The MSc Development Economics is the flagship Master programme offered by the SOAS Economics Department. It combines the two core intellectual traditions nurtured for decades in our unique Department: a pluralist approach to economics and a focus on real-world development issues. As pluralism in economics becomes more prominent and needed, you will find courses that offer either pluralism or development, but not both. If you are interested in understanding how the global economy works, what economic challenges and opportunities countries in the Global South face, and what to do about intensifying inequalities and ecological breakdown, the MSc Development Economics is for you.
Why is the SOAS MSc Development Economics unique?
- It provides rigorous and pluralist training in economics with a focus on development
- It advances a Global South perspective on real-world economic issues for a changing world
- It addresses intersecting inequalities and ecological challenges across foundational modules and optional ones
The SOAS MSc in Development Economics and the critical approach to economic and development issues it provides is a gateway to various job opportunities in international organisations, governments, NGOs and private companies. The advanced nature of the programme also serves as an excellent foundation for PhD studies.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher in Economics. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references. All students must complete the Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics module which is taught over three weeks in August/September.
- One calendar year (full-time)
Two years(part-time, daytime only)
Three Years (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.
The MSc Development Economics is a taught Masters degree. It consists of eight modules delivered through lectures, classes, and tutorials and an 10,000-word dissertation. The degree is awarded on the basis of examinations written in May and a dissertation which is submitted in September. All students must complete the compulsory Prliminary cours in Mathematics and Statistics which is taught over three weeks in August/ September before the start of the core modules of the MSc.
The MSc Development Economics consists of five core modules and three optional, each worth 15 credits. In addition, A 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic is compulsory and accounts for 60 credits.
A complete list of optional modules in the programme is listed below, not all of which are offered in any single year.
All students will take the following core modules:
All students will take optional modules to the value of 45 credits from the list of modules below. Students with a strong background in Econometrics have the option of not taking Econometrics (Term 1 core module) and taking instead optional modules to the value of 60 credits.
List of 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.
Teaching & LearningThe MSc includes eight taught modules plus a preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics and an 10,000-word dissertation.
The courses are taught in seminar groups and lectures. The degrees are awarded on the basis of assessed coursework, examinations and the dissertation.
The MSc degrees are taught over a period of twelve months of full-time study within a structured programme. In the case of part-time study, the degrees will be taught over two or three years. Four modules are studied each year, with the dissertation normally being completed in the second year.
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. In the Department of Economics, most postgraduate modules have a two hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
Most modules involve a 2-hour lecture as a key component with linked seminar or tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
Students are required to complete a 10,000-word dissertation in applied economics.
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
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 courses 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 courses 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 econometrics teaching begins with a three-week preliminary course in mathematics, statistics and computing. The objective of the course is to review the basic quantitative skills assumed once formal teaching commences. This course is compulsory. Further details.
A postgraduate degree in Development Economics from SOAS equips students with a range of important skills to continue in the field of research as well as a portfolio of widely transferable employability skills valued by a wide range of employers. These include numeracy, analytical thinking and general skills such as organisation and effective communication skills. In addition the study of Economics gives students particular problem solving skills including: abstraction, analysis, quantification, strategic thinking and adaptability.
Postgraduate students from the SOAS MSc in Development Economics have followed successful have followed successful careers in both academic work and also in international banking and financial analysis, in national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-government
organisations. A postgraduate degree 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.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
|African Development Bank
Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Department For Communities And Local Government
Department for International Development
Department of Foreign Affairs
Emerging Markets Direct
Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Ghana Education Service
Government of Pakistan
Institute for Social and Economic Studies (IESE)
International Climate Change Economics
Ministry of East African Community Affairs
National Bank of Bahrain
Overseas Development Institute
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
The National Economics University
United Nations Development Programme
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Fair Trade Producer Support Manager
Latin America Country Risk Analyst
Senior Policy Officer
Consultant - Development Sector Practice
Senior Policy Economist
Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist
Web Writer & Founder
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
I chose to study at SOAS because it is a well recognised educational institution and a leader in the study of emerging regions of the world such as the Middle East, Africa and Asia which, in my view, is a necessity in a globalised world.