SOAS University of London

SOAS student wins HART Human Rights Award 2016

Pankhuri Agarwal, MSc Development Studies student at SOAS University of London has won the HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust) Human Rights Award 2016 with her group the Storygraphersfor their documentary ‘Freedom Matters’.
The documentary ‘Freedom Matters—a call for action against human trafficking’ features Nobel Peace Laureate 2014 Dr Kailash Satyarthi, and Indian cinema actor and director Ms Kalki Koechlin. It shows simple steps that each person, irrespective of professional or educational background, can take against one of the largest organized transnational crimes today, human trafficking.

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Studying Undergraduate Development Studies at SOAS

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Studying Postgraduate Development Studies at SOAS

Facts and figures

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


  • 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


  • 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

  • "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.

  • "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.

  • "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.

  • "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.

  • "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.

  • "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

  • "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.

  • "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.

  • "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!

  • "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!

  • "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.

  • "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

  • "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 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.

  • "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.

Read more alumni and student stories
SOAS academic helps to secure £5m Research England Grant

Dr Michael Jennings, Head of the Department of Development Studies at SOAS University of London, will be taking the lead on the SOAS contribution to a £4.96m project, as part of the Bloomsbury Set consortium, led by the Royal Veterinary College. The project is funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF).

SOAS rises again in QS rankings

SOAS University of London has risen among the world’s elite institutions in the 2018 QS World University Rankings with four of its subject areas across a broad range of disciplines ranked amongst the world’s top 25.


Insight Day at SOAS
Insight Day at SOAS

An invitation only event for prospective undergraduate students who have received an offer from SOAS

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