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Department of Economics

MSc Development Economics

Duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two years(part-time, daytime only) Three 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.

Overview

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Economics

Start of programme: September intake only

All the courses offered by the Department of Economics approach the subject matter from a development perspective. Students on the MSc Development Economics will complete courses on macro, micro, quantitative methods and growth. In addition, students must take three optional courses and complete a dissertation in an area of applied economics.
The objectives of the programme are:
  • To enable students to apply the principles of economic analysis to the design of economic policy
  • To teach postgraduates the technical and analytical skills to qualify them to practice as professional economists
  • To enable practicing professional economists to improve and update their skills and knowledge
  • To impart the skills and knowledge that enable students to progress towards PhD research
Students will benefit from studying with experts in development economics within the Department. More broadly, students will benefit from the Department's Political Economy of Development seminar series and other open lectures offered in the School.

Structure

The MSc Development Economics is a taught Masters degree, taught within a structures programme being obtained mainly by research and dissertation. It consists of eight course modules delivered through lectures, classes, and tutorials and an 8,000-word dissertation. The degree is awarded on the basis of examinations written in May and a dissertation which is submitted in September. All students must complete and pass the Basic Mathematics and Statistics course which is taught over three weeks in August/ September before the start of the core courses of the MSc.

The structure of the modules for this programme is similar to the MSc Economics with reference to a certain area courses except that students have three modules for their options. A complete list of courses in the programme is listed below, not all of which are offered in any single year. Please note that some courses may be taught in other departments of the School. CORE All students need to choose eight courses from the list below. A 8,000-word dissertation on an approved topic is compulsory and is in addition to the taught courses. The structure is as follows:

Core Courses
ANY THREE OF THE FOLLOWING:

Subject to availability, but not two regional options from the same region

Regional Courses
Optional courses

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning

Teaching & Learning

The MSc includes eight taught modules plus a preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics and an 8,000-word dissertation.

The courses are taught in seminar groups and lectures. The degrees are awarded on the basis of assessed coursework, examinations and the dissertation.

The MSc degrees are taught over a period of twelve months of full-time study within a structured programme. In the case of part-time study, the degrees will be taught over two or three years. Four modules are studied each year, with the dissertation normally being completed in the second year.

Lectures

Most courses involve a 50-minute 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 and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.

Dissertation

Students are required to complete an 8,000-word dissertation in applied economics.

Learning Resources

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.

Pre Entry Reading

Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics Course

Our MSc programmes attract students with a wide range of backgrounds including many who have worked for a few years before coming to SOAS. Our popular quantitative courses are designed to be accessible to all of our students including those with a relatively small quantitative component in their first degree. Our well-received quantitative courses focus on applying basic methods used in empirical research. They equip students to carry out their own high quality empirical work and critically evaluate research, with relatively little emphasis on advanced econometric theory and mathematical proofs.

Our quantitative methods teaching begins with a three-week preliminary course in mathematics, statistics and computing.  The objective of the course is to review the basic quantitative skills assumed once formal teaching commences. This course is compulsory. Further details.

Destinations

A postgraduate degree in Development Economics from SOAS equips students with a range of important skills to continue in the field of research as well as a portfolio of widely transferable employability skills valued by a wide range of employers. These include numeracy, analytical thinking and general skills such as organisation and effective communication skills. In addition the study of Economics gives students particular problem solving skills including: abstraction, analysis, quantification, strategic thinking and adaptability. 

Postgraduate students from the SOAS MSc in Development Economics have followed successful have followed successful careers in both academic work and also in international banking and financial analysis, in national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-government
organisations. 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 have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

African Development Bank
Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Department For Communities And Local Government
Department for International Development
Department of Foreign Affairs
Emerging Markets Direct
European Commission
Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Ghana Education Service
Government of Pakistan
HM Treasury
Institute for Social and Economic Studies (IESE)
International Climate Change Economics
Ministry of East African Community Affairs
National Bank of Bahrain
Overseas Development Institute
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
The National Economics University
UNICEF
United Nations Development Programme
World Bank

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

Barrister
Development Economist
Broadcast Journalist
Fair Trade Producer Support Manager
Latin America Country Risk Analyst
Economic Adviser
Senior Policy Officer
Deputy Commissioner
Research Fellow
Advocacy Officer
Consultant - Development Sector Practice
Senior Policy Economist
ODI Fellow
Research Officer
Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist
Operations Manager
Web Writer & Founder

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

A Student's Perspective

The Economics MSc offered by SOAS is unique in a number of ways. We house some of the most respected heterodox economists in the world, who respect and engage with every student. At SOAS you are encouraged to not play by the rules, and the level of critique of both theory and empirics at which you are expected to engage makes the programme like no other in the UK. The variety of course options, from hard-core microeconomics to economics of the environment, means that all interests are covered. This, for me, is truly special.

Damian Burns