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Department of Economics

BSc Development Economics

Programme Code: L170 BSc/DE Duration: 3 years


2016 Entry Requirements

  • A Levels: AAA-AAB
  • including GCSE Maths B
  • IB: 37 (6/6/6)
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAA
  • Irish LC: 360 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 5 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 85%
  • French Bacc: 15/20
  • German Abitur: 1.5
  • Italy DES: 85/100
  • Austria Mat: 1.5
  • Polish Mat: Overall 80% including 3 extended level subjects

Minimum Entry Requirements: Plus a minimum of Grade B at GCSE for those without A-level Maths.

Subjects Preferred: No

Interview Policy: Candidates with ‘non-standard’ qualifications maybe invited

The distinctiveness of the BSc Development Economics degree at SOAS is its application of relevant theoretical concepts to real issues in the countries of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Students develop expertise in essential conceptual apparatus of economics, including the necessary statistical and econometrical tools, and gain a firm understanding of the basic theoretical and analytical issues.

BSc Development Economics is a 3-year single subject degree. It provides a thorough grounding in economic theory and analysis, with an emphasis on the economics of developing countries. Whilst introductory units in Economics are followed in Year 1, students in Years 2 and 3 take more specialised courses dealing with economic theory and economic development as well as courses focusing on specific regions in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. No preliminary knowledge of the subject or of any region is required.

It should be noted that BSc Development Economics is separate from BA Economics and Development Studies. The Development Studies/ Economics combination is a two-subject degree course in which half the courses taken may be outside the Economics department. Students wishing to do BSc Development Economics, however, will take the majority of their courses within the Department of Economics, with ‘open options’ in other departments (i.e. courses in subjects and languages other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title).


Students take 4 units per year, completing a total of 12 units in 3 years. They have some flexibility in constructing their own programme of study. 
Year 1: Students take 3 introductory units in economic theory, quantitative techniques and economic development along with 1 ‘open option’ (i.e. a course at SOAS in a subject or language other than those named in the student’s chosen degree title). 

Year 2: Students take 3 core units in development economics and economics. They also choose 1 optional course from available options, an open option or an intercollegiate course (taken at other universities in London in a economics course not offered at SOAS).

Year 3: Students who have not taken Quantitative Methods for Economists in their years 1 or 2 have to take this course as a core unit in year 3, in addition to three optional courses from the available options. An open option or an intercollegiate course may be taken. Students who have already passed Quantitative Methods for Economists take four optional courses from the available options, one of which may be replaced by either an open option or an intercollegiate course.

In their final year students must take at least two regional development courses in the Economics Department and may take no more than a maximum of three such courses. 

Final year students may not choose ANY first year courses as an open option or intercollegiate course.


Single-subject degree: BSc Development Economics


Year 1
Core Courses
AND depending on mathematics background EITHER:
One Open Option


Year 2
Core Courses
ONE from the following:

Or One Open Option OR Intercollegiate course


Year 3
Core Courses
AND any THREE/FOUR of the following
Optional Courses

Please note that not that all of the optional courses listed below will be available in any one academic year, depending on staff availability and student interest.

Or One Open Option OR Intercollegiate course

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning


An undergraduate degree in Development Economics from SOAS gives students a solid grounding in analytical thinking, statistical and computing skills and knowledge of economic principles and their application to concrete situations. Skills gained from a Development Economics BSc include analytical skills, the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning, and knowing how to present materials and ideas effectively both orally and in writing.

The economics programmes at SOAS are designed to teach students sufficient economics either to obtain employment as professional economists or to go on to postgraduate work in any branch of economics. Graduates from the Department have pursued a variety of successful careers, often with Asian or African links, in international organisations, business and industry, banking, accountancy, journalism, consultancy, teaching and higher education. Many have gone on to read for postgraduate degrees either in the Department’s own thriving masters’ and research degree programmes or elsewhere.

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

Aparat Media
BDEW (Association of German Utilities)
British Embassy
Coutts & Co
Credit Suisse
Danish Energy Management
J&T IB and Capital Markets
Marubeni Corporation
Merrill Lynch
Ministry of National Defence
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
Oxford Policy Management
Press TV - News Anew
Royal Bank of Scotland
Standard Chartered Bank
UK Ministry of Justice
United Nations
Versatile Trading Ltd.
War on Want
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Head of Energy Trading
Political Assistant
Private Banker
Senior Analyst
Indonesia Team Leader
Head of Special Projects
Investment Banking Analyst
Business Development Manager
Freelance Journalist/Producer
Regional Finance Manager
Financial Officer and Accountant
Assistant Economist
International Programmes Officer
Program Coordinator

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

A Student's Perspective

There were several reasons for selecting SOAS; the great reputation of the University of London academic programmes; the flexibility of the learning approach; and the global focus of the case studies used in each module.

Wylie Tolette