Research Degrees: Development Studies Department
The Department currently has 52 research students, working on a range of research topics in many parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. We are particularly interested in potential research students who wish to work in one of the main Departmental Research Clusters, namely: Labour, Movements and Development; Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States; Violence, Peace and Development; Water for Africa; Migration, Mobility and Development; Agrarian Change and Development; Development Policy, Aid, Institutions and Poverty Reduction
Research students are encouraged to attend weekly training sessions to introduce them to a number of practical techniques and vocational skills utilised within the development profession; fortnightly seminars on topics relevant to Development Studies and, where appropriate, post-experience workshops.
Before applying for a research degree, please read the following notes on How to write your Research Proposal
For all queries regarding applications and proposals please contact the the Research Admissions Tutor, Dr Jens Lerche.
Academic Staff and their Research Areas
Professor Gilbert Achcar BA(LYONS) BA, MA(LEBANESE UNIVERSITY BEIRUT) PHD(PARIS VIII)
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor (PhD)
Middle East and north Africa; social and political theory; international relations; globalisation; sociology of religion
Dr Dae-oup Chang BA(SOGANG) MA PHD(WARWICK)
East Asia, capital-labour relations, state-society relations, labour and social movement in globalising East Asia, TNCs and division of labour in East Asia
Professor Christopher Cramer BA, PHD(CANTAB)
Africa: economics of Africa, political economy of development, political economy of war and peace in southern Africa, and the economics of cashew production, processing and trade
Dr Jonathan Di John BA (HARVARD) PHD(CANTAB)
Development economics, economic growth, institutional economics, taxation in less developed countries, the political economy of oil states, political economy of industrial policy in Latin America, especially of Venezuela, Columbia and Brazil
Dr Jonathan Goodhand BA, PGCE(BIRMINGHAM) MSC, PHD(MANCHESTER)
South and Central Asia; complex political emergencies, humanitarian aid; NGO capacity building, aid, conflict and development
Dr Laura Hammond MA, PHD(WISCONSIN)
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor (MSc Migration, Mobility and Development)
Horn of Africa; Ethiopia; Somalia; forced migration; resettlement; returnees; remittances; international assistance
Dr Adam Hanieh BSc (ADELAIDE) MA (AL QUDS) PHD (YORK)
Political economy, labour migration, Middle East politics, Gulf Cooperation Council, migration development and remittances class and state formation internationalisation Palestine
Dr Michael Jennings BA, MA(OXFORD) PHD(LONDON)
Politics and history of development processes in sub-Saharan Africa, governance, civil society, non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations, and social aspects of health in Africa
Dr Tania Kaiser BA(BRISTOL) MPHL, DPHIL(OXON)
East Africa, West Africa, Sri Lanka; conflict and development; forced migration; refugees; humanitarian interventions
Dr Jens Lerche MA, PHD(COPENHAGEN)
South Asia; agrarian political economy; rural labour relations; governance and development
Dr Anna Lindley MA (LEEDS), DPHIL (OXON)
Relationships between migration, conflict and development; Horn of Africa
Dr Thomas Marois BA, MA (ALBERTA), PhD (YORK)
Mexico, Turkey; Political economy of banking, finance, and development; state-owned banks; privatization; state-capital-labour relations; state theory; internationalization
Dr Zoe Marriage BA(OXON) MSC, PHD(LSE)
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor (MSc Violence, Conflict and Development)
Sierra Leone, Rwanda, DR Congo and Sudan; political and psychological processes of violence and assistance, rural policy
Prof. Terry McKinley BA(SAN DIEGO) MA, PHD(CALIFORNIA)
Poverty reduction, growth, inequality, employment and human development; the implications for economic policies of linking poverty reduction strategies to the Millennium Development Goals
Dr Alessandra Mezzadri MSC, PHD (LONDON)
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor (MSc Development Studies)
International trade, global commodity chains, industrial development and labour markets in developing countries, social structures and inequality; structures of production and labour in the Indian export-oriented garment industry
Professor Peter P Mollinga MSC PHD (WAGENINGEN NL) PD/Habil. (BONN)
South Asia, Central Asia; comparative political sociology of water resources and development; technology and agrarian change; boundary work in natural resources management; interdisciplinary social theory.
Dr Paolo Novak MSC, PHD (LONDON)
Postgraduate Admissions Tutor (MSc Globalisation and Development)
Afghanistan; Pakistan; refugees; borders; governance; international intervention
Dr Carlos Oya LICENCIATURA(MADRID) MSC, PHD(LONDON)
West Africa, Southern Africa, agrarian political economy; poverty; rural labour; government-donor relations; research methods
Professor Alfredo Saad-Filho BSc, MSc (BRASILIA) PHD(LONDON)
Latin America, political economy of development; industrial policy; pro-poor economic policy; neoliberalism; value theory
Dr Subir Sinha BA(DELHI) MA, PHD(NORTHWESTERN)
South Asia: institutions of development, NGOs, social movements; the environment, common property institutions and resource use
Students are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status after their first year.
It is expected that you will meet your assigned Supervisor in your first week at SOAS, and that, in consultation with your Supervisor, you will choose two other academics to serve on your research committee.
During the module of your first year, you are required to attend the Department’s Postgraduate Research Training Seminar. These sessions will provide you with the essential training in research methodology and will assist you in getting started: specifically, they will assist you in writing the constituent components of the ‘upgrade paper’ that you have to submit and defend in a viva in Term 3 of your first year.
Given the wealth of training resources in research methods and other theoretically and empirically relevant postgraduate modules across the Faculty and in other Faculties at SOAS, students are strongly encouraged to audit modules. Additional modules can be invaluable, especially for conceptual or area specific issues or topics, as ways to supplement the training imparted in the MPhil Seminars. The supervisor and the student will discuss at the beginning of the year the most suitable portfolio of training and modules in relation to the topic of the thesis, its main research questions and the setting in which the research will be conducted.
Schedule after the first year
Once students have passed their upgrade, they should immediately proceed with designing the details of the empirical work and organising the drafts written in the module of the first year. As most Development Studies students will embark on fieldwork in their second year, it is important to keep the 3-year time limit in mind, and to not postpone writing chapters until after the completion of fieldwork. Any writing done during that period will save crucial time on return.
Ordinarily, a student would then adhere to the following writing up schedule:
Terms 4, 5 and 6: Fieldwork, and beginning of data processing as well as drawing up of chapter templates;
Summer vacation of the second year, terms 7 and 8: Data analysis and back to literature review to revise initial chapters and producing a full final draft;
Term 9: Reviewing the first draft, complete any required rewriting, and submission of dissertation. There is a possibility of continuation of writing-up after term 9 but the thesis will have to be submitted in any case before the end of the 4th year. This will be the final deadline although the thesis is expected to be finished within three years of full-time active research.
How to apply
How to apply
- Research Admissions and Applications
- 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
- Doctoral School
Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00
Application Deadline: 2016-05-20 17:00
Application Deadline: 2016-01-29 17:00
Application Deadline: 2015-10-30 00:00
Application Deadline: 2016-02-22 17:00
Application Deadline: 2016-05-03 17:00
A Student's Perspective
Robtel Neajai Pailey
SOAS seems to attract students who are both intellectually engaged with the world around them, and committed to making an impact in that world. I wanted to be a part of that magic. For example my cohort group of MPhil/PhD students represent some of the most humble and committed practitioners, activists, and intellectuals I’ve come across in one setting.