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Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice


The programme equips students with a multi-disciplinary skill set to analyse and address the poverty reduction challenges of this millennium. A number of modules have significant economics content, other disciplines may include management theory, environmental science, political economy or law.

Demography Health
This MSc draws on a range of disciplines relevant to the challenges of poverty reduction.

With this degree, you will develop a critical, inter-disciplinary, integrative and global perspective on poverty reduction issues. As well as a broad understanding of managing organisations within their cultural, political, technological, social, and institutional contexts, to solve problems related to poverty reduction.

By studying this degree, you will:

  • understand the issues around sustainable development and poverty
  • understand the application of economics by institutions for development
  • understand the relationship between climate change and development and between gender and social development
  • depending on the specialism and modules selected, students will understand issues of agribusiness, development management, environmental analysis, environmental economics, environmental management, natural resource management, and rural development and change.

Course details

You study nine modules (three core, four elective and two research)

View Modules

The programme is offered online and is fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You study at a time and pace that suits you (subject to course-specific deadlines) using the study materials provided and support from a dedicated CeDEP tutor.

Study materials

We will send you study materials developed by academics at SOAS. These include a core subject guide for each course; further textbooks and collections of key readings; and various online and multimedia tools.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enables access to course materials, resources, and activities.     
  • A dedicated Associate Tutor, who you can contact with queries.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.
  • Discussion forums to facilitate peer-to-peer learning.

Time commitment

Most students take three years to complete the MSc, but this can vary according to need.

The study calendar consists of five sessions per year. Each session is devoted to a specific module and lasts eight weeks (with the exception of the first session which runs for 10 weeks). During each session you should expect to study between 15-20 hours per week.


Each module is assessed by a three-hour unseen written exam (weighting: 70%), and two assignments of 2,500 words (30%).

The dissertation is assessed by a thesis of 10,000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices).

Exams take place once a year in September/October. You have two attempts to pass an exam, after which your registration will cease.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

You will need either a bachelor degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. finance, economics) from an institution acceptable to the University or relevant education and work experience that comprises suitable training for the programme.

If you have a qualification in an unrelated subject or an international qualification considered equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, we will consider these on their own merits.

English Language requirements

If your first degree was not taught in English, you will need to provide evidence of language ability as tested by the British Council or another registered body. This is equivalent to a score of 7.0 overall in the iELTS test, or 7.0 in both reading and writing.

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. Certain courses may have additional requirements, such as software to manage spreadsheets and run macros.

See more about computer requirements.

The fees below apply if you begin during the 2017-2018 session. These may be increased by up to 5% per year.

Academic year2018 (from 01 October 2017)
Module fee (including IPA)£ 1,050
Total Postgraduate Certificate£ 4,200
Total Postgraduate Diploma£ 8,400
Total MSc£ 9,450

Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool.

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams and any customs duties/taxes on educational materials (e.g. USB/CDs).

Method of payment

Please contact:

The MSc Poverty Reduction, Policy and Practice programme is designed to assist both existing development professionals and people moving into the field of international development.

It is anticipated that most graduates of this programme will find work in:

  • government ministries and other public sector organisations concerned with policy analysis and implementation for poverty reduction;
  • international and non-governmental organisations concerned with issues of poverty reduction;
  • consultancies and development projects involved in activities promoting poverty reduction.

What do employers think of our graduates?

This programme is developed by the SOAS Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP), a merger of the former Imperial College Distance Learning Programme at Wye with Public Policy and Management at CeFiMS (SOAS).

CeDEP is now one of the largest international postgraduate distance learning portfolios in the field. It currently has over 1,000 students working in a range of NGOs, governments, businesses and other organisations spread over more than 160 countries.

Programme Directors

Mr Colin Poulton is a Reader in Development Policy, rural development and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has a particular interest in the application of new institutional economics to questions of market coordination, development of rural financial markets, the organisation and performance of cotton systems, and technology adoption.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Can I get sponsored?

If you're employed, your employer may be willing to cover part/all of the programme fees if you can make a compelling case as to how this programme will boost your contribution to the workplace.

Our courses are ideal for employers because they get to retain you as an employee and benefit from your learning from the moment you begin.

How can I get sponsored by my employer?

Nadine Abi Zeid Daou - MSc Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice, Lebanon

MSc Poverty Reduction :Policy and Practice student, Nadine Abi Zeid Daou

"It was an amazing journey, full of knowledge, interaction and innovation.
I honestly felt the difference from the very first year of my studies."