MSc Political Economy of Development


Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

This unique MSc is designed for students whose first degree was only partially in economics or who have already studied a lot of economics and want to do an MSc that enables them to do a wider range of options. Instead of the usual compulsory courses in micro, macro and econometrics (they are still available as options), this MSc has compulsory courses in institutional economics, development economics, research methods and statistical techniques.

Students will benefit from our unique pluralist approach to economics, covering both conventional as well critical and institutionalist economics paradigms, and our range of regional modules covering different developing and emerging regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. We believe economists have to be confident in their use of competing for methodological approaches to participate in global policy debates. You will leave with a knowledge base that is essential for further work in development policy, business and finance and research work in political economy at the global level.

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 Political Economy of Development 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. Graduates will develop their regional expertise as well as an advanced understanding of issues of development in their political and economic context. 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 Political Economy of Development 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.


Students registered for this MSc must take all the core courses listed below. The only possible exception is that students who have already an adequate maths and stats background may drop the Statistical Research Techniques module and take instead Econometrics, this requires the written permission of the course convenor for Econometrics. Students who wish to apply for this alternative quantitative structure, which includes the option of taking Advanced Econometrics A and/or Advanced Econometrics B, must contact the convenor of Econometrics prior to the taking of the Preliminary examination. Students on this MSc must always take the Research Methods modules and the other core modules.


  • Dissertation for MSc Political Economy of Development

Taught Component

Core Modules

All students will take the following four core modules:

  • Growth and Development
  • Essay Writing Workshop - Postgraduate Economics
  • Political Economy of Institutions
  • Statistical Research Techniques
  • Research Methods

Guided Options

All students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from the list of options (below).

List of Modules (subject to availability)

  • 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
  • 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
  • Capital markets, derivatives & corporate finance
  • China's Economic Transformation
  • China and World Development
  • Economic Development of Japan
  • Economics of Environment and Development
  • Financial Systems and Economic Development
  • Global Economic Policy Analysis
  • Global Production and Industrial Policy
  • Green Finance
  • History of Economic Analysis
  • International Trade and Investment
  • International Finance
  • Limits to Growth? (PG)
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Political Economy of Agriculture and Food
  • Theory of financial institutions & policy

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

Good undergraduate degree in, or including, 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
London , Singapore + 1 More Less