Foundation College

Global Development Studies

Key information

3 weeks
Start of programme
Summer 2022
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings

Course overview

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.

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.


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 website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. 

Teaching and 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 classes every day plus additional time for independent research. 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 on campus with additional class excursions to places of interest in London.

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.


For further information, please see the IFCELS frequently asked questions


Title Deadline date
The Rahim Lalji ‘14 Development Studies Bursary

Fees and funding


  • 3 weeks: (1 block): £1,800 GBP
  • 6 weeks: (2 blocks): £3,350 GBP (save £250*)
  • 9 weeks: (3 blocks): £4,800 GBP (save £600*)

*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 £1,800 for one extra block and £3,350 for two.