SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty (MSc RID)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

This module is only available to students enrolled on the MSc Research for International Development programme.

The aim of this module is to enable students to understand and evaluate major policy debates on the role of agriculture in development. To do so, the module will consider in some depth the relevant theoretical and empirical literature on the necessity for structural change in agriculture-dependent societies; the operation of agricultural factor and commodity markets, including international markets; the nature of rural societies and the characterisation of farmers; the nature of food markets and the role of agriculture in improving welfare. Both mainstream and heterodox approaches will be investigated.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to understand the major and minor strands in debates on agriculture and development. Students will be able to analyse and compare mainstream and heterodox approaches. They will be able to apply both theory and methodology in constructing a critical analysis of the issues for a particular country.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

This module will be delivered alongside the parallel module 'Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty', worth 22.5 CATS credits. Students will have the opportunity to attend all lectures and tutorials, but the assessed component will be approximately 75% of the 22.5 CATS credits syllabus. Material delivered in the lectures and tutorials which is NOT examinable will equate to two of the ten weeks of the module, and will be identified by the module convenor and communicated to students at the start the module.

Method of assessment

60% Examination; 40% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit  an essay of no more than 4000 words worth 40% of the overall grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules