Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)
MSc in Managing Rural Development
Distance Learning Programme
2017 Entry requirements
- Teaching and Learning
- Fees and funding
For the MSc in Managing Rural Development students will take:
- 4 core modules
- 3 elective modules*
- 2 research modules
* including one free choice from across all programmes (subject to approval on the Programme Convenor)
- Economics and Institutions for Development (P516) [this module must be taken in the first year]
- Gender & Social Development (P540)
- Management in Rural Development (P531)
- Rural Development (P530)
- Energy and Development (P132)
- Agricultural Policy and Trade (P102)
- Understanding Poverty (P519) OR Managing Knowledge and Communication for Development (P523)
- Food Security and Social Protection (P525)
- Water Resources Management (P526)
- Rural Finance (P528)
- NGO Management (P532)
- Project Planning & Management (P534)
- Socioeconomics of Rural Livelihoods (P535) (closed for new enrolment)
- Marketing for Small Agribusinesses (P538) (closed for new enrolment)
- One module selected from another programme, with the approval of the Programme Convenor
- Research methods (P506)
- Dissertation (P541)
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. Printed material and tutorial support may be provided at cost.
Teaching and Learning
Teaching & Learning
1. 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.
2. 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|
|Maximum registration period||5 years||5 years||5 years|
When can I study?
You can begin your studies in either February or June. The examinations for all students are in October. The study periods are 30 weeks for students starting in February and 15 weeks for those starting in June.
How many hours a week?
For the 30 week study period starting in February, you will need to allocate 5–6 hours of study time per module, per week. For students starting their studies in June with the shorter 15 week session, 10–12 hours per module, per week is recommended.
How many modules can I take per study year?
We strongly recommend that students should take only one or two modules in their first year, so that they can adjust to studying at a distance, whilst combining this with work and family life.
Students wishing to complete an MSc in two years they will need to enrol/pay for three core modules and both Research Methods and the Dissertation in the first year although the Dissertation is written and submitted in the second year. Please contact your programme convenor by email.
How you will be assessed
For each module you will sit a two-hour unseen examination held on a specific date in October, worth 80% of your total module mark. There is also an Examined Assignment (worth 20% of the total module mark) which is submitted during the study year and marked by your tutor.
Examinations are held in students’ countries of residence, using the University of London’s network of approved Overseas Examination Authorities. Fees for taking examinations at all examination centres other than London are the responsibility of the student.
Assignments are submitted to CeDEP electronically via the online learning environment.
Assessment of the Research Component
The Research Methods module (P506) and the Dissertation (P541) are not assessed through final written examinations. These two modules constitute the Research Component of an MSc and are assessed entirely by submitted coursework.
4. Research Component
In order to qualify for an MSc, it is mandatory for CeDEP students to pass the Research Component.
The Research Component comprises two of the nine modules necessary for completion of an MSc. These are a Research Methods module (P506) and the Dissertation (P541). The modules are assessed as follows:
- P506 through two examined assignments submitted during the study year
- P541 through a 10,000 word dissertation
The Research Component is studied over two consecutive years. The Research Methods module (P506) must be studied and successfully passed before the Dissertation module (P541). This is because it provides skills and techniques which will assist with the subsequent development and conduct of your research and preparation of your dissertation. Students are required to enrol and pay for P506 and P541 at the same time.
The dissertation is usually carried out during the final year of registration with CeDEP. Students conduct 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. Background reading and preparation of the proposal take place between the October exams and commencement of the final study year in February.
Fees and funding
Career prospects for graduates
Students on this programme have a wide range of backgrounds and may include (but are not limited to) agronomists, engineers, veterinary personnel, economists, anthropologists, sociologists,educationalists, health professionals, community development workers, managers, and others.
Typically they will find work in:
- development projects, frequently focused on rural and particularly agricultural enterprises and on the households associated with these enterprises
- aid agencies and non-governmental organisations concerned with rural change
- programmes concerned with health, nutrition, communications and other rural development issues
- government ministries and other public sector organisations concerned with the rural sector
- consultancies related to a wide range of programmes and projects
A Student's Perspective
I researched many online programs in US, Canada, and UK, but I found that the SOAS CeDEP Master of Science is the one that suited my needs best, in terms of quality, content, flexibility and finances.
How to Apply
Not ready to apply? Take a look at our guides on applying below:
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.