This MSc programme seeks to explain state-society relations and development in Asia, Africa and (where appropriate) Latin America through the sub-disciplines of comparative political sociology and comparative/international political economy. Students will study the core concepts of these sub-disciplines such as: state; civil society; social closure; class; bureaucracy; patrimonialism; hegemony; late-industrialisation; product cycle; developmental state; rent-seeking; good governance; and globalization. They will also be exposed to the principal analytical perspectives of political science such as historical institutionalism, rational choice theory and Marxism. These intellectual foundations will enable students to gain a better understanding of the shaping factors behind phenomena such as: state collapse and criminalisation in Africa; cronyism in Southeast Asia and Latin America; religious fundamentalism in South Asia; economic take-off in East Asia; linguistic nationalism in Central Asia; the ‘third wave’ of democratisation; global financial instability; and the relationship between the Washington Institutions and the South. Students will also come to understand the usefulness of cross-regional comparison by seeing how the study of one region can illuminate similar issues elsewhere, despite differing cultural contexts.
Courses are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.
The MSc programme consists of three taught courses (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.
Most courses involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world.
The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (L&SS)
Welcome to the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences at SOAS. The faculty is the largest in the School in terms of student and staff numbers and consists of the departments of Development Studies, Economics, Financial and Management Studies, Politics and International Studies and the School of Law, as well as the Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Sciences, the Centre for Gender Studies, the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, the Centre of Taiwan Studies and a number of department-specific centres. All five departments offer undergraduate programmes, and all but Finance and International Management offer joint undergraduate degrees which can be combined with other disciplines from across the School. Each department also offers a range of masters-level programmes with a regional or disciplinary specialism, as well as a postgraduate research programme. The range of course options and combinations is one of the most distinctive characteristics of studying at SOAS and all students are given the option of studying an Asian or African language, either as part of or on top of their degree.
Staff in the faculty come from all over the world and combine regional knowledge with disciplinary specialisms. Teaching draws heavily on academic staff’s individual research which allows the faculty to maintain a large portfolio of courses, often exploring cutting-edge issues. Many faculty members have played a significant part in public debates and policy-making in relation to Asia and Africa. Academics in the faculty are regularly consulted by governments, public bodies and multilateral organisations including the United Nations and the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, European Commission, DFID and other country-specific organisations and NGOs.
- Excellent student satisfaction for Faculty of Law and Social Sciences The Faculty of Law and Social Sciences (LSS) at SOAS, University of London has performed extremely well according to the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS).