Who is this programme for?
The degree has been developed to meet the needs of both development practitioners and researchers on international development, including those wishing to pursue an MPhil/PhD in International Development. The programme will suit students with a variety of backgrounds in social sciences, including politics, sociology, economics, and so on. It would also meet the needs of people working, or hoping to work in international agencies, humanitarian organisations, and NGOs. Students with a strong interest in research and research methods will thrive on the MSc distinctive focus on training in research methods.
"Getting to grips with development these days requires the ability to understand grand theory as well as a slew of expert subfields, each with their conceptual languages and real-world power structures. Pursuing research means justifying one or two of them, or reasoning your way into starting afresh. Whatever happens the battlefield must be surveyed and negotiated and SOAS is an excellent place for this adventure." Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, Oxford University.
The MSc Research for International Development is a newly established interdisciplinary Taught Masters programme at SOAS, offered jointly by the departments of Economics and Development Studies. This cutting-edge degree is funded and supported by the UK's ESRC (The Economic and Social Research Council) as part of the Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre.
The programme's unique core module Battlefield of Methods: Approaches to International Development equips students with the theoretical background and analytical skills to inquire into the relationship between theory and method in the domain of international development. The module provides students with knowledge about the plurality of methodological approaches in key areas of international development research, and the policy choices and strategies associated with these. The module offers students the opportunity to engage with a selection of methods used in international development research.
"Developmental research is a combination of science and art, resting on sound theoretical knowledge, a capability of handling a variety of methodologies and something that is just as important, a "feel" for the subject. There is no one perfect methodology or set of tools; a good social scientist must appreciate the strengths and limitations of each on offer. Uniquely, this module will equip future developmental explorers with the sophisticated tools. They will have to bring the "feel" themselves." Guy Standing, Professor of Economic Security University of Bath, UK
Further training in a variety of research methods is the focus of the other two core modules: Research Methods in Political Economy I and II . RMI covers the necessary statistical methods for social sciences including survey design and regression analysis. It aims to a) introduce students to statistical inference; b) encourage the clear and coherent expression of statistical results; and c) promote the critical reading of statistics within the development literature. RMII addresses sources and methods for the social sciences in the context of the political economy of development.
This programme gives students advanced interdisciplinary training in research methods and topics in Research for International Development. While the programme structure emphasises research methods, students will also have the opportunity to choose from a large number of substantive optional modules. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme is by virtue of both the core modules and options available for study being drawn from two departments within SOAS: Economics and Development Studies. Students will therefore benefit from studying with experts in a variety of fields of international development, and from the wide regional expertise in developing countries and development issues. SOAS Development Studies student Matthew Juden wins first DSA/ICEA Masters dissertation prize 2015.
Overview duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.
- UK/EU fees:
Who should take this course
Students must take 180 credits per year comprised of 120 taught credits (including core, compulsory and optional modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.
Core modules: 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. Compulsory modules: 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. Optional modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals.
About Course Provider
Our mission is to inspire the next generation to develop ideas for a fairer and more sustainable world. We welcome the brightest minds from over 130 different countries, creating a community that is diverse, vibrant and multinational. From day one at our central London campus, our students are encouraged to challenge conventional views and think globally – and that’s one of the reasons why they develop careers that make a real difference. A SOAS student is typically passionate about their subject, opts to learn a second language, loves to learn, to travel, to be surprised; and is interested and engaged with the world around them.