SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

MSc Development Studies

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.

2018 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
  • Subjects Preferred: Social Science

Featured events

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

Overview

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?: The programme attracts applications from students with a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds. 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. A good first degree in a social science is preferred.

Development Studies is a dynamic field concerned with processes of change in the South - social and economic, political and cultural - and the major policy challenges they present to efforts to overcome poverty and insecurity. This programme provides a solid interdisciplinary social science formation in development theory and practice and develops students’ capacities for independent and critical analysis. 

Highlights include:

  • the meanings of development and the challenges it faces
  • neoliberalism and its critiques
  • industrialisation, labour and capital
  • state failure, poverty and insecurity
  • gender and class analysis
  • NGOs, civil society and social movements
  • globalisation, commodity chains and trade
  • the agrarian question, peasantry and land

The MSc programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills has been of great benefit to the many graduates who have returned to, or taken up, professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. 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.

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, ‘Political Economy of Development’, ‘Theory, Policy & Practice’ and a ‘Dissertation in Development Studies’. Through these modules, students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies. 

Specialisation

Students also take option modules, allowing them to specialise in particular areas of development and possibly using them to develop a dissertation in a related theme. By tying optional modules to their individual dissertation topic, students tailor their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.

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 THREE core modules:-

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Political Economy of Development 15PDSC002 30 Full Year
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 30 Full Year
Dissertation in Development Studies 15PDSC999 60 Full Year
(1) Option Modules in the Department of Development Studies

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

Module Code Credits Term Availability
Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 15 Term 1
Aid and Development 15PDSH027 15 Term 1
Battlefields of Method: Approaches to International Development Research 15PDSC008 30 Full Year
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
Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 15 Term 1
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
Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 15 Term 2
Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 15 Term 1
Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 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
Water and Development:Conflict and Governance 15PDSH049 15 Term 2
(2) Open Options in other Departments

Open module options in other departments

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

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.

Pre Entry Reading

Jason Hickel, The Death of International Development 

S. Chari and S. Corbridge ed. The Development Reader, London: Routledge 2008

Jane Pollard et al eds. Postcolonial Economies. London: Zed Books. 2011.

H. Veltmeyer ed. The Critical Development Studies Handbook. London: Pluto Press, 2011.

N. Vishwanathan et al eds. The Women, Gender and Development Reader, Zed Press, 2011.

http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/should-we-continue-use-term-developing-world

Amartya Sen on Development

In addition, please familiarise yourself with some key words and names, including: Boserup, colonialism, de-growth, dependency theory, Eurocentrism, Fanon, Foucault, Gramsci, Gandhi, governmentality, neoliberalism, Ostrom, orientalism, PRSPs, Putnam, rational actor, sustainable development goals, Wallerstein, World Bank.

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
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

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 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:

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
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
WaterAid

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

Chief Economist
Global Communications Director
Director for Climate Change and Environment
Head of Research and Consultancies
Development Director
Regional OVC programme coordinator
Head of Operations
Country Director
Bureau Chief
Desk Officer on Pakistan Affairs
Policy Analyst
Partnership Liaison Officer
Fundraising and Communications Manager
Development Policy Officer
Environmental Economist
Journalist
Human Rights Officer
Country Director - Indonesia
Relationship Banker - Africa Desk
Policy Analyst/Economist

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

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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Find out more

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