Department of Development Studies

MSc Development Studies

Key information

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.
Start of programme
September
Attendance mode
Full-time or part-time
Location
Russell Square, College Buildings
Fees

Home student fees: £14,550 per year
Overseas student fees: £24,750 per year

Please note that fees go up each year. 
See postgraduate fees for further details.

Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with a 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher in a relevant subject.

 

Afghanistan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 80% or 3.3/4.0 

Argentina: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Titulo / Grado de Licenciado

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10

Information for prospective students from Argentina

Australia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or Credit or 65%

Information for prospective students from Australia

Austria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2.5/5.0 and overall Pass (Bestanden)

Bahrain: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Bahrain

Bangladesh: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor’s from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology or Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 60% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Bangladesh

Belgium: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licentiaat or Licencié

Equivalent to 2:ii: 13/20 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Belgium

Botswana: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (5-year) or Master's from University of Botswana

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.5/5.0 or 65% or B- or Good

Brazil: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Título de Bacharel / Título de Licenciado (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10 or 70%

Information for prospective students from Brazil

Brunei: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class Honours with 50% overall

Information for prospective students from Brunei

Bulgaria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.3/6

Information for prospective students from Bulgaria

Cameroon: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplôme d'Ingénieur/ Diplôme d'Études Supérieures de Commerce (5-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 12-13 assez bien (fair); 70-74; or B+

Canada: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 74-77% or overall B

Information for prospective students from Canada

China Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 
73% or 2.6/4.0 (C9 unis)
75% or 2.8/4.0 (Double First unis)
80% or 3.25/4.0 (all other unis)

Information for prospective students from China

Colombia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licenciado / Titulo (4-year) 

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.5/5.0

Information for prospective students from Colombia

Croatia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Baccalaureus / Baccalaurea (Bachelor degree)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall score 3/5

Cyprus: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10

Czech Republic: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 1.75/4.0 or High C 'dobre’ (good)

Information for prospective students from the Czech Republic

Denmark: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/12 or 8/13 or grade C

Information for prospective students from the Denmark

Egypt: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Egypt

Estonia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalaurusekraad / University Specialist's Diploma / Professional Higher Education Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.0/5.0

Finland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor / Kandidaatti / Kandidat (180 ECTS credits)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3/5 or 2/3

France: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence or Diplôme from a grande école

Equivalent to 2:ii: 11.5 out 20

Information for prospective students from France

Gambia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree (2-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.3 or 64% or B

Germany: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2.6/5

Information for prospective students from Germany

Ghana: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 (Second Class Lower Division) or GPA 3.25/5.0 or 60%

Information for prospective students from Ghana

Greece: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.50/10

Information for prospective students from Greece

Hong Kong: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Upper second class or GPA 2.7/4.0 or 75% or B Minus

Information for prospective students from Hong Kong

Hungary: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (Alapfokozat) or Diploma (Egyetemi Oklevél)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.5/5.0

Iceland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (Baccalaureus or Bakkalarprof)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7.0 out of 10

India: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: CGPA: 55-60% or 5.5/10 - 6.0/10

Information for prospective students from India

Iraq: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (Licence/Karshani)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 0.7

Israel: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or C+

Information for prospective students from Israel

Italy: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Laurea (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 100/110

Information for prospective students from Italy

Japan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or C+ or 3.0

Information for prospective students from Japan

Jordan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0 or 70%

Information for prospective students from Jordan

Kazakhstan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors (Bakalavr Diplomi) or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or GPA 4.0/5.0 or B

Information for prospective students from Kazakhstan

Kenya: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or 60%

Information for prospective students from Kenya

Kuwait: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/

Information for prospective students from Kuwait

Latvia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalaura Diploms (Bachelor's) or Profesionālā Bakalaura Diploms

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7/10

Lebanon: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree / Licence

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or Grade B-/C+ or GPA 2.8/4.0 or 14/20

Information for prospective students from Lebanon

Liberia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or 2.8/4.0

Libya: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor Degree from selected institution

Equivalent to 2:ii: 75% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Lithuania: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors / Bakalauro (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 7.5/10

Information for prospective students from Lithuania

Malawi: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or GPA 3.0/4.0

Malaysia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0 or B (Class 2 Division 2)

Information for prospective students from Malaysia

Malta: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class with 65% or Category IIB

Mexico: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Titulo de Licenciado

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/10 or 80%

Information for prospective students from Mexico

Morocco: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence / Licence d'Etudes Fondamentales / Licence Professionnelle

Equivalent to 2:ii: 13/20

Information for prospective students from Morocco

Nepal: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree / Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70%

Information for prospective students from Nepal

Netherlands: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10 or GPA 3.0

Information for prospective students from the Netherlands

New Zealand: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Majority of credited modules B- or above

Nigeria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class or 55% or GPA 3.0/5.0 or 2.5/4.0 or 4.0/7.0

Information for prospective students from Nigeria

Norway: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelors / Bachelorgrad (180 ECTS) or Candidatus /a magisterii

Equivalent to 2:ii: Grade C (with at least 80 ECTS) at grade B or 3.2

Information for prospective students from Norway

Oman: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Oman

Pakistan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year) / Master's from HEC recognised institution

Equivalent to 2:ii: CGPA 2.7 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Pakistan

Philippines: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master’s from recognised institution or Centre of Excellence / Bachelor from prestigious institution or Centre of Excellence

Equivalent to 2:ii:
Prestigous Universities: GPA 3.3/4.0 or 1.75/5.0 or Grade B or 83%
Recognised Universities: GPA 3.5/4.0 or 2.0/5.0 or Grade B or 87%

Poland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licencjat or Inżynier (3-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 4.25/5

Information for prospective students from Poland

Portugal: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licenciado (180 ECTS)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 15/20

Qatar: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 or 70% or 7/10

Information for prospective students from Qatar

Romania: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplomă de Licenţă / Diplomă de Inginer / Diplomă de Urbanist Diplomat

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/10

Information for prospective students from Romania

Russia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplom Bakalavra or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 3.8/5.0

Information for prospective students from Russia

Rwanda: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Lower Second Class Honours or 65-69% or 14/20

Saudi Arabia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA of 3.0/4.0 or 3.5/5.0 or overall 70%

Information for prospective students from Saudi Arabia

Singapore: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: CAP 3.5/5.0 or 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Singapore

Slovakia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bakalár / Bachelor

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70% or 2.0 overall or C

South Africa: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 60%

Information for prospective students from South Africa

South Korea: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 2.7/4.0 or 3.0/4.3 or 3.3/4.5

Information for prospective students from South Korea

Spain: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Título de Grado / Título de Licenciado / Título de Ingeniero / Titulo de Arquitecto

Equivalent to 2:ii: 6.5/10 or GPA 1.75/4.0

Information for prospective students from Spain

Sri Lanka: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor Special Degree or Professional Degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 55% or 2:2 or GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Sri Lanka

Sudan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor (5-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: 65%+ or B

Sweden: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree / Kandidatexamen / Yrkesexamen

Equivalent to 2:ii: B (90 credits) and C (90 credits) or Very Good (70 credits) and Good (110 Credits) or C (180 credits)

Information for prospective students from Sweden

Switzerland: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplom / Diplôme / Lizentiat / Staatsdiplom / Diplôme d’Etat

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall 4.5/6 or 7/10 or 2.5/5

Information for prospective students from Switzerland

Syria: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Licence / al-ijaza-fi / Bachelor

Equivalent to 2:ii: 70%+ or 'Good'

Taiwan: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 68-70% or GPA 2.8/4.0-3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Taiwan

Thailand: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from Thailand

Tunisia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Diplôme National d'Ingénieur / Diplôme National d'Architecture / Licence / Maîtrise

Equivalent to 2:ii: 12 out of 20

Turkey: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Lisans Diplomasi

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 2.6/4 from the top universities and 3.0/4 from all others

Information for prospective students from Turkey

Uganda: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 (Lower Second) or B or GPA 3.0/5.0

Information for prospective students from Uganda

Ukraine: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree or Specialist Diploma

Equivalent to 2:ii: 8/12 or 3.8/5

United Arab Emirates: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0 or 3.2/5.0

Information for prospective students from the United Arab Emirates

United States of America: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: GPA 3.0/4.0

Information for prospective students from the USA

Vietnam: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree (4-year)

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall score of 6.5/10

Information for prospective students from Vietnam

Yemen: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: Overall 'Good' (71-77%) or Aden University 80-83% (or 3.0/4.0)

Zambia: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Master's degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 65% or B or Credit or GPA 1.7/2.5 or 3.3/5.0

Zimbabwe: Qualifications (Bachelor equivalency): Bachelor degree

Equivalent to 2:ii: 2:2 or 65%

Information for prospective students from Zimbabwe

In addition to degree classification in a relevant subject we take into account other elements of the application such as supporting statement. References are optional, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:2 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications. 

See postgraduate entry requirements for Overseas and EU qualifications and equivalencies.

Course overview

The MSc Development Studies programme provides a solid interdisciplinary social science formation in development theory and practice and develops students’ capacities for independent and critical analysis.

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.

Highlights

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

Why study MSc Development Studies at SOAS?

  • we are ranked number 2 in the QS World University Rankings in the subject of Development Studies
  • SOAS is ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for producing a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research
  • we are specialists within the humanities including in key topics such as international development, gender development, violence and conflict, environmental sustainability, the role of aid and trade in promoting development, as well as refugees and forced migration
  • our staff have unrivalled practical knowledge across the discipline and regularly inform organisations such as the UN, NGOs and international governments
  • as well as the curriculum knowledge you will also obtain a rich historical and cultural knowledge about the countries and regions in which you may work in
  • you will be able to flexibly structure your programme using our open options modules to take advantage of the expertise of our other departments, including the opportunity to learn a language
  • we are specialists in the delivery of languages. Your command of a language at SOAS will set you apart from graduates of other universities

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.

Who should apply

The MSc Development Studies 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.

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.

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. 

Core modules

Optional modules

In addition to the above, the following is selected:

  • Modules from the list below to the value of 30 credits
  • Open option module(s) to the value of 30 credits OR a further 30 credits from the modules listed below

Non-assessed module

All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term, non-assessed module Economics for Beginners, which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.

Teaching and 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.

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.

Pre-entry reading

If you would like some preparatory reading (although this is not necessary), a good starting point is to keep an eye out for the many development related blogs by academics, activists and institutions. 

In addition, good book options include: 

  • Veltmeyer, H. and Bowles, P. 2022. The Essential Guide to Critical Development Studies. Routledge.
  • Sen, Amartya (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford University Press, and Amartya Sen on Development 
  • Rosling, H., O. Rosling, A. Rönnlund. 2018. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think. Sceptre.
  • Harrison, G. 2020. Developmentalism. The Normative and Transformative within Capitalism. Oxford University Press.
  • Patnaik, U. and P. 2016. A Theory of Imperialism. Columbia University Press.
  • Cantillon, S., O. Mackett, S. Stevano. 2022. Feminist Political Economy. Agenda Publishing.
  • Wilson, K., 2012. Race, Racism and Development: Interrogating History, Discourse and Practice. Zed Books
  • Jason Hickel, The Death of International Development

Fees and funding

Fees for 2023/24 entrants, per academic year (Band 2 tuition fee)

Full-time Part-time 2 years Part-time 3 years
Home students Overseas students Home students Overseas students Home students Overseas students
£14,550 £24,750 £7,275 £12,375 £4,850 £8,250

Fees go up each year, therefore your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.

Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%. See postgraduate fees for further details.

Employment

A degree from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS will further develop your understanding of the world and how society is organised, with specific focus on violence and conflict, the role of aid, refugees and forced migration. Graduates leave with a range of transferable skills, including critical thinking, analytical skills and cultural awareness.

Recent graduates have been hired by:

  • 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
  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Oxfam
  • Royal Norwegian Embassy
  • Save the Children UK
  • The World Bank
  • Thinking Beyond Borders
  • US Department of State
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • WaterAid

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