Department of Development Studies

MSc International Development (Online)

Key information

Duration
Two years
Start of programme
April / October
Attendance mode
Online Learning
Fees

MA/MSc: £12,000
PGDip/PGCert: available as exit awards.

Entry requirements

A minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). We welcome applications from academically strong individuals from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds. Candidates with a lower class degree but with degree-relevant work experience may be considered.

Course overview

The online MSc International Development builds on the established global reputation of the Development Studies department as one of the top places in the world to study international development.

We welcome applications from those who have worked in development, however broadly defined, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, issues pertaining to international development.

International Development is a dynamic field concerned not only with processes of change in the Global South, but also of social, economic, political and cultural change in middle income countries and the Global North.

The perspective of International Development analyses these processes as interdependent and engages major policy challenges as well as efforts to overcome poverty and insecurity while also presenting a structural analysis.

This programme provides a solid interdisciplinary social science formation in the political economy and sociology of development and develops students’ capacities for independent and critical analysis.

Some topics will include:

  • Conceptualising and questioning development
  • Marxism, dependency and structuralism
  • Gender and development
  • Measuring development
  • Neoclassical economics, neoliberalism and development
  • Global institutions, agendas and development targets
  • Industrial policy
  • Agriculture and agrarian change
  • Labour and labour markets
  • Decolonial approaches to development

Why study online MSc Development Studies with 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
  • 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.

Structure

Students must take 180 credits comprised of one core and three elective modules totalling 120 taught credits, four supporting mini 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. The core modules are offered in every session.
  • Elective modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals. Elective modules can be chosen from a list of subjects offered across SOAS' portfolio of programmes.

Dissertation

Module Credits Type
Dissertation in Development Studies 60 Core

Core module

Students have to choose a minimum of 30 credits from Development Studies list below. They can then either select an additional 60 credits from this list or 30 from the Development Studies list and 30 from the Open Options list.

Development Studies

Module Credits Type 21/22 Availability
Human and Critical Security Studies 30 Elective April
Understanding Violence, Conflict and Development 30 Elective April
Critical Insights in Forced Migration 30 Elective April
Partnerships Beyond Borders: NGOs, Social Movements and Civil Society in Transnational Development 30 Elective October
The Politics of Gender and Feminisms in Development 30 Elective October
Drugs, Conflict and Development 30 Elective October

Open options - Global Diplomacy, International and Environmental

Module Credits Type Department
Understanding Sustainability 30 Elective CeDEP
Climate Change and Development 30 Elective CeDEP
Food Security and Social Protection 30 Elective CeDEP
Economics, Politics and Society in MENA 30 Elective CISD
Economics, Politics and Society in South Asia 30 Elective CISD
Modern Africa: History, Politics and Society 30 Elective CISD
Economics, Politics and Society in East Asia 30 Elective CISD
Global Public Policy 30 Elective CISD
Gender and Conflict in the Middle East 30 Elective Gender and Media
Transnational and Diasporic Media 30 Elective Gender and Media
Global Media and Digital Cultures 30 Elective Gender and Media
Gender, Sexuality in Global Politics 30 Elective Gender and Media

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

This programme is taught 100% online through our BLE (the virtual Bloomsbury Learning Environment).

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

In the virtual Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) you will have access to learning materials and course resources anytime so that you can fit your studies around your existing commitments. There are also a number of seminars and tutorials which are scheduled to fit students’ schedules and time-zones. For each module, students will be provided with electronic access through both the SOAS Library and the University of London’s Online Library, to all necessary materials from a range of appropriate sources.

There are two key components of the student experience which distinguish distance
learning from our other programmes:

  • Discussion forums: peer-to-peer learning and engagement guided by the tutor
  • E-tivities: assessments which are formulated around a pedagogy of academic skills development which culminate in the submission of assessments, known as e-tivities.

Study timetable

In addition to a dedicated Associate Tutor, a study timetable is provided for each module and for the overall programme to help you to plan and organise your time.

The programme is broken down into two study sessions per year (October to February and April to August). Each subject module lasts 16 weeks, followed by a dissertation mini module lasting 8 weeks.

Activity Duration
Substantive module 16 weeks
Reading weeks 2 weeks
Research mini module 8 weeks
Reading weeks 2 weeks

Assessment

Each module is assessed by five written online assessments (‘e-tivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 5,000 word essay. The e-tivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve.

*An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)

Research training and dissertation

The dissertation module is presented in four development parts, which will follow each of your module sessions. Research modules one and three are formative modules only and are not assessed.

The dissertation is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of no more than 15,000 words, excluding the bibliography and appendices, which will account for 85% of the mark awarded for the module (research module four). The remaining 15% of the module mark will be based on the mark obtained for a 1,500 word research proposal (research module two). Students will submit their dissertations at the end of research module four.

Pre-entry reading

  • Marois, Thomas (2012) States, Banks and Crisis: Emerging Finance Capitalism in Mexico and Turkey. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Mezzadri, Alessandra (2017) The Sweatshop Regime: Labouring Bodies, Exploitation and Garments Made in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Shah, Alpa and Lerche, Jens and Axelby, Richard and Denbabaali, D. and Donegan, B. and Raj, J. and Thakur, Vineet (2017) Ground Down by Growth: Inequality in 21st century India. London: Pluto.
  • Vergara-Camus, Leandro (2014) Land and Freedom. The Peasant Development Alternatives to Neoliberalism of the Landless People in Brazil and the Zapatista Movement in Chiapas. London: Zed Books.

Fees and funding

MA/MSc PGDip* PGCert*
£12,000 See below See below

*PGDip and PGCert are available as exit awards. Interested students should get in touch directly with the course team (email: devsonlineprogs@soas.ac.uk)

Pay as you learn

Our online programmes can be paid in full at the time of enrolment or on a pay as you learn basis. Pay as you learn means you pay for modules prior to enrolment (£3,000 each).

Postgraduate loans

If you have been a resident in England for three years you may be eligible. For more information, please see postgraduate funding and Finance.

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 Department of Development Studies 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
  • Thinking Beyond Borders
  • US Department of State
  • UN World Food Programme
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • WaterAid

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