SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Labour, Activism and Development (2022 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
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Overview

Overview and entry requirements

Students are encouraged to examine critically the relationship between labour, capitalism, development and poverty. We investigate labour in the contemporary social and economic development of the Global South as well as established and emerging social movements of labour in local, national and international spaces. You will learn to identify and evaluate the relationship between collective agency, policy and vice-versa.

We work in a seminar/tutorial formats that encourage critical thinking and participation via an emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice. Programme lecturers are not just research active.

We are also activists and have experience of participation in labour and social movements across the world - Latin America, Africa and Asia and Europe and have on-going contacts with such movements as well as with NGOs and international organisations.

See Department of Development Studies

Why study MSc Labour, Activism and Development at SOAS

  • we are ranked number 5 in the QS World University Rankings in the subject of Development Studies
  • SOAS is ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for producing a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research
  • our staff are well-placed to work with you on applying a deep understanding of collective movements to the challenge of working in development, development-related organisations and beyond into education and corporate social responsibility at various levels and scales
  • students can draw on SOAS’s unique experience to specialise further in particular regions and topics. Regional expertise at SOAS allows students of MSc in Labour, Activism and Development to specialise in some of the most dynamic parts of the developing world
  • students also benefit from the wide range of modules on offer, both within the department and across the School, allowing them to create individualised interdisciplinary programmes
  • the programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills will be of great benefit to graduates who return to, or take up, professional careers in international organisations, government agencies and non-governmental organisations and movements
  • the department has a Labour, Movements and Development research cluster which carries out research activities linked to labour, social movements and development

Explore 

Testimonials

DEV - IMG - PG - MSc Social Labour Movements - pun ngai - academic testimonial

“This is a terrific programme in labour, neo-liberalism and activism especially regarding the context of Global South. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to understand and get involved in the world of labour.” (Professor Pun Ngai, University of Hong Kong)

DEV - IMG - PG - Msc Labour Social and Dev - Guy Standing - academic testimonial

“This degree programme offers a radical examination of the efforts of collective social movements in developing countries to improve their lives, access resources and the commons in general, and reduce precariousness. At its core is a rigorous review of theoretical analyses of such movements that is enriched by case studies of collective resistance. I recommend this degree to students who wish not only to understand the world, but to change it for the better.” (Professor Guy Standing, Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London)

Highlights

  • a placement with an active labour or social movement organisation
  • labour process and organisations: development trajectories and divisions in the South
  • a comparative history of labour and social movements in countries such as China, Korea, India, South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East
  • corporate social responsibility initiatives, codes of conduct and anti-sweatshop campaigning
  • the impact of neoliberalism and globalisation on workers in the South
  • informalisation of labour, casualization and precarious work and the rise of the Gig economy
  • feminisation of labour
  • the worst forms of exploitation: forced labour, child labour and Modern Slavery
  • rural labour, migrant labour and labour in Export Processing Zones
  • household and reproductive labour
  • the International Labour Organisation, international labour standards and decent work
  • practices and theories of local, national and international labour campaigns
  • an assessed group project that allows students to apply acquired knowledge to ‘virtual’ practice

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Who is this programme for?:

The MSc Labour, Activism and Development programme is for students who wish to understand how labour and collective agency impacts on core processes of development. Our students acquire skill sets that combine theory and practice of labour, social movements and how they interplay with key developmental themes and interventions.

The programme is relevant to students with a strong background in the social sciences in their first degree as well as practitioners and activists from a wide spectrum of organisations and approaches.

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MSc Labour, Social Movement and Development

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

duration:
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.

Fees 2020/21

UK fees:
£13,360
Overseas fees:
£22,840

Fees for 2021/22 entrants. This is a Band 5 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

Convenors

Structure

Structure

Students must take 180 credits per year comprised of 120 taught credits (including core, compulsory and optional modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

Core modules: A core module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken and passed before you move on to the next year of your programme.

Compulsory modules: A compulsory module is required for the degree programme, so must always be taken, and if necessary can be passed by re-taking it alongside the next year of your programme.

Optional modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.

Core Modules
Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Development Studies 15PDSC999 60 Full Year

Compulsory Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Labour, Activism and Global Development 15PDSH032 15 Term 2

Students also take ONE of the following: 

Module Code Credits Term
Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work 15PDSH024 15 Term 1
The Working Poor and Development 15PDSH030 15 Term 2
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 15 Term 1
L-A-D Placement 15PDSH071 15 Term 2

Students also take ONE of the following: 

Module Code Credits Term
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 30 Full Year
Political Economy of Development 15PDSC002 30 Full Year

Optional Modules

In addition to the above, students select:

  • Departmental Open Option module(s) to the value of 30 credits from the list below

List of modules (subject to availability)
Module Code Credits Term
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 2
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 2
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 15 Term 1
Cities and Development 15PDSH072 15 Term 2
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 15 Term 1
Development Practice 15PDSH013 15 Term 1
Contemporary India: development challenges and perspectives 15PAIC003 15 Term 1
Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 15 Term 2
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 15 Term 2
Feminist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH073 15 Term 2
Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 15 Term 2
Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 15 Term 1
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
Global Approaches to Peace 15PDSH074 15 Term 2
Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work 15PDSH024 15 Term 1
Global Health and Development 15PDSH051 15 Term 1
Issues in Forced Migration 15PDSH015 15 Term 2
Marxist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH053 15 Term 2
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 15 Term 1
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 15 Term 2
Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 15 Term 2
Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 15 Term 2
Security 15PDSH020 15 Term 1
Labour, Activism and Global Development 15PDSH032 15 Term 2
Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation (Development Studies) 15PDSH049 15 Term 2
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Development Studies) 15PDSH041 15 Term 1

 

Important notice

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.

Teaching and Learning

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.

Dissertation

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.

Contact hours

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.

SOAS Library

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.

Pre Entry Reading

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Fees for 2021/22 entrants, per academic year (Band 5 tuition fee)

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
UK
Students
Overseas
Students
£13,360 £22,840 £6,680 £11,420 £4,450 £7,610

Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.

Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's postgraduate tuition fees page.

Scholarships
Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2021-01-29 00:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-02-15 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – East Asia

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Europe

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – India

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Pakistan

Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2021-04-30 00:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2021-03-08 00:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2021-06-04 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

Employment

A degree from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS will further develop your understanding of the world and how society is organised, with specific focus on violence and conflict, the role of aid, refugees and forced migration. Graduates leave with a range of transferable skills, including critical thinking, analytical skills and cultural awareness.

Recent Department of Development Studies graduates have been hired by:

  • Amnesty International
  • 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)
  • KPMG LLP
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Oxfam
  • 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
  • WaterAid

Find out about our Careers Service.

A Student's Perspective

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.

Joe Buckley

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