SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Agricultural Economics

Online and Distance Learning Programme

Duration: MSc/PGDip min. 2 years / PGCert min. 1 year

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment
  • How to Apply


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Start of programme: This programme is now closed to new applicants

Mode of Attendance: Online Learning

This programme provides students with the essential tools required for theoretical and empirical economic analysis, particularly in relation to the renewable natural resources sector. It aims to equip students with the rigorous technical skills that are generic to the field of agricultural economics, while maintaining a focus on applications rather than abstract analysis. Students are able to take modules orientated towards development, production, marketing, policy, and economic transition. The course is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as an agricultural economist or to undertake higher studies within this area.

The programme will facilitate the development of:

  • an extended knowledge of contemporary economic theory
  • the skills to analyse problems concerning choice and resource allocation on national and international markets
  • the ability to access and synthesise the relevant economic literature to undertake further research or study in the field of agricultural economics
  • the skills to communicate the results of economic analysis to interested parties


Phone: +44 (0)20 7074 5003


Agricultural Economics is available as a Master of Science, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate. The table below outlines the programme structure of each level.

Core Elective Research Duration
MSc 4 3* 2 2-5
PGDip 4 4* 2-5
PGCert 3 1* 1-5

* including one free choice from across all programmes (subject to approval on the Programme Convenor)

Students are advised to consult the module withdrawal schedule for 2018-2022, that is published on the VLE.

Core modules
Elective modules
Research component (MSc only)
Strengthening quantitative skills

It is recommended that students whose basic quantitative analysis skills are weak should also take a non-examined module: Quantitative methods (CF04) at or near the start of their studies. Study materials may be obtained from CeDEP’s online learning environment.

Registration period

Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc Students are registered for a maximum of five years, as per the University of London International Programme Regulations. If a student upgrades from a PG Certificate to PG Diploma or PG Diploma to MSc the five year registration period will apply from the date the students commences study on the first programmes.


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Academic level

All CeDEP programmes are taught to Master’s (Second Cycle) level, which involves building upon existing knowledge and understanding typically associated with the Bachelor’s (First Cycle) level or its equivalent. Study at Master’s level requires:

  • originality in developing and/or applying ideas, and extending or enhancing previous learning
  • application of knowledge and understanding, including problem solving in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts
  • integration of knowledge and handling of complexity
  • formulating judgements with incomplete or limited information, including reflection on social and ethical responsibilities
  • clear and unambiguous communication of conclusions, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • learning skills to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous.

Prospective students should note that distance education of this kind demands a high degree of commitment, determination and self-discipline. Whilst CeDEP provides significant support through the tutorial system and by other means, students taking on programmes of this nature should possess a strong measure of self-reliance.

Study Expectations

How long will it take?

For students in full time employment, the MSc and Postgraduate Diploma usually take three or four years to complete and the Certificate 2 years.

Master of Science (MSc)
Postgraduate Diploma Postgraduate Certificate
Minimum registration period 2 years 2 years 1 years
Minimum registration period 5 years 5 years 5 years

Below is a recommended progression pathway for those intending to complete an MSc in three years:

1st Year 2nd Year 2nd Year
3rd Year

3 x core modules

1 x core module

Research Methods
1 x elective module

Dissertation 2 x elective modules

Students wishing to register for more than three modules in their first year should satisfy their academic programme convenor that their personal circumstances will allow sufficient study time for this on a weekly basis (e.g. those students not in employment or in part-time employment).

When can I study?

The study session begins in February and runs for 30 weeks.


Examination arrangements
Due to Covid-19, written exams are currently online take-home format rather than in person at exam centres in your country. Submission is via a separate University of London Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
Assessment of the Research Component

The Research Component comprises two modules:

  1. Research Methods, and
  2. Dissertation.

Research Methods is assessed through two examined assignments (each worth 50% of the module mark) submitted during the study year.

The Dissertation is assessed through a proposal (worth 20% of the module mark) submitted in February, followed by a 10,000 word dissertation (worth 80% of the module mark) submitted in September.

In order to qualify for an MSc, it is mandatory for CeDEP students to pass the Research Component.

Research Component (MSc students only)

The Dissertation is usually carried out during the final year of registration, once all core modules and the Research Methods module are complete.

The Research Methods module provides skills and techniques which will assist with the subsequent development and conduct of your research and preparation of your Dissertation. Research Methods can only be studied in the February study session. Therefore, if you are intending to complete your MSc in two years, you must register for Research Methods alongside your core modules in February of your first year.

You can apply to study the Dissertation once

  • you have completed all your core modules and Research Methods, or
  • you have submitted all the relevant assignments and exams, and are awaiting results.

 You will be required to submit a short topic form, outlining your initial ideas for your Dissertation research, when you make your application.

The Dissertation involves conducting desk or field-based research in a relevant topic of their choice. All research topics are subject to approval and each student is assigned a personal supervisor. The period between November and February is used for background reading and preparation of the assessed proposal, after which the main research work takes place.



Career prospects for graduates

Typically, graduates of this programme will find work as applied economists in the following fields:

  • government ministries undertaking work in agricultural policy analysis
  • public and private sector companies involved in upstream and downstream agricultural industries
  • international and non-governmental organisations concerned with the economic analysis of agricultural sector issues
  • applied research and teaching in institutions of research and higher education


How to Apply

This programme is now closed to new applicants.