SOAS University of London

Academic Summer School at SOAS

Is Austerity a Choice? Managing Public Finances (2019 entry)

Credit-bearing Summer School

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


Programme Description 

This course aims to provide participants with the theoretical knowledge and critical tools for understanding the rationale for, and the impact of, public financial management policies on the economy in the context of austerity.

Since the 2008-9 financial crises, many countries of the world sought to adopt and deliver austerity measures in an effort to preserve the sustainability of public finances – with widely varying degrees of success. Followed by equally diverse fiscal policies that aimed to reinvigorate economic growth, the experience of the last decade offers powerful lessons as to the effectiveness of different approaches. Issues that will be discussed include the design of effective and sustainable public financial management systems, management of the ‘fiscal space’ of governments, development of public financial management capacity, the interplay with politics, and the role that international organisations like the IMF have in public financial management policies.

The course will draw examples and case studies from various countries and different thematic areas including fiscal planning, budgeting and expenditure reviews, debt management, transparency and accountability.

There will be no formal teaching during the third week. During this time, students complete their final assignments and tutors will be available to provide advice and guidance. If you do not wish to remain in London and make use of SOAS facilities during this time, tutors will be available via e-mail or virtual drop-in sessions.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand how public financial management relates to economic growth
  • Explain how austerity policies arise and what are their effects on economic growth
  • Explain how public financial management policies, institutions and practices can affect economic growth
  • Explain how the management of public finances differ in developed and developing countries

15 SOAS credits

This is a level 5 course (equivalent to second year undergraduate) and is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system.

If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.


2,500 word essay (70%)

Group presentation (30%)

SOAS Students

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further informaiton and assistance, please contact


For more information, please fill out our enquiries 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:



Week 1: Austerity: rationales and effects

• Macroeconomics and public finance
• Public debts and deficits
• Austerity, taxation and public spending
• The effects of austerity policies

Week 2: Growth: what public financial management can do

• Fiscal policy, redistribution and economic growth
• Taxation and economic growth
• Accountability, transparency and corruption
• Growth in developed and developing countries

Week 3: Writing week before submission of final assignment

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

Teaching will consist of a mix of lectures, guest lectures, tutorials and activities such as field visits. In tutorials, students will be required to do presentations on assigned topics that relate to public financial management issues.

The students will learn the implications of austerity policies on the economy and the society. They will also learn the role and impact of measures that are intended to promote economic growth. Students will develop the capacity to critically argue about the role and impact of public financial management policies, and to devise approaches to pursue economic growth while preserving the sustainability of public finances.

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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