SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Research for International Development (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2021 2020

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  • Fees and funding
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Overview

“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 cutting-edge degree 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 equips students with the theoretical background and analytical skills to inquire into the relationship between theory, research methods and politics in international development. It 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
Two of the three core modules focus on the research methods. The first, Fundamentals of Research Methods for Development Studies, reviews the main research designs and techniques used in development research. The module explores both the use of secondary sources (text,
numbers, images, audio, etc.) and the process of collecting primary empirical materials for analysis. The course addresses the dichotomy quantitative-qualitative in social research methodology, the key differences between the two approaches and the potential for
complementarity.

The second core model, Statistical Research Techniques in International Development, 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. Students without prior training in statistics and maths are advise to either audit or choose Introductory Statistics as one of their optional modules.
The two core courses above give students advanced interdisciplinary training in research methods. The third core module, for which students can choose either Political Economy of Development or Theory, Policy and Practice of Development, grounds students in the key topics, and
the analytical and policy debates surrounding them, in international development.
Students further engage with international development debates through their choice of four optional modules, from a large number of available options available from SOAS departments of 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.

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 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.

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/EU fees:
£12,720
Overseas fees:
£21,750

Fees for 2020/21 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

Convenors

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.

This programme allows you to select one of the Department's online optional modules as part of your degree. Further details on the available modules can be found here.  

Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Research Methods for International Development 15PDSC997 60 Full Year
Core Modules
Module Code Credits Term
Statistical Research Techniques in International Development 15PECC052 15 Term 2
Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 15 Term 1

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

Choose modules to the value of 60 credits from the list below:

List of modules (subject to availability)
Development Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 2
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 2
Borders and Development 15PDSH023 15 Term 1
Cities and Development 15PDSH072 15 Term 1
Critical Insights in Forced Migration 15DISD229 30
Development Practice 15PDSH013 15 Term 1
Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 15 Term 2
Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 15 Term 2
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
Human and Critical Security Studies 15DISD213 30
Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 15 Term 1
Partnerships Beyond Borders: NGOs, Social Movements and Civil Society in Transnational Development 15DISD230 30
Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 15 Term 2
The Politics of Gender and Feminism in Development 15DISD231 30
Labour, Activism and Global Development 15PDSH032 15 Term 2
Understanding Violence, Conflict and Development 15DISD019 30
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
Economics

Students need to get approval from the Module Convenor in order to take modules from the list below

Module Code Credits Term
Political Economy of Development and Change in the Middle East 15PECC028 15 Term 1
Economic development in the Asia Pacific region 15PECC030 15 Term 1
China and World Development 15PECH023 15 Term 2
Economics of Environment and Development 15PECC048 15 Term 2
Financial Systems and Economic Development 15PECC036 15 Term 1
Gender Economics (PG) 15PECH026 15 Term 1
Global Economic Policy Analysis 15PECC063 15 Term 1
Green Finance 15PECH030 15 Term 2
Macroeconomics 15PECC005 15 Term 1
Microeconomics 15PECC006 15 Term 1
Introductory Statistics 15PECH032 15 Term 1
Gender Studies
Module Code Credits Term
Gender in the Middle East 15PGNH001 15 Term 1

 

Programme Specification

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

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

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.

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.

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 2020/21 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%.

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
UK/EU
Students
Overseas
Students
£12,720 £21,750 £6,360 £10,875 £4,240 £7,250

Scholarships
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Studentships

ESRC

Application Deadline: 2020-01-06 23:59

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2020-01-31 15:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2020-01-31 15:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – East Asia

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Ghana

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – India

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Japan

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Nigeria

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Pakistan

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – South Korea

Application Deadline: 2020-05-31 00:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2020-02-20 15:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2020-02-20 15:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2020-02-20 15:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2020-06-05 15:00

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

Employment

As you graduate from the MSc in Research for International Development, you will have an in-depth understanding of the main debates in international development, and, in particular, of the various methodological approaches underpinning different positions in these debates. You will have acquired foundations for the practice of quantitative and qualitative research methods in the social sciences. You will also acquire more generic skills, including how to organize and present your ideas, both in written form and in different presentational formats (including, for instance, Pecha Kucha style presentations, short project pitching, and more standard academic presentations summing up main contributions in a debate).

With a broad range of skills, MSc RID graduates are highly competitive in the labour market upon graduation and embark on a wide range of career opportunities. These include, either the pursuit of doctoral studies, at SOAS or elsewhere, or jobs as policy advisers or researchers in international development, in the public, private sector or third sector.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • UK government in HM Treasury or the National Audit Office,
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Centre for Global Development
  • Cleantech Group
  • UNICEF
  • Save the Children
  • International Development Enterprise
  • World Vision. Our students have
     

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Chief Head of Strategy
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
  • Policy Advisor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Communications Consultant
  • Research Assistant
  • Researcher in Sustainable Technology Innovation.

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

A Student's Perspective

I was keen to enrol onto a masters programme that offered practical skills and knowledge that could be applied in a non-academic professional context

Roohi Khanna

Apply

Find out more

  • Contact us
    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4700
    By email:
    study@soas.ac.uk
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