile
Our Head of School says:
Development Studies is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field concerned with social and economic change and the major policy challenges such change presents. Our department takes a heterodox approach, seeking not only to understand the major drivers of development, but also to critically evaluate them with a view towards informing more just and equitable approaches to development.
Many of our staff come from development practitioner backgrounds and this informs what we teach. We are all engaged in field research which routinely sends us to places where development policies and approaches touch people’s lives in direct ways, and we draw on this experience in the classroom.
Wherever I go I always run into our alumni – they are working in development organisations all around the world, from the UN to large and small-scale NGOs; charities to government institutions. They tell me that they regularly draw on the things they learned at SOAS to help them think critically about the work they are doing and how to make it better.
Choose to come to SOAS and you will not only benefit from a unique degree, you will join a worldwide network of people who are passionate about thinking about and working towards development and equality for all.
Championing the human rights of displaced people
SOAS researchers unrivalled expertise in the languages, cultures and histories of the civilisations of SOAS’ regions helps to interpret a complex world. Just one example is SOAS' work on championing the human rights of displaced people. The research of many scholars supports the rights of people displaced by famine and conflict, and through ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality. Read the full article on championing the human rights of displaced people.
Postgraduate Student Brief
"Deciding to come here will be one of the greatest decisions you ever make. You will find a warm, welcoming second home in the centre of London."
Joe Buckley, MSc Labour, Social Movements and Development
Read Joe's full profile