SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

Global Challenges to Food Security (2019 entry)

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


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Global Challenges to Food Security Summer School

Programme Description

What are today’s greatest challenges to food security? Why is obesity an increasing symptom of malnutrition? How can famines be avoided?

Over the course of three weeks, students will delve into these and more questions by studying intensively theoretical aspects and debates combined with case studies and critical methods around the areas of:

  1. global food-, nutrition- and health-related challenges,
  2. globalised food systems and implications for nutrition and health
  3. policy responses to hunger, malnutrition and poor health.

The Global Challenges to Food Security Summer School provides knowledge on fundamental debates in these areas of study and policy making and, crucially, stimulates critical thinking on these issues. Contents draw on a range of disciplinary perspectives, such as political economy, nutritional science, and anthropology.

Daily activities include lectures followed by tutorials and interactive talks from experts and practitioners in the field. Theory and policy issues introduced during lectures are brought into real-world context through multiple stories from the field sessions. For instance, students will learn about the competition between food and cash crops in Uzbekistan, food aid and governance in Sudan and environmental implications of China's nutrition transition through the eyes of researchers working in the field. Students will further get the opportunity to meet policy practitioners from think tanks, national and international organisations such as IFPRI and Oxford Policy Management to discuss key policy questions.

The Summer School is designed for university students and practitioners who wish to gain cutting edge knowledge on global food, nutrition and health related challenges. The summer school does not require prior qualifications in economics or other relevant disciplines.

The Global Challenges to Food Security Summer School is organised by the Food, Nutrition and Health in Development Research Cluster and the SOAS Economics Department.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand critical food- nutrition- and health-related challenges facing in particular low- and middle-income countries.
  • Be aware of some of the major patterns of change that food systems are undergoing and identify ways in which said changes shape global challenges.
  • Critically engage with policy options to tackle malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries.

Convenor Information

Sophie van Huellen is a lecturer in Economics at SOAS University of London where she teaches undergraduate and post graduate modules. Her research interests include food prices and issues around food security, commodity dependency and food sovereignty. In particular she works on the financialisation of food commodity markets, speculative influences on grain prices, supply chain studies and the financial side of food industries. In the past, Sophie has worked for various international and national institutions, such as UNCTAD, the African Development Bank and the German Federal Ministry of Finance.


Students are usually able to obtain credits from their home institution and typically our courses receive 3 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to claim credits from your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you enrol. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to award credits rests with your home institution.

Assessment will be optional and will vary for each course. Participants will be provided with a certificate of attendance and a Record of Study will be available on request.


For more information, please fill out our enquiry form.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: 22 July - 9 August 2019

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending the summer school, and 18+ years of age. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.

Featured events

3 weeks

Tuition Fees 2019

Tuition fee:



Programme structure:

Week 1: Global Challenges

  • Health, economic growth and development
  • Multiple burdens of malnutrition and disease
  • Indicators and measurements of food insecurity and malnutrition

Week 2: Globalised Food Systems and Implications for Nutrition and Health

  • Drivers of global food systems and their impact on dietary transition
  • Food prices, food crises and implications for nutrition
  • Food production and climate change
  • Food regimes and food sovereignty

Week 3: Responses to Hunger, Malnutrition and Poor Health

  • The role of public investment for nutrition-sensitive growth
  • Economic and political causes of famine
  • Gender equality and food security.
  • Food technology and nutrition.

Assessment: is optional and will be in the form individual class presentations and group work (20%) and a 2000-2500 word essay (80%) to be handed in 2 weeks after the end of the course.

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

Contact hours:

46 hours (lectures, tutorials, activities). The course will be delivered Monday - Friday over the 3 weeks.

Core hours: 

Monday - Friday 10am-3pm. In addition to regular lectures and tutorials, each course is composed of a range of activities relating to their academic content (e.g. museum visit, company visit etc). 

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees


Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


20% discount for our partner institutions


Accommodation is available to Summer School students at the SOAS halls of residence, Dinwiddy House. For more details of how to book a room please visit the Dinwiddy House accommodation page.

Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2019

The SOAS Academic Summer School is delighted to offer three tuition-fee waiver scholarships to passionate students with a desire to make a difference in the world.

The scholarships will cover the tuition fee for one Academic Summer School course in 2019. 

Application Deadline: 2019-04-12 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


How to Apply

Click to apply

Entry Requirements

In order to join the Academic Summer School, students should meet the following entry requirements:

  • A university student or a graduate at the time of attending. Professional experience can be acknowledged as equivalent to a university qualification.
  • Participants must be 18 or over at the time of attendance.
  • Fluency in English language is recommended for non-credit courses, but essential for SOAS Accredited courses. Proficiency can be demonstrated through:
  • IELTS, 6.5 overall or higher, with at least 6 in all sub scores.
  • TOEFL Paper based test we require a minimum of 583 with minimum 53 in all skills and for TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 93 with minimum 20 in all skills. 
  • Pearson Test of English a score of 59-64
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Grade B
  • If you have studied in an English speaking institution, or have courses taught at your university in English (excluding English language courses) you may meet our requirements without having to supply a certificate. Evidence of this will either need to be included on a transcript or letter from your university. 
  • If you are unsure whether you meet the above entry requirements, please contact us to discuss your application.

Enrolment of applicants who do not meet the entry requirements is at the discretion of SOAS – please get in touch to speak to us about your application and we will be happy to help. 

Application Procedure

Once you have paid the £40 application fee and submitted the online application form, you will be informed as to whether you have a place on the summer school within 5 working days. Please do not pay your tuition fee prior to having received your offer letter.

Application Deadline

Applications now accepted on a rolling basis for all courses

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