SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Development Studies

duration:
One calendar year (full-time) Two (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.

Fees 2016/17

UK/EU fees:
£10,470
Overseas fees:
£17,895

This is a Band 3 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2016 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
  • Subjects Preferred: Social Science

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply

Overview

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?: The programme attracts applications from students with a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds. We welcome applications from those who have worked in a broad field of development, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, development issues. A good first degree in a social science is preferred.

Development Studies is a dynamic field concerned with processes of change in the South - social and economic, political and cultural - and the major policy challenges they present to efforts to overcome poverty and insecurity. This programme provides a solid interdisciplinary social science formation in development theory and practice and develops students’ capacities for independent and critical analysis. 

Highlights include:

  • the meanings of development and the challenges it faces
  • neoliberalism and its critiques
  • industrialisation, labour and capital
  • state failure, poverty and insecurity
  • gender and class analysis
  • NGOs, civil society and social movements
  • globalisation, commodity chains and trade
  • the agrarian question, peasantry and land

The MSc programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills has been of great benefit to the many graduates who have returned to, or taken up, professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. Students also benefit from the wide range of modules on offer, both within the Department and across the School, allowing them to create individualised interdisciplinary programmes.

The MSc Development Studies has four components: two compulsory modules; one full-module option or two half-module options; and a dissertation of 10,000 words. Please see Postgraduate Modules for details on core and optional modules taught within the Department. For a full list of modules offered, please see the Postgraduate Handbook, available on the Development Studies homepage.

Convenors

Structure

Overview

There are four main components to this degree: three taught modules and a dissertation. All students take two core modules, Political Economy of Development and Theory, Policy and Practice of Development. Through these modules students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies. 

Specialisation

Students also take optional modules (one full unit module or two half-unit modules), allowing them to specialise in particular areas of development and potentially to develop a dissertation in a related theme. By tying these to their individual dissertation topic, students design their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.

Students should be aware that not all optional modules may run in a given year. Modules at other institutions are not part of the approved programme structure.

Core Courses

All students take both Political Economy of Development and Theory, Policy and Practice of Development. The dissertation is compulsory. All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term , non-assessed module, Economics for Beginners,which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Political economy of development 15PDSC002 1 Unit Full Year
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 1 Unit Full Year
Dissertation in Development Studies 15PDSC999 1 Unit Full Year
Non-Assessed Courses

All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term , non-assessed module, Economics for Beginners,which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.

Optional Modules - Development Studies

Students may choose optional modules (one full module or two half modules) from the list below. Please check to ensure that any module in which you have a special interest is running in the year that you wish to study. In addition, access to relevant modules in other departments may be negotiated subject to the agreement of both Convenors.

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 0.5 Unit Term 2
Aid and development 15PDSH027 0.5 Unit Term 1
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Development practice 15PDSH013 0.5 Unit Term 2
Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Extractive Industries, Energy, Biofuels and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 0.5 Unit Term 2
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 0.5 Unit Term 1
Gender and development 15PDSH010 0.5 Unit Term 1
Global commodity chains, production networks and informal work 15PDSH024 0.5 Unit Term 1
Global Health and Development 15PDSH051 0.5 Unit Term 2
Issues in forced migration 15PDSH015 0.5 Unit Term 1
Marxist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH053 0.5 Unit Term 2
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 0.5 Unit Term 1
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 0.5 Unit Term 2
Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 0.5 Unit Term 2
Problems of development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 0.5 Unit Term 2
Security 15PDSH020 0.5 Unit Term 1
The working poor and development 15PDSH030 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Understanding economic migration: Theories, Patterns and Policies 15PDSH032 0.5 Unit Term 2
Water and development:conflict and governance 15PDSH049 0.5 Unit Term 2
Open Options in Other Departments
Economics Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Economic development in Africa 15PECC203 1 Unit Full Year
Economic dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region 15PECC334 1 Unit Full Year
Economic problems and policies in modern China 15PECC035 1 Unit Full Year
The political economy of development in Africa 15PECH004 0.5 Unit Term 1
Politics and International Studies Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics in Africa 15PPOC205 1 Unit Full Year
Government and politics of modern South Asia 15PPOC003 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Politics of Globalisation and Development in Asia and Africa 15PPOC017 1 Unit Full Year
Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations 15PPOC252 1 Unit Full Year
School of Law
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Human Rights in The Developing World 15PLAC111 1 Unit Full Year
Water Law: Justice and Governance 15PLAH044 0.5 Unit Term 1
Anthropology and Sociology Department
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Therapy and Culture 15PANH027 0.5 Unit Term 1
Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
North Korea since 1945: the rise and decline of an East Asian developmental state 15PJKH012 0.5 Unit Term 2
Study of Religions
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Religions and Development 15PSRH049 0.5 Unit Term 1

Programme Specification

Disclaimer

Teaching and Learning

Materials

SOAS Library
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Teaching & Learning

Modules are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.

The MSc programme consists of three taught modules (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.

Lectures

Most modules involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

Seminars

At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.

Dissertation

A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.

Pre Entry Reading

Jason Hickel, The Death of International Development 

S. Chari and S. Corbridge ed. The Development Reader, London: Routledge 2008

Jane Pollard et al eds. Postcolonial Economies. London: Zed Books. 2011.

H. Veltmeyer ed. The Critical Development Studies Handbook. London: Pluto Press, 2011.

N. Vishwanathan et al eds. The Women, Gender and Development Reader, Zed Press, 2011.

http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/should-we-continue-use-term-developing-world

Amartya Sen on Development

In addition, please familiarise yourself with some key words and names, including: Boserup, colonialism, de-growth, dependency theory, Eurocentrism, Fanon, Foucault, Gramsci, Gandhi, governmentality, neoliberalism, Ostrom, orientalism, PRSPs, Putnam, rational actor, sustainable development goals, Wallerstein, World Bank.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 3 tuition fee.

The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
£10,470 £17,895 £5,235 £8,948 £3,490 £5,965
Scholarships
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-12 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00

Santander Taught Master’s Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-22 17:00

The Ahmad Mustafa Abu-Hakima Bursary

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

The Prospect Burma - Hla Pe Memorial Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2016-02-24 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

A postgraduate degree from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS will further develop your understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised, with an emphasis on transferable analytical skill. These skills have been of great benefit to the many graduates who have taken up professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. This, in addition to your detailed subject knowledge, will also equip you with a set of other specific skills, including: critical skills; the ability to research extensively; a high level of cultural awareness; and the ability to solve problems.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Amnesty International
BBC World Service
British Embassy Brussels
Department for International Development
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
Embassy of Japan
Government of Pakistan
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
KPMG LLP
National Health and Medical Research Council
Overseas Development Institute
Oxfam
Public Sector Reform Unit - Government of Sierra Leone
Republic of Mozambique National Parliament
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Save the Children UK
The World Bank
Thinking Beyond Borders
U.S. Department of State
UN World Food Programme
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
WaterAid

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

Chief Economist
Global Communications Director
Director for Climate Change and Environment
Head of Research and Consultancies
Development Director
Regional OVC programme coordinator
Head of Operations
Country Director
Bureau Chief
Desk Officer on Pakistan Affairs
Policy Analyst
Partnership Liaison Officer
Fundraising and Communications Manager
Development Policy Officer
Environmental Economist
Journalist
Human Rights Officer
Country Director - Indonesia
Relationship Banker - Africa Desk
Policy Analyst/Economist

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I realised that one of the most pressing contemporary issues in need of qualified social scientists is climate change. I wanted a program that skilled me with the multidisciplinary understanding necessary to deal with the complexity of this challenge.

Stina Maria Lindholm

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Find out more

  • Contact us
    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4700
    By email:
    study@soas.ac.uk
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    Postgraduate programme applications should be made through our online application system.

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