Programme Code: L905 BA/DevS
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
Have you got a passion for addressing the major issues and challenges facing today’s global community? The BA Development Studies programme draws upon the significant expertise of our academic staff. This exciting programme examines key topics in international development, while analysing the roles and impact of a wide variety of regional and international actors. By the time you graduate, you will have cultivated a deep knowledge of the causes of - and responses to - poverty, marginalisation and vulnerability in developing countries and the process of dramatic social, economic and political change.
Why study Development Studies at SOAS?
- we are specialists within the humanities including in key topics such as international development, gender development, violence and conflict, environmental sustainability, the role of aid and trade in promoting development, as well as refugees and forced migration
- our staff have unrivalled practical knowledge across the discipline and regularly inform organisations such as the UN, NGOs and international governments
- as well as the curriculum knowledge you will also obtain a rich historical and cultural knowledge about the countries and regions in which you may work in
- you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our Open Options modules to take advantage of the expertise of our other departments, including the opportunity to learn a language
- we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a language at SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities
Apply now via UCAS or visit our upcoming Open Day.
Find out more about how to apply.
Find out more about our Development Studies department page.
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Students take 120 credits per year composed of core and optional modules, which allows for students to design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.
- Introductions to key issues in international development, such as gender and development; violence and conflict; environment and development; the role of aid and trade in promoting development; refugees and forced migration
- Exploring the history of development, and the interaction of changing theories of development with practice and policy
- The possibility of undertaking an independent study project, researching a development studies related topic of your own choosing
- The opportunity to specialise through a range of options
Students take three core modules (90 credits) in Development Studies, in addition to 30 credits of Open Options (these are chosen from a list of SOAS modules in a subject or language other than those named in the student's degree title).
Students take three core modules (60 credits), in addition to at least 30 credits of Development Studies options. They then take either a further 30 credits of Development Studies options; 30 credits of Economics and Politics options; any Year Two Geography module at Kings College London; any Level 5 Language; or 30 credits of Open Options.
Year Two Development Studies Options
Year Two Economics Options
N.B. 153400003 Introduction to Economic Analysis is a prerequisite for all of the options below.
Year Two Politics Options
Year Two Geography Courses (KCL)
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Students take 120 credits of Development Studies, Economics and Politics options, and any Year Two Geography module at Kings College London; of which 30 credits may be Open Options. Please note that Final Year students may not take any introductory level modules, including Languages.
Year Three Development Studies Options
Year Three Economics Options
Year Three Politics Options
Year Three Geography Courses (KCL)
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Teaching & Learning
Our teaching and learning approach is designed to support and encourage students in their own process of self-learning, and to develop their own ideas, responses and critique of international development practice and policy. We do this through a mixture of lectures, and more student-centred learning approaches (including tutorials and seminars). Teaching combines innovative use of audio-visual materials, practical exercises, group discussions, and guided reading as well as conventional lecturing. Assessment of most modules is through a combination of coursework and written examination.
The introductory and core modules provide the solid disciplinary grounding, whilst options allow students to develop deeper expertise in areas of their own interest. In their final year, students have the opportunity to complete either an Independent Study Project, an extended 10,000 word essay, supervised by one of the Department staff; or an assessed Professional Placement.
All full-time undergraduate programmes consist of 120 credits per year, in modules of 30 or 15 credits. They are taught over 10 or 20 weeks. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study (see Approaches to teaching and learning at SOAS). It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. In the Department of Development Studies, most undergraduate modules have a 2-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial every week. A few modules, which are jointly taught with PG students, have a 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial every week.
More information is on the page for each module.
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
The degree structure allows students to develop their understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised, with specific focus on violence and conflict, the role of aid, refugees and forced migration.
Skills gained include:
- specialist knowledge of human rights, international development and politics
- the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning
- analytical skills
- problem-solving skills
- the ability to formulate sound arguments
- ability to interpret and explain complex information clearly
- communication and presentation skills
Graduates go on to work in development planning and in government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Other career paths include journalism, the civil service, banking and the social and educational services. Others are interested in specialising further through postgraduate studies, not only in Development Studies, but also in Economics, Politics, Social Anthropology, Law, Geography, History and Languages.
Find out more about Development Studies Graduate Destinations
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
- BBC World Service
- British Council
- British Red Cross
- Department for International Development (DfID)
- Palestine Red Crescent Association
- Save the Children
- UNICEF Ethiopia
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Coordinator of Education
- Development Policy Officer
- Freelance Broadcast Journalist
- Human Rights Officer
- Manager of Fundraising, Communications and Administration
- Marketing Analyst
- Project Support Officer
- Resourcing Executive
A Student's Perspective
Katherine Wycisk, Wake Forest University
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.