SOAS University of London

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BA Development Studies at SOAS

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Studying Undergraduate Development Studies at SOAS

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Studying Postgraduate Development Studies at SOAS

Facts and figures

92%
student satisfaction for teaching and 90% student satisfaction overall (National Student Survey 2015)

Teaching

  • In 2016-17 we celebrated 25 years of teaching Development Studies at SOAS, making us one of the oldest and best established programmes in the country.
  • BA Development Studies (single or combined), seven taught MSc programmesResearch Degrees and Summer Courses
  • Unrivalled expertise of regional development in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.  An outstanding reputation for the study of non-Western development processes and systems of thought
  • 4th in the world (7th in 2017) (QS Rankings 2018)
  • 92% student satisfaction for teaching and 90% student satisfaction overall (National Student Survey 2016)
  • Variety of teaching formats, including lectures, seminars, and one-on-one dissertation tutorials
  • 7:1 UG applicant/place ratio

Research

  • Unrivalled expertise of regional development in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin AmericaAn outstanding reputation for the study of non-Western development processes and systems of thought
  • Research clusters: Labour, Movements and Development; Neoliberalism, Globalisation and States; Violence, Peace and Development; Centre for Water and Development; Migration, Mobility and Development; Agrarian Change and Development; and Development Policy, Aid, Institutions and Poverty Reduction.
  • Many of our staff are regularly engaged in a wide range of research with international development institutions, including United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organisations, and government development departments.

Alumni and student stories

  • "The programme was highly recommended to me by some friends who studied it and went on to excel in their careers afterwards."

    The programme was highly recommended to me by some friends who studied it and went on to excel in their careers afterwards.

  • "Deciding to come here will be one of the greatest decisions you ever make. You will find a warm, welcoming second home in the centre of London."

    Do not be surprised if you discover that you are drinking coffee with a former Malaysian political prisoner, or sitting in a lecture next to a journalist who reported from Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. Both have happened to me. Every single person at SOAS has an interesting story to tell, and adds something unique and valuable to our community. So will you.

  • "It had always been my dream to work in the humanitarian sector but having left school at 16, I lacked the necessary academic background to do so. As it is possible to argue that every humanitarian crisis is intrinsically linked to a contexts underlying development, I wanted to study a degree in International Development to enable me to look at crises holistically."

    It had always been my dream to work in the humanitarian sector but having left school at 16, I lacked the necessary academic background to do so. As it is possible to argue that every humanitarian crisis is intrinsically linked to a contexts underlying development, I wanted to study a degree in International Development to enable me to look at crises holistically.

  • "The course outline fit exactly what areas I wanted to develop professionally as a Monitoring and Evaluation professional."

    The course outline fit exactly what areas I wanted to develop professionally as a Monitoring and Evaluation professional.

  • "The best way to find something to do is to follow the weekly SOAS student email, where most student societies and activities are posted."

    It is truly an international place where you meet people from all around the world, practice foreign languages and broaden your knowledge and perspective on life.

  • "The lecturers are passionate about teaching and the students have a passion to learn. "

    My experience of living in London was diverse. London doesn’t seem to lack in anything. My friends and I brought a challenge upon ourselves to find activities which the city could not offer. Fortunately we failed!

  • "SOAS has exceeded my expectations; in fact, I could not be happier with my lecturers and their courses"

    I think the friends I’ve made are the most gratifying part of the study abroad experience. Some of my favourite memories of SOAS come from the late night conversations shared over mugs of tea with my flatmates. Though classes and academics are an important facet of studying at SOAS, I am just so impressed with a number of other SOAS students

  • "Studying at SOAS has been an amazing experience for me that could hardly have been matched by any other university!"

    The campus is just one big condensed version of the globe itself for students from all kinds of ethnic and professional backgrounds!

  • "This programme was a perfect way for me to take my background in philosophy and apply it to a set of real-world problems, as well as urgent questions of how best to investigate those problems. "

    This programme was a perfect way for me to take my background in philosophy and apply it to a set of real-world problems, as well as urgent questions of how best to investigate those problems.

  • "The past two years at SOAS have been most challenging and stimulating at the same time."

    SOAS, with its renown expertise in regional Studies and an emphasis on looking beyond the disciplinary boundaries of standard economic approaches, provides the ideal research environment to tackle questions of regional development in an interdisciplinary and empirically sound manner.

  • "SOAS is a unique University that combines both academic excellence and a vibrant, active and innovative student body."

    SOAS is a unique University that combines both academic excellence and a vibrant, active and innovative student body.

  • "I was keen to enrol onto a masters programme that offered practical skills and knowledge that could be applied in a non-academic professional context"

    I was keen to enrol onto a masters programme that offered practical skills and knowledge that could be applied in a non-academic professional context

  • "To be here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can develop my academic skills and grow personally. My studies have been exciting and rewarding."

    Previously I just dreamed about SOAS. I had some lectures on Africa while studying Social Anthropology in Hungary, and I discovered that my professor had studied at SOAS. This made me work hard to join SOAS.

  • "I wanted to study the MSc Migration, Mobility and Development because it felt like a really innovative programme"

    I wanted to study the MSc Migration, Mobility and Development because it felt like a really innovative programme which would allow me to look at migration through a critical and analytical lens.

  • "With a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology, I did not feel as though I was suitably qualified to follow my career dreams. After doing some research, I found SOAS’s Department of Development Studies and saw that they offered an MSc in Environment, Politics and Development. "

    With a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology, I did not feel as though I was suitably qualified to follow my career dreams. After doing some research, I found SOAS’s Department of Development Studies and saw that they offered an MSc in Environment, Politics and Development.

  • "Above all, being at SOAS is like coming ‘home’. It’s a place where I feel entirely comfortable in my own skin, while also being challenged to question who I am, and what I stand for."

    SOAS seems to attract students who are both intellectually engaged with the world around them, and committed to making an impact in that world. I wanted to be a part of that magic. For example my cohort group of MPhil/PhD students represent some of the most humble and committed practitioners, activists, and intellectuals I’ve come across in one setting.

  • "I had been working for a communications agency for several years prior to going to SOAS, and hadn’t quite found my passion at work. I knew I wanted to work in the field of environmental politics, and I wanted to set myself up for that. "

    I had been working for a communications agency for several years prior to going to SOAS, and hadn’t quite found my passion at work. I knew I wanted to work in the field of environmental politics, and I wanted to set myself up for that.

  • "SOAS provides students with plenty of flexibility to explore their talents and discover new ones"

    Being at SOAS is a privilege I have greatly appreciated academically as well as socially. It really is a gem that surfaces unheard voices and unseen faces

  • "My choice to study at SOAS was the best decision I ever made; being a student here is an exciting and unique experience."

    I have had the chance to read the most up to date, often controversial and revealing perspectives on South Asia, presented by leading academics who will often actually be members of the South Asia Department Faculty itself. My choice to study at SOAS was the best decision I ever made; being a student here is an exciting and unique experience.

  • "The atmosphere at SOAS is incredibly stimulating, and learning in an environment with such a diverse group of engaged students has really made for a very unique learning experience."

    I had studied in an international school in India that focused a lot on extracurricular activities, and going to SOAS seemed like a natural continuation of my studies.

  • "Prior to undertaking the MSc in Development Studies at SOAS, I worked at a private sector organisation as a consultant and researcher."

    Prior to undertaking the MSc in Development Studies at SOAS, I worked at a private sector organisation as a consultant and researcher.

  • "Truly, deeply and sincerely, I love my time at SOAS and I cannot but seriously recommend that you choose to come here. I guarantee you that you will feel like part of the ‘family’ straightaway!"

    Being at SOAS has been one of the most interesting experiences in my life, from both a social and academic point of view. The School has an atmosphere like no other place I have ever been. In fact, after my first visit to the university, I decided that if I did not get my grades, I would not go to any other place!

  • "SOAS has offered me a truly international education that I do not feel I could’ve received anywhere else."

    The course has lived up to my expectations one hundred percent and I have especially valued hearing from the experiences of my fellow students who come from a range of countries and backgrounds, some from academia and others who have worked within NGOs, governments, and large corporations.

  • "I was grateful to be able to continue learning Arabic during my MSc at SOAS and was encouraged by academics to go for relevant opportunities"

    I was grateful to be able to continue learning Arabic during my MSc at SOAS and was encouraged by academics to go for relevant opportunities, including an Erasmus training course on the Euro-Mediterranean region and a UK Irrigation Association-sponsored trip to Morocco.

  • "The Department of Development Studies benefits from world-leading migration specialists engaged in an array of innovative research projects."

    The Department of Development Studies benefits from world-leading migration specialists engaged in an array of innovative research projects.

  • "SOAS is an utterly special institution, unrivalled both in the UK and internationally. It is a space where ideas at the margins of the academic mainstream develop, flourish and spread."

    The Department of Development Studies here is a microcosm for all that is special about SOAS. The critical political economy perspective taken to the many vexed questions of development will give you a way of seeing the world that challenges mainstream thinking.

  • "The flexibility of the department to customize my classes was extremely appreciated so I could focus on the gendered component of globalisation."

    The SOAS Globalisation and Development program brought me a global political element to my past food security background.

  • "I joined the Department of Development Studies at SOAS because of the quality of the course it provides and its critical approach to the industry of international development."

    I joined the Department of Development Studies at SOAS because of the quality of the course it provides and its critical approach to the industry of international development.

  • "Londoners are the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, and one conversation will shatter forever the image of the British as cold and aloof. "

    Walk everywhere, and look around while you do. If you don’t find something interesting within five minutes you’re clearly not looking hard enough.

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