IR/Development Studies Masters: King's/Warwick/SOAS/Sussex? Watch

mynameiskata
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Hi all!

I am contemplating applying to the above-mentioned universities for postgraduate programmes, and wondered whether any of you had insights worth sharing about the programme quality and student life.

I am currently finishing up an IR degree at a top 5 UK uni, and will likely graduate with a first or high 2:1. My main area of focus has been on development and postcolonialism (hence why I considered SOAS and Sussex), but having recently taken a class on genocide, I've begun to consider broadening my scope, which is how King's came into the picture. Through more research, I also stumbled across Warwick, was impressed by its class offerings and got especially interested in the Warwick-American double degree. However, I don't know enough about the department or about living further away from a city, especially as a postgraduate, who will already be a bit more isolated from student life.

If anyone has further information, experience with the teaching or campus life they would be willing to share, that would be incredibly appreciated! Earlier this year, I was already accepted to a postgraduate degree that I ended up rejecting after a conversation with an alum, who informed me that the programme was merely a cash cow for the university. I've turned a bit sceptical of Master's degrees since then, so any input would be super helpful!

For reference, these are the courses I'm looking at:
- King's: International Peace and Security
- SOAS: Development Studies/Globalisation and Development
- Sussex: Development Studies/Governance and Development/Globalisation, Business and Development
- Warwick: International Relations/International Security, ideally with the American University double degree

Thanks in advance!
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returnmigrant
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Sussex and SOAS both train government staff from the UK and numerous other countries, and are used for research/consultancy by those countries. So if you are wanting to make contacts/do cutting edge stuff either of these would probably top KCL or Warwick. But - and this is important - its also about course content, who is teaching you (PhD Students or established academics?), and where you will feel comfortable. Visit these Unis on an ordinary working day, and get a sense of the differences. Look at course content critically - ask for the unit descriptions instead of the 'course page' waffle. Think about living in each of those places (Warwick Uni is actually in Coventry, KCL/SOAS will cost you heaps more in living costs etc). Only you can make this decision - only you know what you need from the course/Uni.
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username2789280
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Agree with the above advice. All good choices, but scour the course content for what you're interested in. Also look at the research interests of staff and potential supervisors.

As a supplementary note on living costs, be aware that Sussex, located as it is just outside of Brighton, will also entail much higher living costs than Warwick - these days, not too far off London levels. It's meant to be top in the world (!) for development studies though, so might be a worthwhile trade off.

Good luck, sounds like you're going to have fun!
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dg912
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anyone here has any thoughts on dev studies in manchester vs SOAS?
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luq_ali
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Please read my posting above(my reply to the original question)about the factors weighing in favor of SOAS.

Not that ranking are always the most important thing, but SOAS is currently
ranked Number 7, having risen 4 places from 2016 to 2017, in the world in
Development Studies. Manchester is ranked #9, so they are both obviously
outstanding world recognized programs. The merits of SOAS, I gave in
my reply to the original question about King's/Warwick/SOAS/Sussex.

(Original post by dg912)
anyone here has any thoughts on dev studies in manchester vs SOAS?
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luq_ali
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Let me first acknowledge that Sussex was recently elevated to the #1 position for Development Studies in the World, so congrats to Sussex. I must also note that SOAS (where I will be attending in the Fall, God willing, but for Law not Development Studies) has risen 4 spots to number 7. So the merits of Sussex, are obviously strong,and while I do not know the much of the merits of King's or Warwick, I'm not here to down either program. Rather, I would like to offer somethings I explored and learned about SOAS which caused me to want to go there, and I which I hope will be relevant here for this discussion.

Latest rankings: https://www.theguardian.com/educatio...opment-studies.

Africa, South East Asia (locales such as Myanmar as well as others), Asia, and The Middle East, are some hotpots, where developmental studies which
can and will impact the economy, energy sustainability, security (against
terrorism, instability), health care, and governmental systems (with a
particular nod to Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, all of which have been ravaged
by various conflicts, as well as The Middle East and North Africa region in
general, emerging from The Arab Spring, with the various challenges to
their stability still present, The Gulf Region as it tries to move to other areas
of developmental infrastructure which does not rely solely upon oil, as well
as Africa, the continent in general (whether North Africa, Sudan, Nigeria,
Cameroon, etc.). SOAS' specialization in these areas, where you go to
learn Yoruba, where you can learn different uncommon languages and
dialects and be surrounded not by two or three or 12 people from those
areas, but by people who have spent a lifetime living in those places,or
studying and researching those areas, to have all that, combined, under
one roof, with all the various research centres, language programs, diverse
and unique modules, as well as approximately 800 phd students in various
disciplines focused dead on in those areas of the world, the various
conflicts, to have discussion and panels on problem solving and study, I think
those merits are very unique in their intensity, not saying the other programs
do not have specialists, language courses and offerings, they do. Moreover,
the other places, I am sure, have noted scholars and researchers, but the major and centralize focus of Sussex, Warwick and King's is not on
the same focus level as SOAS. The aforementioned programs have a
general world-wide focus, with specific programs of focus, such as the
development studies field. SOAS has the specific region focus on the key
areas in question as an entire establishment, while also, of course, having
a general world-wide view-just that SOAS overall is specialized throughout
the entire university wide system, so its not just about learning languages,
but the opportunity to study culture, politics, government, history, all
combined into one.

So, for me, personally, in wanting to come back into the breach (full-time
student after some years away working), and wanting to focus on MENA
and focus on the sustainability and stability in Africa, in Asia, in South-East
Asia, those factors and the language entitlement program, and the
level of research and the research centres and the staff that has been
gathered, it sold me. So that is just my opinion, and I'm sure others will
have very different view points, no less valid, that I will look forward to
reading.



(Original post by mynameiskata)
Hi all!

I am contemplating applying to the above-mentioned universities for postgraduate programmes, and wondered whether any of you had insights worth sharing about the programme quality and student life.

I am currently finishing up an IR degree at a top 5 UK uni, and will likely graduate with a first or high 2:1. My main area of focus has been on development and postcolonialism (hence why I considered SOAS and Sussex), but having recently taken a class on genocide, I've begun to consider broadening my scope, which is how King's came into the picture. Through more research, I also stumbled across Warwick, was impressed by its class offerings and got especially interested in the Warwick-American double degree. However, I don't know enough about the department or about living further away from a city, especially as a postgraduate, who will already be a bit more isolated from student life.

If anyone has further information, experience with the teaching or campus life they would be willing to share, that would be incredibly appreciated! Earlier this year, I was already accepted to a postgraduate degree that I ended up rejecting after a conversation with an alum, who informed me that the programme was merely a cash cow for the university. I've turned a bit sceptical of Master's degrees since then, so any input would be super helpful!

For reference, these are the courses I'm looking at:
- King's: International Peace and Security
- SOAS: Development Studies/Globalisation and Development
- Sussex: Development Studies/Governance and Development/Globalisation, Business and Development
- Warwick: International Relations/International Security, ideally with the American University double degree

Thanks in advance!
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