Department of Development Studies


Welcome to the Department of Development Studies!

We are ranked second in the world for Development Studies (QS World University Rankings 2022). 

We offer a range of exciting degree programmes on-campus and online, at BA, MSc and PhD levels. Our degrees are inter-disciplinary, combining political-economy, politics, anthropology, and history approaches to analyse processes of development in different contexts around the world.

Our academic staff create an intellectually engaged and challenging space across the many branches of international development and humanitarianism that make up Development Studies.

Our staff specialise in a range of thematic areas including sustainability and climate change, migration and displacement, conflict, humanitarian action, labour, political ecology, and aid and institutions.

Combined with exceptional resources and our interdisciplinary approach, we offer a unique learning and research opportunity for our diverse and vibrant student community.

Meet the academics.

Our Head of Department says ...

Welcome to the Department of Development Studies! We are a department of 30 academics and hundreds of students, and our community of alumni, colleagues and friends is worldwide. The study of processes of development is urgent, complex and long-term. Development Studies places rapidly evolving processes and events in social, political and economic context. This enables scholars to analyse continuities over time, and to identify and explain ruptures and shocks.  Development Studies is a live discipline, and our students and staff are challenged to refine our theoretical and practical understanding of why change happens, how power is exercised and in what ways inequalities can be confronted.

Facts and figures

2nd in the world

QS World University Rankings 2022

4th in UK

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Why choose SOAS for Development Studies?

Our research

The Department of Development Studies is a world-leading research-led department. Our academics and research students work across a wide spectrum of development-related issues that are centrally important to the greatest challenges facing our planet. They include poverty, inequality, income-generation, agrarian relations, neo-liberalism, globalisation, migration, conflict, and environmental sustainability.

  • We produce world-leading research that engages with the most pressing political and social issues of our time.
  • We have unrivalled expertise of regional development in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, and an outstanding reputation for the study of non-Western development processes and systems of thought.
  • You will have access to Research clusters in areas such as: Labour, Movements and Development; Neoliberalism, Globalisation and States; Violence, Peace and Development; Centre for Water and Development; Migration, Mobility and Development; Agrarian Change and Development; and Development Policy, Aid, Institutions and Poverty Reduction.
  • Many of our staff are regularly engaged in a wide range of research with international development institutions, including United Nations agencies, NGOs, and government development departments.
  • For impact case studies or to find out more, please visit the Research section of our website. 

Development Studies Blog

This is the blog of the Department of Development Studies at SOAS University of London. The Department combines unrivalled expertise of regional development in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and Latin America.