Department of Development Studies

MSc Development Studies (Labour and Activism)

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 intake only
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

Students are encouraged to examine critically the relationship between labour, capitalism, development and poverty. We investigate labour in the contemporary social and economic development of the Global South as well as established and emerging social movements of labour in local, national and international spaces. You will learn to identify and evaluate the relationship between collective agency, policy and vice-versa.

We work in a seminar/tutorial formats that encourage critical thinking and participation via an emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice. Programme lecturers are not just research active.

We are also activists and have experience of participation in labour and social movements across the world - Latin America, Africa and Asia and Europe and have on-going contacts with such movements as well as with NGOs and international organisations.

Why study MSc Development Studies (Labour and Activism) 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
  • our staff are well-placed to work with you on applying a deep understanding of collective movements to the challenge of working in development, development-related organisations and beyond into education and corporate social responsibility at various levels and scales
  • students can draw on SOAS’s unique experience to specialise further in particular regions and topics. Regional expertise at SOAS allows students of MSc in Labour, Activism and Development to specialise in some of the most dynamic parts of the developing world
  • 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
  • the programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills will be of great benefit to graduates who return to, or take up, professional careers in international organisations, government agencies and non-governmental organisations and movements
  • the department has a Labour, Movements and Development research cluster which carries out research activities linked to labour, social movements and development

Highlights

  • a placement with an active labour or social movement organisation
  • labour process and organisations: development trajectories and divisions in the South
  • a comparative history of labour and social movements in countries such as China, Korea, India, South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East
  • corporate social responsibility initiatives, codes of conduct and anti-sweatshop campaigning
  • the impact of neoliberalism and globalisation on workers in the South
  • informalisation of labour, casualization and precarious work and the rise of the Gig economy
  • feminisation of labour
  • the worst forms of exploitation: forced labour, child labour and Modern Slavery
  • rural labour, migrant labour and labour in Export Processing Zones
  • household and reproductive labour
  • the International Labour Organisation, international labour standards and decent work
  • practices and theories of local, national and international labour campaigns
  • an assessed group project that allows students to apply acquired knowledge to ‘virtual’ practice

Who should apply?

The MSc Development Studies (Labour and Activism) programme is for students who wish to understand how labour and collective agency impacts on core processes of development. Our students acquire skill sets that combine theory and practice of labour, social movements and how they interplay with key developmental themes and interventions.

The programme is relevant to students with a strong background in the social sciences in their first degree as well as practitioners and activists from a wide spectrum of organisations and approaches.

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. 

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.

Dissertation

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

  • Bernstein, H. 2007, ‘Capital and labour from centre to margins’.
    Keynote address for conference on Living on the Margins.
    Vulnerability, Exclusion and the State in the Informal Economy, Cape
    Town, 26-28 March 2007. (PDF available to view) 
  • Breman, J. 2013. At Work in the Informal Economy of India: A
    Perspective from the Bottom Up. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Chen, M. 2012. The Informal Economy: Definitions, Theories and
    Policies WIEGO Working Paper No. 1 
  • Davis M. 2006. Planet of Slums. London: Verso. (PDF available)
  • Federici, S. 2004. Caliban and the Witch, NY: Autonomedia. (PDF available)
  • Ferguson S., McNally D. 2015. ‘Precarious Migrants: Gender, Race and
    the Social Reproduction of a Global Working Class’, Socialist Register
    51 (Link to abstract and PDF)
  • Freund B. 1988. The African worker. Cambridge University Press.
  • Linebaugh P. and Rediker M. 2008. The Many Headed Hydra: Slaves,
    Sailors and Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary
    Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press. (PDF available)
  • Lockman Z., 2008. “Reflections on Labor and Working-Class History in
    the Middle East and North Africa”, in Jan Lucassen ed. Global Labour
    History. Bern: Peter Lang.
  • Pun Ngai. 2005. Made in China. Duke University Press
  • Silver B. 2003. Forces of Labour: Workers' Movements and Globalization
    Since 1870. Cambridge University Press. (PDF available)
  • Standing, G. 2014. The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, London:
    Bloomsbury academic.
  • Wright M. 2006. Disposable Women and other myths of global Capitalism.
    New York: Routledge. (PDF available)

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 World Food Programme
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • WaterAid

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