Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD) in Development Studies
SOAS University of London
Full time, Part time
GBP 4,670 / per year *
Earliest start date
* full-time fees per academic year: UK/EU £4,670; Overseas £20,800. Part-time fees per academic year: UK/EU £2,335; Overseas £10,400
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
Study MPhil/PhD in Development Studies at SOAS to realise your potential to tackle global injustice and transform the world with your research impact.
As a PhD researcher, you’ll join a renowned globally diverse research community with access to research and teaching opportunities, as well as a substantial series of seminars presented by leading development professionals and practitioners.
The Department currently has 52 research students, working on a range of research topics in many parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. We are particularly interested in potential research students who wish to work in one of the main Departmental Research Clusters, specifically: Labour, Movements and Development; Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States; Violence, Peace and Development; Water for Africa; Migration, Mobility and Development; Agrarian Change and Development; Development Policy, Aid, Institutions and Poverty Reduction.
SOAS research students are encouraged to attend weekly training sessions to introduce them to a number of practical techniques and vocational skills utilised within the development profession, fortnightly seminars on topics relevant to Development Studies and, where appropriate, post-experience workshops.
Why study MPhil/PhD Development Studies at SOAS
- We are ranked number 5 in the QS World University Rankings in the subject of Development Studies.
- SOAS is ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for producing a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research.
- Academic staff and their research areas include Professor Laura Hammond MA, PhD (Wisconsin) Horn of Africa; Ethiopia; Somalia; forced migration; resettlement; returnees; remittances; international assistance and Professor Gilbert Achcar BA (Lyons) BA, MA (Lebanese University Beirut) PhD (Paris VIII) the Middle East and North Africa; social and political theory; international relations; globalisation; sociology of religion.
Students are expected to upgrade from MPhil to PhD status after their first year.
It is expected that you will meet your assigned Supervisor in your first week at SOAS, and that, in consultation with your Supervisor, you will choose two other academics to serve on your research committee.
During the module of your first year, you are required to attend the Department’s Postgraduate Research Training Seminar. These sessions will provide you with the essential training in research methodology and will assist you in getting started: specifically, they will assist you in writing the constituent components of the ‘upgrade paper’ that you have to submit and defend in viva in Term 3 of your first year.
Given the wealth of training resources in research methods and other theoretically and empirically relevant postgraduate modules across the Faculty and in other Faculties at SOAS, students are strongly encouraged to audit modules.
Additional modules can be invaluable, especially for conceptual or area-specific issues or topics, as ways to supplement the training imparted in the MPhil Seminars. The supervisor and the student will discuss at the beginning of the year the most suitable portfolio of training and modules in relation to the topic of the thesis, its main research questions and the setting in which the research will be conducted.
Schedule after year 1
Once students have passed their upgrade, they should immediately proceed with designing the details of the empirical work and organising the drafts written in the module of the first year. As most Development Studies students will embark on fieldwork in their second year, it is important to keep the 3-year time limit in mind and do not postpone writing chapters until after the completion of fieldwork.
Any writing done during that period will save crucial time on return.
Ordinarily, a student would then adhere to the following writing up schedule:
- Terms 4, 5 and 6: Fieldwork, and beginning of data processing as well as drawing up of chapter templates;
- Summer vacation of the second year terms 7 and 8: Data analysis and back to literature review to revise initial chapters and produce a full final draft;
- Term 9: Reviewing the first draft, completing any required rewriting, and submission of dissertation. There is a possibility of continuation of writing-up after term 9 but the thesis will have to be submitted in any case before the end of the 4th year. This will be the final deadline although the thesis is expected to be finished within three years of full-time active research.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.
A degree from the Department of Development Studies at SOAS will further develop your understanding of the world and how society is organised, with a specific focus on violence and conflict, the role of aid, refugees and forced migration. Graduates leave with a range of transferable skills, including critical thinking, analytical skills and cultural awareness.
Recent Department of Development Studies graduates has been hired by:
- 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
- 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
English Language Requirements
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