Applicants apply for the MSc Development Studies programme but can decide to follow the Contemporary India Pathway upon arrival by choosing the combination of modules required for this pathway (see Structure tab).
We welcome applications from those who have worked in a broad field of development, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, development issues in Contemporary India.
Students taking the Contemporary India Pathway will develop a specialist understanding of Development Studies in the context of Contemporary India. Development issues in Contemporary India are a major focus of NGO and international organisations that work in the India. SOAS' recognised strengths in this area, including the establishment of the SOAS South Asia Institute, makes this a unique and exciting opportunity for those interested in Contemporary India.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
- Subjects Preferred: Social Science
- One calendar year (full-time) Two (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.
- UK/EU fees:
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2019/20 entrants. This is a Band 3 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page
Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.
Applicants apply for, and will be formally enrolled on, the MSc Development Studies programme. Students wishing to follow the Contemporary India Pathway will take two core modules ‘Political Economy of Development’ and ‘Theory, Policy and Practice of Development’, one module specific to Contemporary India and a dissertation (which must be written on a Contemporary India-related topic). In addition, students have a choice of option modules.
The degree offers students the opportunity to take up a 2-4 week placement in India or with a London-based organisation during the course of their studies. This is an optional and self-funded opportunity.
If the following combination of core modules has been successfully completed, students may request that the following specialism appears on their final degree transcript: 'MSc Development Studies with special reference to Contemporary India'.
Please note that not all option modules may run every year. Modules at other institutions (intercollegiate) are not part of the approved programme structure.
Students can take this programme part-time over 2 or 3 years. Students usually complete their core modules in Year 1 and their option modules and dissertation in subsequent years.
All students must take the following two core modules
Students take the following compulsory module
All students will the final 30 credits take from EITHER
Modules to the value of 30 credits from the list of Development Studies guided option modules below
Modules to the value of 30 credits from the open option module list from another department
OR a combination of
A 15 credit module from the list of Development Studies guided option modules below
A 15 credit module from the open option module list from another department
All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term, non-assessed module Economics for Beginners, which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.
List of Development Studies modules (subject to availability)
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
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.
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 weekly guided reading and discussions, as well as conventional lecturing.
In addition to the taught part of the masters programme, all students will write a 10,000 word dissertation. Students develop their research topic under the guidance and supervision of an academic member of the Department. Students are encouraged to explore a particular body of theory or an academic debate relevant to their programme through a focus on a particular region.
All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. 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, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. 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. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.
This is a Band 3 tuition fee.
Fees for 2019/20 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.
||Part-time 2 Years
||Part-time 3 Years
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
A postgraduate degree from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS will further develop your understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised, with an emphasis on transferable analytical skill. These skills have been of great benefit to the many graduates who have taken up professional careers in development in international organisations,
government agencies and non-government organisations. This, in addition to your detailed subject knowledge, will also equip you with a set of other specific skills, including: critical skills; the ability to research extensively; a high level of cultural awareness; and the ability to solve problems.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
BBC World Service
British Embassy Brussels
Department for International Development
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
Embassy of Japan
Government of Pakistan
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
International Labour Organization (ILO)
National Health and Medical Research Council
|Overseas Development Institute
Public Sector Reform Unit - Government of Sierra Leone
Republic of Mozambique National Parliament
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Save the Children UK
The World Bank
Thinking Beyond Borders
U.S. Department of State
UN World Food Programme
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Global Communications Director
Director for Climate Change and Environment
Head of Research and Consultancies
Regional OVC programme coordinator
Head of Operations
Desk Officer on Pakistan Affairs
Partnership Liaison Officer
Fundraising and Communications Manager
Development Policy Officer
Human Rights Officer
Country Director - Indonesia
Relationship Banker - Africa Desk
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
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.