Minimum 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.
Start of programme: February / May
Mode of Attendance: Distance Learning
The global community faces problems of poverty and profound environmental change that are interconnected in complex and dynamic ways. As the Sustainable Development Goals acknowledge, in an increasingly integrated world, any development agenda must be a global one with shared responsibilities for all countries. However, the idea of sustainable development, that underpins the post-2015 development agenda, is also a controversial concept that requires critical examination.
The rationale for this innovative programme of study lies in the global environmental and development challenges that have been articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear that solutions to the challenge of sustainable development require holistic, integrated and co-ordinated actions across a very wide range of sectors, and will increasingly require a multidisciplinary approach. This programme aims to provide students with a broad grounding in the main concepts associated with sustainable development, but also provides the opportunity to specialise in one area in greater depth.
This programme provides a theoretical basis for understanding the evolution, meanings and use of the concept of sustainable development and it will help you to gain practical research experience. You will also acquire the skills needed to understand current environmental, development and sustainability issues and debates.
The aims of the programme are:
- to provide students with the skills necessary to analyse and interpret current issues and debates related to sustainable development
- to enhance knowledge and understanding for decision- and policy-making on sustainable development issues
- to enhance students' critical, analytical, and integrative skills for responding to sustainable development challenges
- to provide research training and experience in relation to sustainable development
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.
||3 or 4
||4 or 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)
Elective modules by specialisms
International Environmental Law
Natural Resource Management
Rural Development and Change
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.
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)
|Minimum registration period
|Minimum registration period
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
1 x elective module
||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.
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.
Graduates of this programme will have a wide range of backgrounds and will typically find work in:
- government ministries and other public sector organisations concerned with policy analysis in the fields of sustainable development and environmental planning
- international and non-governmental organisations concerned with the sustainable dimensions of economic change
- consultancies and development projects concerned with issues of sustainability and analyses of the interface between environment and poverty
- applied research and teaching in institutions of research and higher education
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.
How to Apply
Not ready to apply? Take a look at our guides on applying below:
The deadlines for applications are as follows:
||1 November 2017
||30 March 2018
||30 November 2017
||13 April 2018
||5 February 2018
||21 May 2018
||30 September 2018
||30 September 2018
Your completed application will be reviewed by a member of academic staff. If your application is successful, we will send you an official offer within ten working days and you will be asked to submit the relevant supporting documentation. Once in receipt of our offer, we recommend submitting your documents immediately.
Supporting documentation for applications
Applicants will be required to provide the following supporting documentation giving evidence of the following:
- Full name and date of birth
- Qualifications (including English language proficiency, where required)
For details about the acceptable forms of evidence, along with information about getting your documents verified, please visit the supporting documents page.
It is your responsibility to arrange for all the necessary documentation to be obtained in support of your application. We cannot undertake this on your behalf.
Please note that, if necessary, we reserve the right to verify your qualifications with the relevant awarding body and to request further information from you about your background.
All supporting documentation must be received by the application deadline.
Please send your supporting documents to the following address:
Centre for Development, Environment and Policy
SOAS University of London
London, WC1H 0XG