MSc International Development (Online)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Online learning

MSc International Development is a new programme that builds on the established reputation of the Development Studies department. We welcome applications from those who have worked in development, however broadly defined, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, issues of international development.

International Development is a dynamic field concerned not only with processes of change in the South but of social, economic, political and cultural change in middle-income countries and the Global North. The perspective of International Development analyses these processes as complementary and interdependent and engages the major policy challenges as well as efforts to overcome poverty and insecurity. This programme provides a solid interdisciplinary social science formation in the political economy and sociology of development and develops students’ capacities for independent and critical analysis.

Highlights include:

  • Imposing and inventing development
  • National development, the state and planning
  • Neoliberalism and good governance
  • Gender and the development paradigm
  • Alternative development
  • Poverty, PRSPs and beyond
  • Measuring development
  • Inequality – national and international
  • Neoclassical economics
  • Marxism and structuralism
  • New institutionalism and the Washington Consensus
  • Industrialisation and growth
  • Labour and labour markets

Students can draw on SOAS's unique expertise to specialise further in particular regions or topics.


Students must take 180 credits comprised of one core and three elective modules totalling 120 taught credits, four supporting mini-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.
  • Elective modules: These are designed to help students design their own intellectual journey while maintaining a strong grasp of the fundamentals. Elective modules can be chosen from a list of subjects offered across SOAS' portfolio of programmes.


  • Dissertation in Development Studies

Core module

  • The Political Economy and Sociology of Development

Students have to choose a minimum of 30 credits from the Development Studies list below. They can then either select an additional 60 credits from this list or 30 from the Development Studies list and 30 from the Open Options list.

Development Studies

  • Human and Critical Security Studies
  • Understanding Violence, Conflict and Development
  • Critical Insights in Forced Migration
  • Partnerships Beyond Borders: NGOs, Social Movements and Civil Society in Transnational Development
  • The Transnational Politics of Gender and Feminisms in Development

Open Options - Global Diplomacy, International and Environmental

  • Afghanistan: Strategic and Geopolitical Perspectives
  • America and the World: US Foreign Policy
  • Climate Change and Development
  • Digital Diplomacy
  • Diplomatic Systems
  • Economics, Politics and Society in MENA
  • Economics, Politics and Society in South Asia
  • Food Security and Social Protection
  • Foundations of International Law
  • Gender, Conflict and the Middle East
  • Global Citizenship and Advocacy
  • Global Energy and Climate Policy
  • Global International Organisation: United Nations in the World
  • Global Media
  • Global Public Policy
  • India's Foreign and Security Policy
  • International Economics
  • International Security
  • Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World
  • Muslim Minorities in a Global Context
  • Pakistan: Religion, Politics and Security
  • Political History, Culture and Diplomacy in Iran
  • Sports and Diplomacy
  • Strategic Studies
  • Trade Diplomacy
  • Understanding Poverty
  • Understanding Sustainability

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

A minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). We welcome applications from academically strong individuals from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds. Candidates with a lower class degree but with degree-relevant work experience may 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.

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 Jul 2020

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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