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MSc State, Society and Development

Course Description

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.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/politics/programmes/mscstsocdev/

Programme Specification

Programme Specification 2012 (pdf; 214kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/politics/programmes/mscstsocdev/file51882.pdf

Teaching & Learning

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.

- Lectures

Most courses involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

- Seminars

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.

- Dissertation

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.

Learning Resources

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).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

Visit the MSc State, Society and Development page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Osman Diallo

SOAS is renowned worldwide for its academic excellence and friendly atmosphere, as well as its focus on Asia, Africa and Middle East. Given my passion for development in Africa and the regional focus of my studies, there was only one place that could offer me what I wanted – and that is SOAS.

I really like my lecturers and the structure and delivery of all the classes. Not to mention the extensive focus on Africa and Asia, this allowed me to look at things from a different perspective.

I enjoy joining different societies and the extracurricular activities that they organise. The social life at SOAS is really unpredictable but you get a surprise every single day. There is always something going on from music performances to intellectual debates.

However, the best thing about my time here is being taught by Dr Phil Clarke and Professor Stephen Chan, both award-winning academics in their respective fields.

SOAS is the place to be.


Canon Collins Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

These scholarships are for Masters study in any subject field.
The application process normally opens in December and closes in February, for study commencing in September the following year. Please go to the Canon Collins website and click "Apply for A Scholarship" and then "Canon Collins Scholarship for Masters Study in the UK" for further information on how to apply.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See website


Country/Nationality: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information



SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Law and Social Sciences - 16 Awards

There are six SOAS Master's scholarships available in the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. Each is valued at £16,765 each in total. Fees will be deducted from this amount and the remainder will be used toward maintenance. In addition to these six SOAS Master's scholarship, the Faculty will offer an extra 10 scholarships, each valued at approximately £1,500.Candidate Assessment:
- Candidates will be assessed on academic merit by an Advisory Panel consisting of at least three academic members of the Faculty. - The assessment of your application will be based on the information provided in your scholarship application and in your on-line admission application for admission. Selectors will be looking at the degree results and also at academic references, statement and other relevant information.Scholarship Application Deadline
- Scholarship applications must be received no later than 17:00 (UK local time) on 24 February 2016. - In order to be considered for this scholarship, you must ALSO submit a complete online application to the degree programme as soon as possible and then submit an application for the scholarship. Applicants applying for scholarships must also submit an application for admission well in advance. Please note that complete applications for admission can take up to 4 weeks to be considered by the Department, although this duration can vary depending on the time of year. - You should prepare to wait up to 6 weeks in busy periods.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- Applicants must possess or expect to be awarded a First Class Honours Degree or equivalent. Students with a non-UK degree to be adjudged in the top rank by their referees and transcript.
- This scholarship is open to UK/EU applicants only.
- Applicants must have an offer of admission to pursue one of the eligible full-time masters programmes at SOAS by the scholarship application deadline.
- The scholarship cannot be held along with any other major scholarship or studentship.

Application Procedure

You must apply for this scholarship via the on-line scholarship application form

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The qualification for entry is normally a first or upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Politics or International Relations, or a related social science discipline. Applicants without such a background may be considered for admission depending on their academic training and undergraduate performance.

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