Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD) in Development, Environment and Policy

General

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Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time


The MPhil/PhD in Development, Environment and Policy provides advanced training and research experience at a doctoral level in the areas at the intersection of development, environment and policy. The programme is particularly focused on the following:

  • Environment, energy and development, including climate change and development and the land-water-energy nexus.
  • Sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food systems and agriculture-health linkages.
  • Agricultural, energy and climate policy.

A key feature of the programme is an emphasis on interdisciplinarity – our students are encouraged to blend concepts, tools and methods from across disciplines, eg. economics and nutrition; politics and geography. This is enhanced by our location in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, with its mission to strengthen interdisciplinarity within SOAS. Our students also benefit from CeDEP’s strong links with other Bloomsbury colleges of the University of London such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and cross-college institutions such as the London International Development Centre (LIDC) and the London Centre for Integrative Research in Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).

Structure

Year 1

In Year 1, students will audit two postgraduate modules, which can be on-campus or online modules. One of these would be a Research Methods module and could be the CeDEP online module in Research Methods. Auditing a Research Methods module from another SOAS department/centre, eg. from the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, or Development Studies or Economics departments is also possible, contingent on places being available.

This second module is a free choice from postgraduate modules across SOAS and the Bloomsbury colleges, including online modules, based upon discussion between supervisor and student, and subject to approval by the department/college in question and the module convener. This will provide students with the chance to obtain tools and concepts from other disciplines relevant to their thesis.

Students will be expected to attend any classes and seminars associated with these modules, but are not expected to undertake module assessment.

An annual training plan is to be agreed with the lead supervisor in year 1 to help ensure students have the requisite skills to undertake their planned research and produce a thesis of the required academic standard. This plan will clarify modules to be audited as a progression requirement. In addition to the modules audited in year 1, courses may be taken in the first year or later as advised by the supervisor, including short courses offered by the Doctoral School. These may include transferable research skills options: research writing and presentation, generic methods and techniques for data collection and analysis, language support, research integrity, and academic teaching.

By the end of Year 1, students will be expected to have upgraded from MPhil to PhD status by submitting and defending an upgrade proposal.

Year 2 onwards

Year 2 typically involves assembling the data required for the thesis and making progress on the analysis of the data. Many students will undertake a significant spell of fieldwork in order to gather primary data. PhD Researchers must complete the research ethics checklist as part of the upgrade process on PhD Manager. This is subject to Departmental review and possible referral to the Research Ethics Panel. The design and conduct of fieldwork must take into account the 3-year time limit for the PhD. It will be important to make progress on producing first drafts of initial chapters of the thesis during year 2.

Data analysis should ideally be completed by the midpoint of year 3, along with further progress on writing draft chapters. This leaves the last half of the year for revision of drafts and completion of the write-up, with submission at the end of year 3. In the occasional case, permission may be sought to continue write-up after year 3; however, submission by the end of year 4 is mandatory. The expectation is that the thesis will be submitted within three years.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Research Admissions and Applications

We welcome applications from qualified students holding a good Master’s-level degree (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject for research degrees at SOAS. Applications should be submitted online.

It is important to apply well before the start of the academic year in which you wish to enrol to allow us time to process your application. If you are applying for scholarships, earlier deadlines may apply.

The SOAS PhD programme is competitive and applicants should have a track record of high academic achievement and a viable proposal which will contribute to the research interests of the Department. Please note: we discourage purely speculative applications. Applications for interdisciplinary research are welcome, but only one application to one Department may be submitted.

Entry Requirements

We welcome applications from qualified students holding a good Master’s-level degree (or overseas equivalent) in a subject relevant to the Centre's core interests in development, environment and policy. Typically, we would expect applicants to have some background in the social sciences and to demonstrate high academic achievement in their previous studies.

Unconditional English Language Entry Requirements

Applicants that require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must provide a UKVI IELTS Academic certificate from a UKVI approved test centre.

International applicants requiring a Tier-4 Visa to study in the UK

Test Unconditional entry Unconditional entry with in-sessional support
IELTS (Academic) 7.0 overall or higher, with 7.0 in sub-scores. 7.0 overall or higher, with at least 6.5 in sub-scores

EEA and EU applicants

Test Unconditional entry Unconditional entry with in-sessional support
IELTS (Academic) 7.0 overall or higher, with 7.0 in each sub-score. 7.0 overall or higher, with at least 6.5 in sub-scores.
TOEFL IBT 105 overall or higher, with a minimum of 25 in sub-scores. 105 overall with a minimum of 22 in sub-scores.
OR
100 overall with a minimum of 25 in writing and 22 in other sub-scores.
Pearson Test of English (Academic) 75 overall or higher, with a minimum of 70 in sub-scores. 70 overall or higher, with a minimum of 65 in sub-scores.
Last updated September 2019

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