- MSc/PGDip min. 2 years / PGCert min. 1 year
Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)
MSc/PGDip/PGCert in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice (2017/18 entry)
Online and Distance Learning Programme
2018 Entry requirements
- A good first degree in an appropriate subject area, as accepted by the University of London, and a high level of English language ability in reading and writing and in study skills.
- Teaching and Learning
- Fees and funding
Start of programme: This programme is now closed to new applicants
Mode of Attendance: Distance Learning
Within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the eradication of extreme poverty remains a central objective of international development efforts. As with the Millennium Development Goals before them, the SDGs recognise that poverty has multiple dimensions and that progress is needed on a number of fronts (economic, social and political) if poverty is to be effectively tackled.
With a focus on rural areas which, despite growing urbanisation, continue to be home to the majority of the world’s poorest people, this programme examines the complex nature of poverty, its causes, and the processes of poverty reduction.
Recent achievements in poverty reduction have varied widely across and within countries, regions, and social groups, permitting lessons to be learned regarding the policies and conditions conducive to success.
Modules within the programme draw on a range of disciplines relevant to the challenges of poverty reduction, including economics, political economy, social development, management, natural resources management and law. You will complete core modules then choose from one of three specialisms. These examine, respectively, policies to promote inclusive growth, the management of natural resources so as to benefit the poor, and ideas and approaches relating to managing organisations tasked with poverty reduction, within their individual cultural, political and technological contexts
The programme aims to equip students with a multi-disciplinary skill set to analyse and address the poverty reduction challenges of this millennium. A number of modules have significant economics content. Depending on the options chosen, other disciplines drawn upon may include management theory, environmental science, political economy or law.
The programme will give students the opportunity to develop
- a critical, inter-disciplinary, integrative and global perspective on poverty reduction issues
- a theoretical approach to intellectual enquiry of poverty reduction issues, which nevertheless emphasises the integration of theory and practice
- a broad understanding of ideas and approaches for managing organisations within their cultural, political, technological, social, and institutional contexts, to solve problems related to poverty reduction
- practical issue-oriented research skills, drawing on knowledge and understanding developed in their studies
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7898 4050
Agricultural Economics is available as a Master of Science, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate. The table below outlines the programme structure of each level.
|PGDip||3 or 4||4 or 5*||2-5|
* At least 3 from one specialism, plus free choice from all specialisms
** Including one free choice from across all programmes (subject to approval on the Programme Convenor)
- Understanding Poverty (compulsory)
- Economics and Institutions for Development
- Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development
- Climate Change and Development
Elective modules by specialisms
- Rural Development (this module will run until 2018)
- Rural Finance (this module will run until 2018)
- NGO Management
- Project Planning and Management
- Gender and Social Inequality
- Agricultural Policy and Trade
- Energy and Development
- Food Security and Social Protection
- Political Economy of Public Policy
- Rural Finance (this module will run until 2018)
Natural Resource Management
- Water Resources Management
- Sustainable Land Management (this module will run until 2018)
- Environmental Science and Management
- Natural Resource Economics
- Biodiversity, Conservation and Development
- International Environmental Law
- One module selected from another programme, with the approval of the Programme Convenor
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 virtual learning environment.
Individual Professional Award students are registered for two years, programmes can be upgraded to a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc. The registration will then be extended by five years.
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
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.
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:
(February / May)
(February / May)
(February / May)
|3 x core modules||
1 x core 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?
You can begin your studies in either February or May. The examinations for all students are in late September or early October. The study periods are 30 weeks for students starting in February and 15 weeks for those starting in May.
How many hours a week?
For the 30 week study period starting in February, you will need to allocate 5 hours of study time per module, per week. For students starting their studies in May with the shorter 15 week session, 10 hours per module, per week is recommended.
How you will be assessed
The final assessment for each module is a two-hour unseen examination held on a specific date in late September or early October. This exam is worth 80% of your total module mark.
The remaining 20% of your mark is determined by an Examined Assignment. This assignment is submitted during the study year and marked by your tutor. Assignments are submitted to CeDEP electronically via the virtual learning environment.
Examinations are held in students’ countries of residence, using the University of London’s network of approved Overseas Examination Authorities. Fees for taking examinations are the responsibility of the student.
Assessment of the Research Component
The Research Component comprises two modules:
- Research Methods, and
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.
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.
Fees and funding
Pay as you Learn
Our distance learning programmes can be paid in full at the time of enrolment or on a pay as you learn basis. Pay as you learn means you only pay for the module you are enrolling on.
If you have been a resident in England for 3 years you may be eligible. Click here to learn more.
Alternatively, we recommend students approach their local British Council, British High Commission or British Embassy, for information on local funding.
Dependent on nationality, employment circumstances and other factors, funding and sponsorship sources can include:
- United Nations (UNESCO, FAO, UNDP, UNEP etc)
- Bilateral Aid Agencies (SIDA, GTZ, etc)
- European Union
- British Council
- UK Department for International Development / Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- Educational and other charitable trusts
As with all Centre for Development, Environment and Policy programmes, the Poverty Reduction programme is designed to assist both existing development professionals and people moving into the field of international development. For the former, the programme offers a chance to upgrade and update their expertise, and to reflect systematically and in depth on their accumulated experience in the light of up-to-date theory and literature. It is anticipated that most graduates of this programme will find work in:
- government ministries and other public sector organisations concerned with policy analysis and implementation for poverty reduction
- international and non-governmental organisations concerned with issues of poverty reduction
- consultancies and development projects involved in activities promoting poverty reduction
Particular opportunities may be related to the choice of specialisms in natural resources management, agricultural and rural development, or development management
A Student's Perspective
SOAS has given me the space to ask questions of myself and of my studies which I hadn’t had before, it gives you the academic and ideological freedom to explore your own ideas. This has been really important for me, and changed the way I address challenges and experiences more generally.
Find out more
- By phone:
- +44 (0)20 7898 4098
- By email:
Got a question?
If you still have questions about this programme or studying at SOAS get in touch.
CeDEP distance learning applications should be made through our online application form.