[skip to content]

Department of Economics

Key facts

  • one of the UK’s largest concentrations of development economists
  • technical and regional expertise in the economies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • unique depth and range of regional coverage in research

Our strengths

A wide range of technical and regional expertise, specialising in development and the economies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. A special feature of the Department is our orientation towards Political Economy and heterodox approaches to Economics. We also have strengths in economic theory and econometrics. The international character of our faculty and students encourages an array of perspectives on our regions and the world as a whole.

Facts and figures

  • strengths are recognised internationally
  • strong links with Departments of Economics in universities in Asia and Africa, including Renmin University in China.
  • The SOAS library is an important resource, containing a unique collection of literature on Asia and Africa, as well as a wide selection of books relating to economics and development economics. In addition, we are close to other main libraries, including libraries in the University of London, the Overseas Development Institute, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, and the British Library.
  • 86% overall satisfaction (NSS 2013) from our undergraduates
  • 15th for Economics in UK, 3rd for student-staff ratio (Guardian Good University Guide 2014),
  • formal lectures and small seminar and tutorial classes
  • UG Applicant/Place Ratio 13:1
  • Number of Staff: 25 academic, 2 teaching and scholarship, 15 teaching and scholarship (fractional)
  • Specialists in the economics of development and growth focusing on aspects of economic theory that go beyond mainstream paradigms

What our graduates say about us

Lingesh Thayala

My SOAS experience has been nothing less than a great and memorable time. The opportunities in SOAS by getting involved with relevant societies should be taken as this build character and character is what takes you forward in life. The diversity of people through conversations and points of view has been enriching as it has challenged the way I think and this has spilled over at the work place.

Lingesh Thayala, BSc Economics
Read Lingesh's full assessment ...

Contact the Department

For all student inquiries please contact:

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7898 4473
E-mail: economics@soas.ac.uk

Our Head of Department says:

Ulrich Volz

The Department of Economics at SOAS is one of the leading centres for economic research. We have a vibrant research culture driven by staff working on a plethora of issues, but we specialize in the study of developing countries and our work covers an unparalleled range of countries and regions.  We offer a pluralist and applied approach to the study of economics to our students. To be sure, one of our goals is to ensure that all our students graduate with an excellent understanding of mainstream economic theory.  However, we also encourage our students to develop a proper understanding of the limitations of mainstream theory. In so doing, we place great emphasis on introducing our students to the history of economics as a discipline and importantly to some of the alternative, ‘heterodox’ approaches to economic analysis, including Marxist, feminist, and Keynesian perspectives.  At the same time, the work of the department is fundamentally concerned with the application of economics to real world issues and reflecting real policy concerns.  As such, students are encouraged to develop a deep understanding of particular countries and issues, based on concrete analysis of history, institutions and political economy.  This reflects a shared view within the department that economics should be rigorous, reflective and, fundamentally, useful.

Dr Ulrich Volz


Our publications

We have an active Working Paper series and a regular output of publications

Recent staff publications include Professor Jane Harrigan’s book on the impact of food price rises on the Middle East region and its role in the Arab spring. Please see here for further details: The Political Economy of Arab Food Sovereignty


Undergraduate student profile

Aparna Rao - BSc Economics

SOAS is like no other university in the world in terms of the specialisation in the emerging economies. There is no better place to come and study for someone interested in making a difference in the world!

Aparna Rao, BSc Economics

Read Aparna's full assessment ...

Forthcoming Events