SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Research for International Development

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 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
£10,995
Overseas fees:
£18,790

Fees for 2017/18 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

2017 Entry requirements

  • Normally minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in the social sciences, including some economics and/or political economy, and preferably a demonstrable interest in research and research methods. Work and other experience may be taken into account. Each student must attend the Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics module, and attend its exam. The preliminary module runs in September prior to the start of teaching in term one.

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

Overview

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?:

The degree has been developed to meet the needs of both development practitioners and researchers on international development, including those wishing to pursue an MPhil/PhD in International Development. The programme will suit students with a variety of backgrounds in social sciences, including politics, sociology, economics, and so on. It would also meet the needs of people working, or hoping to work in international agencies, humanitarian organisations, and NGOs. Students with a strong interest in research and research methods will thrive on the MSc distinctive focus on training in research methods.

“Getting to grips with development these days requires the ability to understand grand theory as well as a slew of expert subfields, each with their conceptual languages and real-world power structures.
Pursuing research means justifying one or two of them, or reasoning your way into starting afresh. Whatever happens the battlefield must be surveyed and negotiated and SOAS is an excellent place for this adventure.”
Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies,
Oxford University

The MSc Research for International Development is a newly established interdisciplinary Taught Masters programme at SOAS, offered jointly by the departments of Economics and Development Studies. This cutting-edge degree is funded and supported by the UK’s ESRC (The Economic and Social Research Council) as part of the Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre.

The programme’s unique core module Battlefield of Methods: Approaches to International Development equips students with the theoretical background and analytical skills to inquire into the relationship between theory and method in the domain of international development. The module provides students with knowledge about the plurality of methodological approaches in key areas of international development research, and the policy choices and strategies associated with these. The module offers students the opportunity to engage with a selection of methods used in international development research.

"Developmental research is a combination of science and art, resting on sound theoretical knowledge, a capability of handling a variety of methodologies and something that is just as important, a "feel" for the subject. There is no one perfect methodology or set of tools; a good social scientist must appreciate the strengths and limitations of each on offer. Uniquely, this module will equip future developmental explorers with the sophisticated tools. They will have to bring the "feel" themselves."
Guy Standing, Professor of Economic Security University of Bath, UK

Further training in a variety of research methods is the focus of the other two core modules: Research Methods in Political Economy I and II. RMI covers the necessary statistical methods for social sciences including survey design and regression analysis. It aims to a) introduce students to statistical inference; b) encourage the clear and coherent expression of statistical results; and c) promote the critical reading of statistics within the development literature. RMII addresses sources and methods for the social sciences in the context of the political economy of development.

This programme gives students advanced interdisciplinary training in research methods and topics in Research for International Development. While the programme structure emphasises research methods, students will also have the opportunity to choose from a large number of substantive optional modules. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme is by virtue of both the core modules and options available for study being drawn from two departments within SOAS: Economics and Development Studies. Students will therefore benefit from studying with experts in a variety of fields of international development, and from the wide regional expertise in developing countries and development issues. 

SOAS Development Studies student Matthew Juden wins first DSA/ICEA Masters dissertation prize 2015

Convenors

Structure

Overview

Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

All students take core modules, ‘Battlefields of Method’, ‘Statistical Research Techniques in International Development’, ‘Research Methods in International Development’ and a ‘Dissertation in Development Studies’.  

Specialisation

Students also take option modules from those offered by the Department of Development Studies and the Department of Economics.  Please note that economics modules can only be taken with the permission of the specific Module Convenor and will depend on a specific background in economics.

Please note that not all option modules may run every year.  Modules at other institutions (intercollegiate) are not part of the approved programme structure.

Part-time study

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.

Core Modules

Students take the following FOUR core modules:

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Battlefields of Method: Approaches to International Development Research 15PDSC008 30 Full Year
Dissertation in Research Methods for International Development 15PDSC997 60 Full Year - Module can only be taken as part of the MSc Research for International Development programme
Statistical Research Techniques in International Development 15PECC052 15 Term 2
Research Methods in International Development 15PECC053 15 Term 1
Option Modules

Students choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List 1 and 30 credits from List 2 below:

(1) Option Modules in the Department of Development Studies
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 1
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 1
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 15 Term 2
Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 15 Term 1
Development Practice 15PDSH013 15 Term 2
Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 15 Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
Extractive Industries, Energy, Biofuels and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 15 Term 2
Famine and food security 15PDSH022 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work 15PDSH024 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
Global Health and Development 15PDSH051 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
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 Not Running 2017/2018
Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 15 Term 1
Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 15 Term 2
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 15 Term 2
Security 15PDSH020 15 Term 1
The working poor and development 15PDSH030 15 Term 2
Understanding Economic Migration: Theories, Patterns and Policies 15PDSH032 15 Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
War to Peace Transitions 15PDSH018 15 Term 2
Water and Development:Conflict and Governance 15PDSH049 15 Term 2
Water Resources: Justice and Governance 15PDSH041 15 Term 1
(2) Option Modules in the Department of Economics
Module Code Credits Term Availability
African Economic Development 1 (MSc RID) 15PECC057 15 Term 1
African Economic Development 2 (MSc RID) 15PECC058 15 Term 2
China's Economic Transformation 15PECH024 15 Term 1
China and World Development 15PECH023 15 Term 2
Economic development of South Asia a) the macroeconomy 15PECC026 15 Term 1
Economic Development of Japan 15PECH025 15 Term 2
Economic development of South Asia b) major sectors & the internationa 15PECC027 15 Term 2
Economics of environment and development 15PECC048 15 Term 2
Financial systems and economic development 15PECC036 15 Term 1
Gender Economics 15PECH026 15 Term 1
Global Economic Policy Analysis 15PECC063 15 Term 1
Global Production and Industrial Policy 15PECH027 15 Term 1
History of Economic Analysis 15PECH006 15 Term 1
Institutions and Governance 15PECC064 15 Term 2
Macroeconomics 15PECC005 15 Term 1
Microeconomics 15PECC006 15 Term 1
The economic development of South East Asia 15PECC004 30 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Theory of financial institutions & policy 15PECC021 15 Term 2
Centre for Gender Studies
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Gender in the Middle East (MSc RID) 15PGNH004 15 Full Year Not Running 2017/2018
Non-Assessed Course

All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term, non-assessed course, Economics for Beginners, which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.

 

This is the structure for 2017/18 applicants

If you are a current student you can find structure information on Moodle or through your Faculty.

Programme Specification

Disclaimer

Teaching and Learning

Materials

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.

Teaching & Learning

Modules are taught by a combination of methods, principally either a 1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial, or a 2 hour seminar.  Some modules are assessed by 100% coursework and others by both coursework and examination.


In addition, a third of the degree is given over to writing a supervised 10,000 word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.

Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics Course

Our MSc programmes attract students with a wide range of backgrounds including many who have worked for a few years before coming to SOAS. Our popular quantitative modules are designed to be accessible to all of our students including those with a relatively small quantitative component in their first degree. Our well-received quantitative modules focus on applying basic methods used in empirical research. They equip students to carry out their own high quality empirical work and critically evaluate research, with relatively little emphasis on advanced econometric theory and mathematical proofs. Our quantitative methods teaching begins with a three-week preliminary module in mathematics, statistics and computing. Each student must attend this module, and sit its exam. The preliminary module runs in September prior to the start of teaching in term one. The objective of the module is to review the basic quantitative skills assumed once formal teaching commences. This module is compulsory. Further details on the Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics Course.

Pre Entry Reading

Kuhn, T. S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press    

Fine, B., D. Johnston, A. Santos and E. Van Waeyenberge (2015). “Nudging or Fudging: The World Development Report 2015”, Development and Change, 47(4): 640–663.

Oya, C. (2013), ‘Methodological reflections on land 'grab' databases and the land 'grab' literature “rush”’. Journal of Peasant Studies, 40(3): 503-520.

Rizzo, M., Kilama, B., and Wuyts, M. 2015. ‘The Invisibility of Wage Employment in Statistics on the Informal Economy in Africa: Causes and Consequences’. The Journal of Development Studies 51: pp. 149-161.

Sayer, A. 1984. Method in social science: A realist approach. London: Hutchinson.

Schmidt, Anna 2007 ‘I Know What You’re Doing’, Reflexivity and Methods In Refugee Studies’  in Refugee Survey Quarterly, Vol. 26, Issue 3

Sumner, A. and M.Tribe. 2008. International Development Studies. Theories and Methods in Research Practice. London: Sage.   

Vlassenroot, K (2006) ‘War and Social Research. The limits of empirical methodologies in war-torn environments’, Civilisations 54, pp 191-198. 

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

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 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
£10,995 £18,790 £5,498 £9,395 £3,665 £6,263
Scholarships
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentships

Application Deadline: 2017-02-03 16:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

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

Employment

A postgraduate degree in Research for International Development from SOAS provides graduates with a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by employers, including analytical skills, the ability to think  laterally and employ critical reasoning, and knowing how to present materials and ideas effectively both orally and in writing. Equally graduates are able to continue in the field of research, continuing their studies either at SOAS or other institutions. 

An MSc in Research for International Development is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

There were several reasons for selecting SOAS; the great reputation of the University of London academic programmes; the flexibility of the learning approach; and the global focus of the case studies used in each module.

Wylie Tolette

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