SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Global Development Studies (2021 entry)

Academic Subject Summer Course

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The Global Development Studies 3-week summer course offers student an introduction to key issues affecting the world at present.  It looks at the relationships between so-called developed and developing countries and related organisations.  Some ofthe important debates facing the world today, democracy, migration, foreign aid and the environment, are presented and discussed.

The course is composed of a mix of formal lectures, discussion and seminars and weekly case studies.  Presentations will be given by guest speakers, working in the field, on some ofthe issues examined during the course.

The subject content is supported by integrated English classes, which help to make challenging topics more accessible.

SOAS is world renowned for Developement Studies, with a current global ranking of 5th in the QS World University Rankings. This summer course provides an introduction to central questions in this subject area for students of intermediate level of English and above.

Mode of Attendance: Online Learning

Entry requirements

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This 3-week course explores the following topics:

Topic 1: Overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The course starts with a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), driven by the United Nations. The SDGs are framed by the UN as a ‘call for action by all countries ... to promote prosperity while protecting the planet’. The strengths and weaknesses of the SDG initiative are examined. Case studies of different ways of measuring levels of development in countries are discussed.

Topic 2: The Global ‘Crisis of Governance’: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarianism, Corruption and Development

The second topic centres on an analysis of the ‘global crisis of governance’. Whether undemocratic regimes are obstacles to development is examined. Case studies of different forms of corruption, and their consequences for the development of societies, are discussed.

Topic 3: Migration, the Refugee Crisis and Humanitarian Responses

The focus of topic three is migration issues, the refugee crisis and the work of humanitarian agencies. The case of migration to Europe is evaluated.

Topic 4: Foreign Aid – It’s Good, It’s Bad, It Depends

Topic four moves on from examining the work of humanitarian agencies to provide a more detailed analysis of foreign aid. The shifting nature of aid as provided by Western donors, such as the US and the UK, is outlined. The rising importance of non-Western donors in shaping the future ideology of aid, as well as its implementation on the ground, is considered. Case studies of Chinese aid are outlined and discussed.

Topic 5: The Global Environmental Crisis

Topic five is the global environmental crisis, focusing on different proposed solutions to problems, such as climate change. Case studies of the work of radical environmental groups are assessed.

Topic 6: Civil Society Organisations: Can Citizen-led Groups Bring Major Change to Societies?

Topic six is based on an examination of arguments that civil society organisations, formed without state interference and led by citizens, can bring major changes to individual societies and the world as a whole. Case studies of the work of civil society organisations in Asia, Africa and Europe are introduced.

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

Subject courses with English support are taught by two teachers, a subject specialist and a language expert. The subject classes use lectures, seminars and cases studies, whereas the integrated language classes focus on skills development (especially speaking and listening) using the subject content.

This is a full-time course with interactive live classes every day (mornings UK time), plus daily independent guided study. Students work towards delivering a presentation at the end of the course. You can expect to strengthen language skills and deepen subject knowledge, whilst gaining greater confidence in communicating in English in an academic setting.

All teaching takes place online using easy-to-use platforms. You will need a computer with a webcam and mic.

The maximum number of students per class is 15.

You will receive a certificate for successful course completion.

Students will also have access to SOAS library including our wide range of e-books and e-journals.

Entry Recommendations

Students should be at an intermediate level of English in order to follow and participate in classes. We do not require proof of English level, but as a guideline IELTS 5.5, TOEFL IBT 76 (or equivalent) are recommended.


For further information please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Fees and funding

2021 Tuition Fees

• 3 weeks (1 block): £1,200 GBP
• 6 weeks (2 blocks): £2,250 GBP (save £150*)
• 9 weeks (3 blocks): £3,075 GBP (save £525*)

*Compared to the cost of multiple individual blocks. The reduced fees for multiple blocks above are available for 2 or 3 blocks booked at the same time. The fee for any additional blocks booked after the initial application will be £1,200 for one extra block and £2,250 for two.


How to Apply

Apply through the Summer Online Application, or if you have problems with the online form, the application form is also available in PDF and Word format to download on the right side of the main Summer Programme Page.

Please ensure you send a scanned copy of a suitable identity document (see form for details).

You will be sent an invoice and receipt for the course fees when you have accepted the offer and paid for your place on the course. Refunds of the course fees are only made at the discretion of SOAS in exceptional circumstances. If you have any queries, please see the FAQs or email

For instructions on how to pay, see IFCELS Fees. Please also see the full Terms and Conditions