MSc Development Economics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

All the courses offered by the Department of Economics approach the subject matter from a development perspective. Students on the MSc Development Economics will complete courses on Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Econometrics and Growth and Development. In addition, students must take three optional courses and complete a dissertation in an area of applied economics.

The objectives of the programme are:

  • To enable students to apply the principles of economic analysis to the design of the economic policy.
  • To teach postgraduates the technical and analytical skills to qualify them to practice as professional economists.
  • To enable practising professional economists to improve and update their skills and knowledge.
  • To impart the skills and knowledge that enable students to progress towards PhD research.

Students will benefit from studying with experts in development economics within the Department. More broadly, students will benefit from the Department's Political Economy of Development seminar series and other open lectures offered in the School.

All students are required to complete the compulsory preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics (including Computing) to begin studying on this programme. This course is taught over a three week period from the beginning of September covering mathematics, statistics and computing.


A postgraduate degree in Development Economics from SOAS equips students with a range of important skills to continue in the field of research as well as a portfolio of widely transferable employability skills valued by a wide range of employers. These include numeracy, analytical thinking and general skills such as organisation and effective communication skills. In addition, the study of Economics gives students particular problem-solving skills including abstraction, analysis, quantification, strategic thinking and adaptability.

Postgraduate students from the SOAS MSc in Development Economics have followed successful careers in both academic work, and also in international banking and financial analysis, in national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-government organisations. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • African Development Bank
  • Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister
  • Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
  • Department For Communities And Local Government
  • Department for International Development
  • Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Emerging Markets Direct
  • European Commission
  • Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • Ghana Education Service
  • Government of Pakistan
  • HM Treasury
  • Institute for Social and Economic Studies (IESE)
  • International Climate Change Economics
  • Ministry of East African Community Affairs
  • National Bank of Bahrain
  • Overseas Development Institute
  • Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
  • The National Economics University
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • World Bank

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Barrister
  • Development Economist
  • Broadcast Journalist
  • Fair Trade Producer Support Manager
  • Latin America Country Risk Analyst
  • Economic Adviser
  • Senior Policy Officer
  • Deputy Commissioner
  • Research Fellow
  • Advocacy Officer
  • Consultant - Development Sector Practice
  • Senior Policy Economist
  • ODI Fellow
  • Research Officer
  • Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist
  • Operations Manager
  • Web Writer & Founder


The MSc Development Economics is a taught Masters degree, taught within a structures programme being obtained mainly by research and dissertation. It consists of eight-course modules delivered through lectures, classes, and tutorials and a 10,000-word dissertation. The degree is awarded on the basis of examinations written in May and a dissertation which is submitted in September. All students must complete and pass the Basic Mathematics and Statistics course which is taught over three weeks in August/ September before the start of the core courses of the MSc.

The structure of the modules for this programme is similar to MSc Economics with reference to certain area courses except that students have three modules for their options. A complete list of courses in the programme is listed below, not all of which are offered in any single year. Please note that some courses may be taught in other departments of the School. CORE All students need to choose eight courses from the list below. A 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic is compulsory and is in addition to the taught courses.

Students with strong econometrics background may follow an alternative combination of quantitative modules allowing them to take both Advanced Macroeconometrics and Advanced Microeconometrics without having to complete Econometrics first. Students who wish to apply for this alternative quantitative structure must contact the convenor of Econometrics prior to taking the Preliminary examination. Applicants will undertake an assessment during the Welcome week based on examination papers of previous years' Econometrics.


  • Dissertation for MSc Development Economics

Taught Component

Core Modules

All students will take the following five core modules:

  • Essay Writing Workshop - Postgraduate Economics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Growth and Development
  • Econometrics

Compulsory Modules

All students will take EITHER Advanced Macroeconometrics (previously Advanced Econometrics A) OR Advanced Microeconometrics (previously Advanced Econometrics B):

  • Advanced Macroeconometrics
  • Advanced Microeconometrics

Taught Component for students with a strong background in Econometrics

For students with a strong background in Econometrics, the following alternative combination of modules is available; they will take both Advanced Econometrics A and Advanced Econometrics B without having to complete Econometrics first and will take all the core modules listed above.

Guided Options

All students will take the modules to the value of 45 credits from the list of modules (below).

List of Modules (subject to availability)

Note: Advanced Macroeconometrics and Advanced Microconometrics can be chosen as an option if not taken as a core module.

  • Advanced Macroeconometrics
  • Advanced Microeconometrics
  • Economic development of Africa: microeconomic approaches
  • Economic development of Africa: macroeconomic approaches
  • Political Economy of Development and Change in the Middle East
  • Topics in the Political Economy of Contemporary Middle East
  • Capital markets, derivatives & corporate finance
  • China and World Development
  • China's Economic Transformation
  • Economic Development of Japan
  • Political Economy of Development and Change in South Asia
  • Topics in the Political Economy of Contemporary South Asia
  • Economic Development in the Asia Pacific region
  • Economics of Environment and Development
  • Financial Systems and Economic Development
  • Gender Economics (PG)
  • Global Economic Policy Analysis
  • Global Production and Industrial Policy
  • Green Finance
  • History of Economic Analysis
  • Institutions and Governance
  • International Finance
  • International Trade and Investment
  • Limits to Growth? (PG)
  • Political Economy of Agriculture and Food
  • Political Economy of Institutions
  • Theory of financial institutions & policy
  • Advanced Microeconomics
  • Advanced Macroeconomics

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Economics.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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