Postgraduate programme specification 2012/13

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1 Postgraduate programme specification 2012/13 School of Oriental and African Studies The following information forms the programme specification at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. It gives definitive information relating to a programme of study and is written for a public audience, particularly prospective and current students. It is also used for other purposes such as initial programme approval, and is therefore produced at the start of the programme development process. Once approved, it forms the baseline information for all statements relating to the programme and is updated as approved amendments are made. CORE INFORMATION Programme title Research for International Development Final award MSc Intermediate awards N/A Mode of attendance Full time or part time (two or three years) UCAS code N/A Professional body accreditation N/A Date specification created/updated February 2012 WHY CHOOSE THIS PROGRAMME? Why study at SOAS? What is special about this programme? 1 SOAS is unique as the only higher education institution in the UK specialising in the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The School also has the largest concentration of specialist faculty concerned with the study of these areas at any university in the world. SOAS is consistently ranked among the top higher education institutions in the UK and the world and it also offers a friendly, vibrant environment for students in a diverse and close-knit community. Click here for more information. This programme gives students advanced interdisciplinary training in research methods and topics in Research for International Development. The programme structure emphasises research methods and yet provides the opportunity to choose from a large number of substantive optional courses. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme is by virtue of the options available for study being drawn from two departments within SOAS: Economics and

2 Who would it suit? Programme structure Assessment summary Development Studies. Students will therefore benefit from studying with experts in a variety of fields of international development and the wider regional expertise in developing countries and development issues. Further, the core courses span the two departments. The programme will suit students with a variety of backgrounds in social sciences, including politics, sociology, economics, and so on, with a strong interest in development issues. The programme has been designed to prepare students for a PhD in International Development. It would also meet the needs of people working, or hoping to work in international agencies, humanitarian organisations, and NGOs The course is taken over 1 year (full time) or 2-3 years (part-time). There are three core courses: a year-long core course in research methods entitled Battlefields of Method, and two half-year courses in research methods in political economy - Research Methods I and II. These are then combined with four half-year optional courses offered by either the department of Development Studies or Economics. In addition students are expected to complete a 13,000 word dissertation that is worth a third of the overall degree mark. Courses are generally assessed on the basis of a final examination (70%) and essay or project based coursework ENTRY REQUIREMENTS SOAS has general minimum entrance requirements for registration for a postgraduate taught degree and these can be viewed at Normally minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in the social sciences, including some economics and/or political economy, and preferably a demonstrable interest in research and research methods. Work and other experience may be taken into account. Each student must attend the Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics course, and attend its exam. 'The preliminary course runs in September prior to the start of teaching in term one. 2

3 ESRC scholarships are available for this degree where taken as part of a 1+3 programme leading to a 3 year PhD in International Development. Information about the ESRC scholarship can be found here: PROGRAMME AIMS What will this programme give the student an opportunity to achieve? To provide students with interdisciplinary training in international development drawn from economics, development studies and other social sciences. To train students in a variety of research methods appropriate for use in the analysis of international development issues. To provide students with coverage of topics and themes in international development that is at the frontier of the discipline. PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES What will the student learn? Knowledge An understanding of a wide spectrum of research methods associated with the analysis of international development ranging from epistemological discussions to qualitative and quantitative statistical research methods An interdisciplinary understanding of international development issues and themes drawn from development studies, economics or a combination of the two. Intellectual (thinking) skills The ability to critically appraise development paradigms and development policy from the perspective of economics, heterodox economics and development studies. Capacity to approach development and development policy from an interdisciplinary perspective. Subject-based practical skills From the research methods courses: - Training in discourse, content, statistical, network and other related analyses. - Ability to understand and critically appraise statistical evidence on aspects of international development drawn from either household surveys or aggregated data, and both qualitative and quantitative in nature. - Ability to collect data methodically and implement specific techniques for systematic analysis of those data using specialised software. From the option courses: - Ability to critically appraise alternative theoretical treatments of international development issues Transferable skills Knowledge of a broad range of research methods and their strengths and weaknesses Ability to appraise and implement a variety research methods 3

4 Ability to evaluate and synthesise different theoretical and conceptual arguments Critical appraisal and critical thinking and writing skills PROGRAMME STRUCTURE AND REQUIREMENTS FOR GAINING AN AWARD How will the student s study be structured? How will they achieve an award? Structure, duration and requirements for gaining an award SOAS has standard requirements relating to the structure and duration of taught postgraduate programmes and for the award and classification of these programmes. Details can be found at Programme structure diagram Below is a structure diagram for this programme. (new course codes to be included on approval) Lev el Year of study Course code PDSC008 Battlefields of Method: Approaches to International Development Research PECC052 Research Methods in Political Economy I PECC053 Research Methods in Political Economy II Course title Credit Status Notes 30 Core 15 Core 15 Core AND optional courses to the minimum value of 60 CATS points 7 1,2 or 3 (for p-t studen ts) AND 15PDSC997 Dissertation in Research Methods for International Development 60 Core Optional courses in Development Studies (all level 7, all 15 CATS point): 4

5 (15PDSH038) Agriculture and Rural Development in Developing Countries (15PDSH037) Gender and International Development (15PDSH039) HIV/AIDS and Development 15PDSH043 Rural livelihoods, Contested Natural resources and Globalisation (15PDSH035) Security (International Development) (15PDSH036) Social Movements, Civil Society and Development (15PDSH042) Theories, Trends and Policies in Economic Migration (15PDSH041) Water in Asia: Governance and Policy Reform (15PDSH040) Water Resources Management in Asia: Policy, Politics and Reform Optional courses in Economics (all level 7, all 15 CATS points): (15PECC057) African Economic Development I (15PECC058) African Economic Development II (15PECC056) Economic Development and Financial Systems (15PECC060) Economic Development in South Asia a) the macroeconomy (15PECC061) Economic Development in South Asia b) Major sectors and the International Economy (15PECC055) Economic issues of the Environment and Development (15PECC062) Macroeconomic theories and techniques (15PECC054) Microeconomic theory and techniques (15PECC059) Themes and Approaches in the Political Economy of Institutions Please note that courses can only be taken with the permission of the specific course convenor and will depend on specific background in economics. Not all courses will run each year. The availability of optional/elective courses may vary in a given academic session due to factors such as staff absence and student numbers. For an up to date list of 5

6 courses running in a given academic session please refer to the degree structures as listed on the SOAS website for the degree programmes taught by each Department. TEACHING, LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT What methods will be used to achieve the learning outcomes? Knowledge Transferred via lectures, seminars and, for research methods, computer and software training tutorials. Students are tested by a combination of final examinations and essay or project based coursework. For most courses this will be in the ratio of 70-30% of the final mark respectively. For Research Methods II, students are evaluated solely on the basis of an independent project which requires the direct application of the methods taught therein to a problem or question of the student s choosing. Intellectual (thinking) skills Both lectures and seminars will be used to develop students intellectual and thinking skills on their chosen international development topics. The seminar format is particularly suited to this since students are expected to prepare, present, evaluate and debate questions on the current topics for a given option. This requires the synthesis of a range of material within each option. Subject-based practical skills Within the research methods courses, students will be expected to prepare and present detailed answers to questions weekly, while undertaking exercises using statistical software. This requires the application of newly learned techniques and methods. Within other options, students are expected to present their work to the class and answer their questions. This develops presentational skills as well as the ability to describe and present different viewpoints and paradigms, whilst putting forward a considered view. Transferable skills Transferable skills will be developed as a matter of course, as the course unfolds. REFERENCE POINTS What has been the basis for the design of this programme? 1. School learning and teaching strategy 2. Staff research and lessons of consultancies and other practical development work done by core course teaching staff for government and international organizations in relevant fields. 3. QAA framework for higher education qualifications 4. Student feedback. 5. QAA framework for higher education qualifications 6. SOAS centennial mission statement 7. ESRC Delivery Plan

7 QUALITY ASSURANCE AND ENHANCEMENT SOAS has internal procedures to assure the quality of provision to be offered to students and to enhance the quality in the light of experience following delivery, taking into account the input of external experts and students. The procedures are set out in the School s Quality Assurance Handbook and can be viewed at SOAS is also subject to periodic external review from bodies such as the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and relevant professional and statutory regulatory bodies. The procedures described in the Quality Assurance Handbook are in place to provide a high quality student experience for those choosing to study at SOAS, and student input and evaluation of their experiences is greatly valued. Students make an input to the ongoing development of their programmes, and the environment in which they operate, in a number of ways, including: formal student evaluation as part of the annual programme review; student representation on School committees at various levels (through the Students Union) where many relevant issues are discussed; student representation at regular departmental meetings in both the Development Studies and Economics departments FURTHER INFORMATION SOAS Vision and Strategy Statement Postgraduate Handbook Quality Assurance Handbook QAA website Economics department website Development Studies department website ESRC Delivery Plan Economics postgraduate handbook Development Studies postgraduate handbook MSc Research for International Development programme page Development Studies Subject Guide Economics Subject Guide 7

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