SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

MPhil/PhD in Development, Environment & Policy (2020 entry)

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Please note, the PhD in Development, Environment and Policy is now full for September 2020 entry and is closed to new applications

The MPhil/PhD in Development, Environment and Policy provides advanced training and research experience at a doctoral level in the areas at the intersection of development, environment and policy. The programme is particularly focused on the following:

  • environment, energy and development, including climate change and development and the land-water-energy nexus
  • sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food systems and agriculture-health linkages
  • agricultural, energy and climate policy.

A key feature of the programme is an emphasis on interdisciplinarity – our students are encouraged to blend concepts, tools and methods from across disciplines, eg. economics and nutrition; politics and geography. This is enhanced by our location in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, with its mission to strengthen interdisciplinarity within SOAS. Our students also benefit from CeDEP’s strong links with other Bloomsbury colleges of the University of London such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and cross-college institutions such as the London International Development Centre (LIDC) and the London Centre for Integrative Research in Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).

For all queries regarding applications and proposals please contact Bhavani Shankar:

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We welcome applications from qualified students holding a good Master’s-level degree (or overseas equivalent) in a subject relevant to the Centre's core interests in development, environment and policy. Typically, we would expect applicants to have some background in the social sciences and to demonstrate high academic achievement in their previous studies.

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Year 1

In Year 1, students will audit two postgraduate modules, which can be on-campus or online modules. One of these would be a Research Methods module, and could be the CeDEP online module in Research Methods. Auditing a Research Methods module from another SOAS department/centre, eg. from the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, or Development Studies or Economics departments is also possible, contingent on places being available.

This second module is a free choice from postgraduate modules across SOAS and the Bloomsbury colleges, including online modules, based upon discussion between supervisor and student, and subject to approval by the department/college in question and the module convener. This will provide students the chance to obtain tools and concepts from other disciplines relevant to their thesis.

Students will be expected to attend any classes and seminars associated with these modules, but are not expected to undertake module assessment.

An annual training plan is to be agreed with the lead supervisor in year 1 to help ensure students have the requisite skills to undertake their planned research and produce a thesis of the required academic standard. This plan will clarify modules to be audited as a progression requirement. In addition to the modules audited in year 1, courses may be taken in the first year or later as advised by the supervisor, including short courses offered by the Doctoral School. These may include transferable research skills options: research writing and presentation, generic methods and techniques for data collection and analysis, language support, research integrity, and academic teaching.

By the end of Year 1, students will be expected to have upgraded from MPhil to PhD status by submitting and defending an upgrade proposal.

Year 2 onwards

Year 2 typically involves assembling the data required for the thesis and making progress on the analysis of the data. Many students will undertake a significant spell of fieldwork in order to gather primary data. PhD Researchers must complete the research ethics checklist as part of the upgrade process on PhD Manager. This is subject to Departmental review and possible referral to the Research Ethics Panel. The design and conduct of fieldwork must take into account the 3-year time limit for the PhD. It will be important to make progress on producing first drafts of initial chapters of the thesis during year 2.

Data analysis should ideally be complete by the midpoint of year 3, along with further progress on writing draft chapters. This leaves the last half of the year for revision of drafts and completion of write-up, with submission at the end of year 3. In the occasional case, permission may be sought to continue write-up after year 3; however submission by the end of year 4 is mandatory. The expectation is that the thesis will be submitted within three years.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

MPhil/PhD students will be advised by their supervisory committee, comprised of their main supervisor and another member of academic staff. In some cases, the appointment of a 3rd member of the supervisory committee may be appropriate, particularly where such an appointment will support interdisciplinary aspects of the research. Such appointments may be from other SOAS departments or other colleges in the University of London as appropriate.

PhD students will have regular meetings with their main supervisor, using Skype when face-to-face meetings are not possible. Discussions will often also take place via email between meetings. The modules audited in Year 1 will provide training in research methods and specialist knowledge likely to be of assistance to the research. Students are also strongly encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of seminars, training opportunities and special lectures organised by SOAS as well as other Bloomsbury colleges.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate research tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Research Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Research Degrees Full-time  Part-time 
UK/EU Overseas UK/EU Overseas
MPhil/PhD £4,440 £19,050 £2,220 £9,525
Extension of Writing-up Status - 3 Terms £990 £990 £990 £990
Visiting Research Students (charged pro rata for termly attendance) £4,440 £19,050 -  -
JRC Fuwaku Scholarship

JRC Fuwaku Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2020-05-07 15:00

Meiji Jingu Japanese Studies Research Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2020-05-07 15:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


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    Postgraduate research programme applications should be made through our online application system.

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