MSc Violence, Conflict & Development
Duration: One calendar year (full-time). Two years(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.
Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
Start of programme: September intake only
Who is this programme for?:
The Violence, Conflict and Development programme attracts applicants with a variety of academic and working backgrounds. We welcome those who have worked in the field of development and/or conflict, but we also welcome applications from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in the major themes of the programme and a strong first degree, preferably in a social science.
The degree has been developed to meet the needs of people working, or hoping to work, in international agencies, humanitarian organisations, and NGOs.
As the pioneering programme of its kind internationally, this MSc programme develops detailed empirical knowledge and analytical skills for understanding the complex linkages between violent conflict and development, both historically and today. It enables students to explore these linkages both within specific country and regional contexts and in the context of global interdependencies and the ways these affect peace, war, and non-war violence.
The programme introduces students to competing analytical approaches. It is multi-disciplinary though shaped by a particular interest in political economy. It encourages deep case study knowledge. And it offers students the ability to tailor their choice of optional courses and dissertation research to their own interests.
The MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development draws on the exceptional expertise at SOAS in different disciplinary understanding of development challenges and processes as well as the strong commitment among all teaching staff to area expertise. Staff teaching on this programme are research active and have a range of links to international organisations.
The programme is of interest for development practitioners, activists, and students with a scholarly interest in the patterns of violence internationally, in how violence affects development, and in how the uneven processes of development themselves may both generate violence and generate mechanisms for containing violence.
- Zoe's Blog! A convenor's-eye view of the MSc Violence, Conflict and Development programme
- Exploration of the long history of theories of human violence
- Relationships between violence and long-run historical change
- The concept of a continuum of violence
- The relevance of historical and more recent evidence that the process of structural change involved in ‘development’ is inherently conflictual and often violent
- To what extent democratisation is a mechanism for securing perpetual peace
- The challenges of understanding gender based violence
- Whether abundant natural resources, or high levels of inequality, or clear markers of religious or ethnic difference are clear sources of violent conflict
- How highly localised violent conflicts are connected to processes of global economic development
- The challenges of post-conflict reconstruction and ‘war to peace transitions’
- The role of NGOs in causes of, dynamics of, and responses to conflict
- Explaining the prevalence of high levels of non-war violence
- Explanations of the political economy of – and alternative perspectives on – terrorism
Students can draw on SOAS's unique expertise to specialise further in particular regions or topics. Please see Postgraduate courses for details on core and optional courses.
There are four main components to this degree: three taught courses and a 10,000 word dissertation. All students take a core course, Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development. They then select one of three ‘development’ courses: Political Economy of Development; Theory, Policy and Practice of Development; or Anthropology of Development. Through these courses, students build their analytical skills and their knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies. A distinctive feature of the core course is that students put together a group case study presentation.
Students also take optional courses (one full unit course or two half-unit courses). 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 courses may run in a given year. Courses at other institutions are not part of the approved programme structure.
All students take Violence, Conflict and Development. Then select either Political Economy of Development or Theory, Policy and Practice of Development or Anthropology of Development. The dissertation is compulsory.
- Political economy of violence, conflict and development - 15PDSC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Political economy of development - 15PDSC002 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Theory, policy and practice of development - 15PDSC001 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Anthropology of Development - 15PANC090 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Dissertation in Development Studies - 15PDSC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year
All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term , non-assessed course, Economics for Beginners,which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.
Optional Courses - Development Studies
Students may choose optional courses (one full course or two half courses) from the list below. Please check to ensure that any course in which you have a special interest is running in the year that you wish to study. In addition, access to relevant courses in other departments may be negotiated subject to the agreement of both Convenors.
- Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty - 15PDSH026 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Aid and development - 15PDSH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Borders and Development - 15PDSH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Civil society, social movements and the development process - 15PDSH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Natural resources, development and change: putting critical anaylsis into practice - 15PDSH031 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Development practice - 15PDSH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- East Asia and globalisation - 15PDSH025 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2015/2016
- Environment, Governance and Development - 15PDSH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- 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 2015/2016
- 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 2
- Global Health and Development - 15PDSH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2015/2016
- 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 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 1 - Not Running 2015/2016
- Security - 15PDSH020 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- The working poor and development - 15PDSH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Understanding economic migration: Theories, Patterns and Policies - 15PDSH032 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2015/2016
- War to peace transitions - 15PDSH018 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Water and development:conflict and governance - 15PDSH049 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
Open Options in Other Departments
- 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 - Not Running 2015/2016
- Economic development of modern Taiwan - 15PECH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2015/2016
- The political economy of development in Africa - 15PECH004 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Politics and International Studies Department
- Government and politics in Africa - 15PPOC205 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Government and politics of modern South Asia - 15PPOC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- State 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
- Alternative dispute resolution - 15PLAC104 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Human rights in the developing world - 15PLAC111 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- International protection of human rights - 15PLAC119 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Justice, reconciliation and reconstruction in post conflict societies - 15PLAC123 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Law and Governance in the Developing World - 15PLAH047 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2015/2016
- Water Law: Justice and Governance - 15PLAH044 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Anthropology and Sociology Department
- Therapy and Culture - 15PANH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Environmental History of Asia - 15PHIH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
South Asia Department
- Culture and Conflict in the Himalaya - 15PSAC291 (1 Unit) - Full Year
Study of Religions
- Religions and Development - 15PSRH049 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
Teaching & Learning
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
Courses are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.
The MSc programme consists of three taught courses (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.
Most courses involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
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.
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.
MSc Violence, Conflict & Development postgraduate students leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek. These include analytical skills, presentation skills, the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning, and knowing how to present materials and ideas effectively both orally and in writing. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate. Graduates from MsC Violence, Conflict & Development have gone on to work in a range of different organisations, including Development and Human Rights Organisations, and many have continuted in the field of research.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
BBC World Service
British Overseas Network for Development NGOs
Department for International Development
Embassy of the Republic of Korea to Finland
European Bank for Reconstruction & Development
Immigration Advisory Service
Institute for Human Development
Institute for Public Policy Research
International Land Coalition (ILC)
|Islamic Relief Worldwide|
Mekong Economics Ltd
Overseas Development Institute
Save the Children
The Climate Group
The Japan Foundation
The World Bank
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
UNICEF Libya Response Team
World Health Organization
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
|Regional Project Development Intern For Africa|
Emergencies Programme Manager
International Mobilisation Coordinator
Humanitarian Policy Advisor
East and Central Africa Projects Manager
Horn of Africa Analyst
Global Policy Consultant
Operational Support Officer
Senior Project Manager
Defense Policy and Strategy Analyst
Director Counter Extremism and Deradicalization
International Programmes Officer
Ethical Trade Executive
Community Investment Coordinator
Women and Peace building Specialist
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
How to apply
How to apply
- How to Apply
- Online Application
- Request a prospectus
- Got a question - use our enquiry form (opens a new window)
- Funding options
- English language requirements
- Tuition Fees
- Admissions Contacts
Application Deadline: 2015-03-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-02-27 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-05-01 17:00
A Student's Perspective
Nuren Sherali Parpia
Being at SOAS is a privilege I have greatly appreciated academically as well as socially. It really is a gem that surfaces unheard voices and unseen faces.