MPhil/PhD Development Economics
Duration: 3 years full time or 6 years part-time
Entry Requirements: Admission and Thesis Requirements. A good Masters degree in Economics is usually required for registration for the MPhil and PhD research degrees. Students are normally registered for the MPhil degree in the first instance. Once approval of the Student's Supervisory Committee has been received, the student's registration is upgraded to PhD status (and backdated to the commencement of the MPhil registration), usually at the end of the first year of study. The normal period of study for a PhD degree is not less than three years of full-time study. Students if full-time employment or with other significant commitments may register for part-time study, for which the minimum registration period is double that of full-time study. Candidates are expected to present a thesis of no more than 55,000 words for the MPhil, while for the PhD the maximum length is 100,000 words.
Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time
The PhD in Development Economics is a research degree offered by the Department of Economics, and is also part of the PhD pathway, 'International Development', within the Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Partnership. The latter forms one of the few Centres recognized by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), thereby receiving financial support, and especially individual grants, for MSc and PhD students. This PhD pathway is open to applicants whether or not eligible for, or in receipt of, ESRC funding, with ESRC-funded students expected to form a small minority overall. Successful applicants to the MPhil/PhD in Development Economics will normally have a good Master's degree in a relevant subject if entering directly into the MPhil/PhD pathway although each applicant is assessed on merits including work and other experience.
The first year of training involves attendance at courses and/or seminars but not usually formal written examinations. Students are registered for an MPhil in their first (full-time equivalent) year but usually, convert to a PhD after their upgrade viva rather than continuing to the MPhil qualification.
An essential feature of the MPhil and PhD process is the close working relationship between research students and supervisors. Supervisors and students meet regularly and consult closely. All research students have a Supervisory Committee to cover theoretical, empirical and regionally-specific supervision, as appropriate. There are Research Student Tutors with overall responsibility for research students, who are available for discussion of general problems. And the Departmental Empirical Support Committee (DESC) offers detailed and individual advice to students about fieldwork and empirical analysis as appropriate. As necessary, upon request, DESC will consider individual student needs and allocate one or more members of staff (not necessarily the supervisor) to advise.
Students are required to participate in a workshop/seminar in which research topics and results are presented and discussed by staff and students. In addition, there is a regular Departmental seminar, to which members of the Department and visiting speakers present papers. There is a strong interdisciplinary basis for research and teaching in political economy, development economics, and area or specific country studies. London, moreover, provides an unrivaled opportunity for students to hear papers read by leading authorities in African and Asian studies, as well as in economics and development more generally.
Many SOAS research students spend some time doing fieldwork in the regions of their research. The Faculty of Law and Social Sciences and the School as a whole, through their various connections with individuals and institutions in the universities and governments of Asia and Africa, can usually facilitate this with personal contact and introductions.
The research degree embodies a core of training in research methods combined with a clear structure of progression thereafter. The training components are explained below. The duration and structure of the research degree will be as follows:
Full-Time Research Degree: 3 years plus 1 year writing up.
- YEAR 1: Research Training: research students will take the 'Research Methods for Development Economics' course in the Economics Department.
- YEAR 1: Upgrade: Students will normally be expected to pass an upgrade from MPhil to PhD status within 9 months of commencing the degree.
- YEAR 2-3: Research: Core research undertook; primary and secondary data collection as appropriate, thesis chapters finalized.
- YEAR 4: Write Up: If necessary a fourth year can be taken to write the final thesis. Examination of the thesis will take place after submission within the 4th year.
Part-Time Research Degree: 6 years plus 1 year writing up. The research degree can be undertaken over 6 years:
- Research Methods course must be taken over the first two years.
- Upgrade: will take place within the 21 months after initial registration.
- Examination: this will take place after submission within the writing-up year (year 7) at the latest.