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    I am applying to SOAS and UCL to study development at postgrad level. I have applied to:
    MSc Environment, Politics and Development at SOAS
    MSc Social Development Policy at UCL

    I have received an offer from SOAS and am waiting to hear back from UCL. I am wondering if anyone has had personal experience with either of these courses, and whether they would recommend one over the other. They are in roughly the same field, though the UCL one does seem to be more about social policy rather than environmental policy; both are fields I am very interested in.

    I plan to go into NGO work; dream would be to work for the UN and then go into private development work as I have heard that there is less governmental red-tape etc. and so often more effective. Also, the UCL course offers a fieldwork component in the developing world, whereas the SOAS course does not. I would like the experience actually working in the field, as I have not previously. Though I was born and raised in a developing country. However, the SOAS department seems more recognised but UCL is more prestigious. As you can tell, I'm confused! Thanks for any feedback

    I'm in the development department at SOAS currently and have enjoyed the course in general, in terms of UCL I don't really know much about it but I would say that, in the field, SOAS is more recognised despite UCL's prestige. When looking at development departments in the UK the key places are SOAS, LSE and IDS at Sussex.

    Wrt soas despite the very interesting subject matter and the uniqueness of viewpoints that you get, it can be painfully frustrating at times. With essay writing and assessment I've found there to be a general lack of support available with certain academics and tutors refusing to help students. There is no coherent marking criteria so grades are all over the place depending on the tutor and the course which makes improving your grades throughout the course of the year very difficult. Also marking is not anonymous which means that grades are very much subject to the biases of your course tutors. Also there is absolutely no support available from the department during the dissertation period, this has meant that a lot of people have got to substantial stages of their dissertation writing and found themselves very unsure of their topics and whether what they are doing is suitable or completely off topic. And lastly, while the development courses are amongst the most expensive in the UK, students are expected largely to do their dissertations from secondary research and students are not provided with support to seek out opportunities to undertake field research. If you want to do field research you have to organise it yourself which is incredibly difficult if you are someone with little experience of the field and no connections with existing development orgs.
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