Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time
Applicants apply for the MSc Development Studies programme but can decide to follow the Central Asia Pathway upon arrival by choosing the combination of modules required for this pathway.
We welcome applications from those who have worked in a broad field of development, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, development issues in Central Asia.
Students taking the Central Asia Pathway will develop a specialist understanding of Development Studies in the context of Central Asia. Development issues in Central Asia are a major focus of NGO and international organisations that work in Central Asia. SOAS' recognised strengths in this area, including the establishment of the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus, makes this a unique and exciting opportunity for those interested in Central Asia.
Students can take this programme part-time for over 2 or 3 years. Students usually complete their core modules in Year 1 and their option modules and dissertation in subsequent years.
A postgraduate degree from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS will further develop your understanding of the world, other peoples’ ways of life and how society is organised, with an emphasis on transferable analytical skill. These skills have been of great benefit to the many graduates who have taken up professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. This, in addition to your detailed subject knowledge, will also equip you with a set of other specific skills, including critical skills; the ability to research extensively; a high level of cultural awareness; and the ability to solve problems.
Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
- 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
- National Health and Medical Research Council
- Overseas Development Institute
- Public Sector Reform Unit - Government of Sierra Leone
- Republic of Mozambique National Parliament
- Royal Norwegian Embassy
- Save the Children UK
- The World Bank
- Thinking Beyond Borders
- U.S. Department of State
- UN World Food Programme
- UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
- Chief Economist
- Global Communications Director
- Director for Climate Change and Environment
- Head of Research and Consultancies
- Development Director
- Regional OVC programme coordinator
- Head of Operations
- Country Director
- Bureau Chief
- Desk Officer on Pakistan Affairs
- Policy Analyst
- Partnership Liaison Officer
- Fundraising and Communications Manager
- Development Policy Officer
- Environmental Economist
- Human Rights Officer
- Country Director - Indonesia
- Relationship Banker - Africa Desk
- Policy Analyst/Economist
Students must take 180 credits per year comprised of 120 taught credits (including core, compulsory and optional modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.
- Dissertation in Development Studies
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.
- Theory, policy and practice of development
- Political Economy of Development
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.
- State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus
- Geopolitics and Security in Central Asia and the Caucasus
These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.
Choose module(s) to the total value of 30 credits from:
- Module(s) from the Development Studies list below to the value of 30 credits.
- Open option modules to the value of 30 credits from another department.
- Module from the Development Studies lists below to the value of 15 credits.
- Open option modules to the value of 15 credits from another department.
All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term, non-assessed module Economics for Beginners, which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.
List of Modules (subject to availability)
- Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty
- Aid and Development
- Battlefields of Method: Approaches to International Development Research
- Borders and Development
- Cities and Development
- Civil society, social movements and the development process
- Development Practice
- Environment, Governance and Development
- Energy Transition, Nature, and Development in a Time of Climate Change
- Famine and food security
- Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies
- Gender and Development
- Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work
- Global Health and Development
- Issues in Forced Migration
- Marxist Political Economy and Global Development
- Migration and Policy
- Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice
- Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development
- Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa
- The Working Poor and Development
- Migrant Labour in the Global Economy
- Water and Development: Conflict and Governance
- Water Resources: Justice and Governance
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.
Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
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.
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.