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Masters Degrees (Environment And Development)

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This programme combines environmental concerns with development economics and political economy. It draws on the specific strengths of SOAS, namely expertise in development economics, multi-disciplinary environmental focus, and area specialisations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Read more
This programme combines environmental concerns with development economics and political economy. It draws on the specific strengths of SOAS, namely expertise in development economics, multi-disciplinary environmental focus, and area specialisations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The MSc in Economics with reference to Environment and Development provides a unique specialisation in one of the most rapidly developing areas of economics. The effects of development on the environment and access to resources is one of the most challenging fields that has grown over the past four decades and is now one of the key areas of study. At SOAS, we understand the environment in a broad sense and the scope of courses offered includes various areas such as natural resources, agriculture, economic development, finance, and regionally - specialised courses.

All students are required to complete the compulsory preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics (including Computing) to begin studying on this programme. This course is taught over a three week period from the beginning of September covering mathematics, statistics and computing. For further information about this course including a timetable please see here: Preliminary maths and Statistics Course (https://www.soas.ac.uk/courseunits/15PECC050.html)

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/programmes/msceconenvdev/

Structure

The MSc Environment and Development is taught within a structured programme rather than being obtained mainly by research and dissertation. It consists of eight course modules delivered through lectures, classes, and tutorials and an 8,000-word dissertation. The degree is awarded on the basis of course work, examinations written in May/June, and a dissertation which is submitted in September.

The following is a complete list of courses in the programme, not all of which are offered in any single year. To see a list of courses being offered please visit the relevant departmental website or contact the Faculty office. Please note that some courses may be taught in other departments of the School.

Programme Specification

MSc Economics with reference to Environment and Development programme specification 2015/2016 (pdf; 63kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/programmes/msceconenvdev/file77570.pdf

Teaching & Learning

The MSc includes eight taught modules plus a preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics and an 8,000-word dissertation.

The courses are taught in seminar groups and lectures. The degrees are awarded on the basis of assessed coursework, examinations and the dissertation.

The MSc degrees are taught over a period of twelve months of full-time study within a structured programme. In the case of part-time study, the degrees will be taught over two or three years. Four modules are studied each year, with the dissertation normally being completed in the second year.

- Lectures

Most courses involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

- Seminars

At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.

- Dissertation
Students are required to complete an 8,000-word dissertation in applied economics.

Learning Resources

- SOAS Library
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Pre Entry Reading

- Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics Course

Our MSc programmes attract students with a wide range of backgrounds including many who have worked for a few years before coming to SOAS. Our popular quantitative courses are designed to be accessible to all of our students including those with a relatively small quantitative component in their first degree. Our well-received quantitative courses focus on applying basic methods used in empirical research. They equip students to carry out their own high quality empirical work and critically evaluate research, with relatively little emphasis on advanced econometric theory and mathematical proofs.

Our quantitative methods teaching begins with a three-week preliminary course in mathematics, statistics and computing. The objective of the course is to review the basic quantitative skills assumed once formal teaching commences. This course is compulsory.

Employment

A postgraduate degree in Economics with reference to Environment and Development from SOAS equips students with a range of important skills to continue in the field of research as well as a portfolio of widely transferable employability skills valued by a wide range of employers. These include numeracy, analytical thinking and general skills such as organisation and effective communication skills. Graduates of this programme will develop a specialised understanding of the environmental and development concerns. In addition the study of Economics gives students particular problem solving skills including: abstraction, analysis, quantification, strategic thinking and adaptability.

Postgraduate students from the SOAS MSc in Economics with reference to Environment and Development have followed successful careers in both academic work and also in international banking and financial analysis, in
national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-government organisations. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a
body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Graduates of Masters programmes in the Department of Economics at SOAS have followed successful careers in international banking and finance, in national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-governmental organisations. Graduates have been very successful in gaining highly competitive Overseas Development Institute (ODI) fellowships which have allowed them to work in government agencies in countries ranging from Mozambique to Papua New Guinea.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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Contemporary concerns with environment and development require a combination of biological and social anthropological approaches to examine the ecology of resource use in developing societies. Read more

Contemporary concerns with environment and development require a combination of biological and social anthropological approaches to examine the ecology of resource use in developing societies. This MSc evaluates the environmental implications and outcomes of these activities in terms of human subsistence and welfare via a systematic, theoretical and methodological training.

About this degree

Drawing on the strengths of our broad-based department and expertise in human ecology, social anthropology and demography, key areas of investigation include: the implications of changing environments for production systems and human welfare, the sustainable use of natural resources in developing countries and the environmental and welfare impacts of changing patterns of resource use with development.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (60 credits), two optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules

  • Resource Use and Impacts
  • Anthropological Research Methods
  • Statistics

Optional modules

Choose two options from within the department - and in some cases outside the department - including at least one of the following that have been designed specifically for this programme:

  • The Ecology of Human Groups
  • Population and Development
  • Anthropology of Development
  • Biosocial Anthropology, Health and Environment
  • Social Construction of the Landscape
  • Anthropology of the Built Environment

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, group presentations, tutorials, interactive teamwork, video, and film and web based courses. It includes a non-examined weekly seminar series with both internal and invited speakers. Assessment is through essays, seen and unseen examinations, and the research dissertation.

Fieldwork

The third term is given over to the dissertation project. Students conduct fieldwork for approximately two months. Fieldwork is self-funded and it is usual for students to find their own fieldwork site. 

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Anthropology, Environment and Development MSc

Careers

Graduates of this programme have gone on to a wide range of relevant careers in research, teaching, consultancy, policy and advocacy work in universities, governmental bodies, national and international NGOs and international research organisations such as the CGIAR.

Employability

The Master's integrates both natural and social science approaches and combines this with training in the methodological and practical dimensions of field work. The interdisciplinary perspective and demonstrable research skills obtained are an ideal training ground for students wishing to work with government, national or international NGOs or conduct further PhD research in the fields of environment and/or development. In addition to specialist knowledge and fieldwork experience, other skills graduates acquire include presentation and IT, research design and development, qualitative and quantitative analysis, project management, team building and leadership, fundraising and critical analysis and evaluation

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Anthropology is one of the largest anthropology departments in the UK offering an exceptional breadth of expertise. Our results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and 2014 Research Excellence Framework show that we are the leading broad-based anthropology department in the UK.

Teaching staff are all actively engaged in research or consultancy work in the area of environment and development. A strong alumni network within the Human Ecology Research Group and dedicated programmes of invited speakers allow for significant networking opportunities.

Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the wider anthropological community in London.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology

68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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About the MSc programme. The study of environment and development is multi-disciplinary by nature, and the programme seeks to integrate key concepts and perspectives from core social science disciplines. Read more

About the MSc programme

The study of environment and development is multi-disciplinary by nature, and the programme seeks to integrate key concepts and perspectives from core social science disciplines. The aim is to provide you with an understanding of the issues involved in sustainable development, from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

While the world is experiencing rapid and unprecedented changes to its natural environment, human societies and economies are also undergoing profound transformations. The MSc Environment and Development is intended for those with a primary interest in the linkages between environment and development. It provides a rigorous training in the social science dimensions of environmental and development policy, management and evaluation, within a developing country context. 

The programme will enable you to gain a deep understanding of the way environmental degradation and low levels of development are linked together; analyse meaningful policies that aspire to make economic development more environmentally sound and ultimately sustainable; and pursue an academic programme in a world-renowned institution benefiting from excellent employer recognition and career prospects.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates enter a wide variety of employment opportunities in the public sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations, research, consultancy and international firms. 

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme



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The need for sustainable development is a global concern. This flexible Masters degree prepares you to address the challenges faced in safeguarding natural resources, livelihoods and the alleviation of development problems. Read more

The need for sustainable development is a global concern. This flexible Masters degree prepares you to address the challenges faced in safeguarding natural resources, livelihoods and the alleviation of development problems. The focus is on societies undergoing change or faced with resource pressures, in developing and developed countries.

This programme is ideal if you want a career in international development or in an environmental field, in the private, public, or not-for-profit sectors. It can be taken as an MA or MSc depending on your dissertation topic.

You will be based within one of the largest groups of geographers, resource management specialists and environmental scientists in the UK and modules will be taught by world-leading researchers. Their expertise includes mining and extractive industries; livelihoods and moral economies; the politics of land, water, and ‘green’ grabbing; environmental justice and the relationship between climate change and existing social inequalities; migration; food security and agri-food systems including fishing and marine ecosystems; forest policy; sustainable transport; poverty and service delivery; the political economy of global environmental change; the workings of international development; trade (legal and illegal), and biodiversity conservation.

You will complete six taught modules and a dissertation research project, with individual supervision from a research-active expert. There are two or three core modules which give you a solid foundation in the key theoretical issues around the environment and development and you will develop the social science research skills needed to explore them.

We offer great flexibility with over 30 modules to choose from, spanning the social and natural sciences. This enables you to construct a degree that fits your interests and career ambitions and to put your learning in a wider cultural context.

You can gain key practical skills that are valued by employers, such as environmental analysis of development projects, data analysis and programming, geo-informatics and auditing. There are opportunities to gain work experience through one of our many government, civil society and private sector partners – including those in Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America.

Your dissertation project forms a substantial part of your Masters degree. It will enhance your practical and analytical skills and give you the opportunity to apply your learning to a real-world challenge. Dissertation topics are available in both environmental and development themes: our research projects and partners across the globe provide exciting possibilities and fieldwork opportunities when you are choosing your dissertation topic. Most dissertations are anchored in the social sciences but this is not a requirement.

Examples of previous dissertation topics are:

  • The IPCC and the Production of Environmental Knowledge
  • The Spirituality of Climate Change
  • Responsible Mining: Oxymoron or Development Opportunity
  • Soil Quality and Soil Management in China
  • An international comparison of food sovereignty
  • Informal Settlements in Dar Es Salaam: Using PGIS to Map Out Community Voices
  • Ecosystems in Venezuela
  • The intersection of aesthetics and design in urban agriculture
  • Towards a cultural political ecology of ecotourism in Madagascar

Course Structure

You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.

Core

Optional

Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.

Assessment

Coursework, presentations, examinations and dissertation



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Study the complex relationships between tourism, the environment and development. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of tourism as a form of development and examine its environmental impact. Read more

Study the complex relationships between tourism, the environment and development. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of tourism as a form of development and examine its environmental impact. Develop your own particular interests in tourism by choosing from a wide range of modules.

Key Benefits

  • A stimulating and enriching experience for students, not only because of its unusual approach to the study of tourism but because it attracts students from different countries, with different academic backgrounds and experience. There are currently around 20 students on the course, an ideal size for interactive teaching. Students usually get to know each other well during the year at King’s.
  • Students are encouraged to carry out fieldwork for their dissertations, which is a challenging and an extremely rewarding experience.
  • Students have been successful in gaining relevant employment following the course.

Description

The MA and MSc Tourism, Environment & Development is the ideal course for those seeking to explore the relationships between tourism, development and the environment. The course makes particular reference to the distinctive political, social and economic environments of the South, and critiques the use of tourism as a vehicle for poverty alleviation, post-disaster and post-conflict development. The MA will be particularly attractive to students who have either worked in tourism, or wish to understand the contribution of tourism to social and economic development. The MA provides an excellent training in research and preparation for those seeking or returning to tourism-related employment.

Course purpose

The MA and MSc Tourism, Environment & Development is the ideal course for those seeking to explore the relationships between tourism, development and the environment. The course makes particular reference to the distinctive political, social and economic environments of the South, and critiques the use of tourism as a vehicle for poverty alleviation, post-disaster and post-conflict development. The MA will be particularly attractive to students who have either worked in tourism, or wish to understand the contribution of tourism to social and economic development. The MA provides an excellent training in research and preparation for those seeking or returning to tourism-related employment.

Course format and assessment

Teaching

We will teach you through a combination of lectures and seminars, and you will typically have 20 hours of this per module. We also expect you to undertake 180 hours of independent study for each module. For your 12,000 word dissertation, we will provide four workshops and five hours of one-to-one supervision to complement your 587 hours of independent study. Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Assessment

Performance on taught modules in the Geography Department is normally assessed through essays and other written assignments, oral presentations, lab work and occasionally by examination, depending on the modules selected. All students also undertake a research-based dissertation of 12,000 words.

Career prospects

Students on this course have gone on to undertake further postgraduate study as research students as well as finding employment in various areas including the tourism industry; as tourism and development officers for local councils; journalism; senior managers for various organisations; academic appointments and teaching; and government agencies in the North and South.

Sign up for more information. Email now

Have a question about applying to King’s? Email now



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Join us for our. Master Open Day. to find out more about our courses. Sustainable economic development and environmental management are two key challenges facing the world today. Read more

Join us for our Master Open Day to find out more about our courses.

Sustainable economic development and environmental management are two key challenges facing the world today.

You will be provided with high-quality interdisciplinary training to help you understand the many perspectives on these issues. This Masters is led by the Sustainability Research Institute and brings together a wide range of academic expertise from the School of Earth and Environment, the School of Politics and International Studies, and from the practitioner community.

Investigate the issues associated with achieving development that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and contribute towards achieving solutions in this topical, fast-growing field.

And gain the knowledge, skills and practical experience, employers require to focus on the issues where the need for sustainable economic development and environmental conservation meet.

The course is ideal if you would like to develop or continue a career in environment and/or development practice, policy, training or research, and/or if you are thinking of working in an international capacity. The Masters will prepare you for work in both the public and private sectors, and within local, national and international institutions. Alternatively, you could pursue a research career or go on to a PhD.

You may also be interested in our Environment and Development with Integrated Fieldwork MSc.

Course highlights:

You have a large degree of flexibility – choose the modules you take and develop your degree in line with your interests and ambitions.

Carry out a wide range of fieldwork, from a free field course to East Yorkshire, to an overseas trip to Tanzania.

Learn from experts in the field – our teaching draws on specialist knowledge from practitioner and research communities covering both the natural and social sciences.

Attend the excellent research seminar series run by the School of Earth and Environment, School of Politics and International Studies, plus those organised in Leeds’ Biology and Geography departments.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork forms an integral part of the course, which develops your on-the-ground understanding of how the tools and skills you learn in lectures can be applied.

In the first semester, you'll visit East Yorkshire for 2 days. Learn about issues affecting sustainable economic development and environmental management in a developed world context.

In the second semester, you have preferential access (at an additional cost) to the long-established field course in Tanzania. Gain first-hand practical experience and apply classroom-based learning in a developing country context.

Choose to carry-out fieldwork as part of your final dissertation.



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The Environment and Development MA/MSc course is designed to provide you with an advanced theoretical understanding of the relationship between development problems and environmental issues, grounded in differing regional contexts across the global South. Read more

The Environment and Development MA/MSc course is designed to provide you with an advanced theoretical understanding of the relationship between development problems and environmental issues, grounded in differing regional contexts across the global South.

The course provides a framework for appraising the understanding of environmental issues and development problems in Asia, Africa and Latin America and encourages you to look beyond conventional North-originated perspectives and assumptions through regional case studies.

Key benefits

  • Academic staff have first-hand experience of environmental and developmental issues in the world’s underdeveloped countries.
  • Opportunities to carry out original fieldwork either in the UK or overseas for your dissertation.
  • Excellent tutorial support, extensive course specific interactive teaching and regular classroom discussions.

Description

The Environment & Development MA, MSc course offers a demanding and stimulating programme of study, with an emphasis on developing your analytical and research skills and on breaking free of conventional ‘North-originated’ paradigms on development. You will study modules covering Livelihoods and Development and Environmentalism in the ‘South’, as well as choosing from a wide range of optional modules. If you choose to follow the MSc research pathway, you will also study Advanced Quantitative & Spatial Methods in Human Geography.

The course is made up of optional and required modules. You must take the minimum of 180 credits to complete the course, 60 of which will come from a dissertation of around 12,000 words. If you are studying full-time, you will complete the course in one year, from September to September. If you are studying part-time, your course will take two years to complete. You will take the combination of required and optional modules over this period of time, with the dissertation in your second year.

Course format and assessment

Teaching

We use lectures, seminars and group tutorials to deliver most of the modules on the course. You will also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Per 20-credit taught module you can typically expect 20 hours worth of lectures, seminars and feedback. You can also expect 180 hours worth of self study (some modules in the Geography Department may involve lab work or e-learning which would require less self-guided learning).

For the Dissertation module you can typically expect four dissertation workshops/ tutorials and five contact hours of one-to-one or group consultation with supervisors. In addition to this you will have 587 hours worth of self-study and project work.

Assessment

Performance on taught modules in the Geography Department is normally assessed through essays and other written assignments, oral presentations, lab work and occasionally by examination, depending on the modules selected. All students also undertake a research-based dissertation of 12,000 words.

Career prospects

Many of our graduates have gone on to undertake further graduate study and work as research assistants for international development agencies. There are also good career opportunities with government agencies, international and national non-governmental organisations and academic research institutes.

Sign up for more information. Email now

Have a question about applying to King’s? Email now



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The Master in Development Practice (MDP) is a world leading and uniquely innovative programme that blends science and social science to further international development. Read more

The Master in Development Practice (MDP) is a world leading and uniquely innovative programme that blends science and social science to further international development. It is part of a global network with a Secretariat at the Earth Institute, Columbia University in New York (and was the only programme to receive seed funding in Europe in the first round). In the programme, students are exposed to leading edge scientific and social science techniques and researchers in order to develop international development solutions. The MDP is part of the only global educational network of its kind, involving 30 universities across all continents. In it, students receive leading edge transdisciplinary training in four “pillars”- health, natural, social, management sciences and mdpglobal.org.

The MDP is led by the Trinity College Dublin (TCD) School of Natural Science in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills. The goal is to produce rounded development practitioners with a deep understanding of scientific methods and techniques to reduce global poverty, in addition to extensive on-the-ground training in developing country contexts, and in international organizations.

The MDP has innovative elements that distinguish it from any other M.Sc. in Ireland. This innovative course utilises a modular structure to develop student capabilities to understand theories, practices, and languages of different specialities. Students develop deep analytical and practical skills across four core pillars of the programme.

Specialist skills are formed across a range of areas including research design, methodology, and methods (with training in cutting edge scientific quantitative, qualitative, and digital tools and techniques, sustainable agriculture and hand use; Development economics; Health; Gender; Climate change and Climate justice; Science, technology and sustainable development; Impact measurement; Post-conflict situations; Governance and politics; Globalisation and African development; smart cities and sustainable urbanism. Students also produce a dissertation drawing upon research conducted during fieldwork modules. These have attracted attention from policy-makers, such as the Minister of Education in Rwanda.

It combines a range of teaching and learning approaches both in the seminar room and in the field. Students engage in a minimum of sixteen class-room based modules and three work-based placements to gain hands-on practical experience during the programme. In year one, students undertake two placements. Firstly, students complete a research project with an Irish Based International Development Non-Governmental Organisation. Secondly, they spend up to three months completing cross-disciplinary fieldwork in a developing location. To date, students have undertaken fieldwork in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Brazil., Malawi, India, USA, Vietnam and Madagascar.

In year two students undertake internships in leading international organisations. To date, students have taken placements with UN Women, WHO, FAO, OECD, World Bank, UNESCAP, and a multitude of other international organisations.

Students have the opportunity to collaborate in a global community through their participation in the Global Classroom, a web-based capability, managed by the Earth Institute, to bring students and teachers from across world together to engage in collective classes and educational innovation.

Students engage with leading experts, practitioners, and academics both in the classroom and in the field. The MDP is delivered by TCD in collaboration with a number of key partners, including The Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation, and a wide number of national and international organisations with specialist skills in development practice.

You can find further information on fees, visas and scholarship information here: http://naturalscience.tcd.ie/postgraduate/dev-pract/further-info.php



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The Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) is now offering £125,000 worth of scholarship funding for 2018-19 academic year. Read more

The Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) is now offering £125,000 worth of scholarship funding for 2018-19 academic year. Find out more here.

  • Home to the Walker Institute – a world-leading authority on climate change
  • Juxtaposes and critically examines the interdisciplinary environment-development nexus at a range of levels
  • Takes a “one-world, one-future” approach to economic growth, equity and global environmental change
  • Explores the drivers and consequences of environmental crises
  • Aimed at graduates and mid-range professionals from a range of disciplines

What will you study?

Sample modules:

  • Global environmental change and development
  • Theories and practices of development
  • Ecosystem services
  • Addressing poverty and inequality
  • Plants, green space and sustainability

Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.

What career can you have?

Our programmes are excellent preparation for careers in international and rural development, agricultural economics, and marketing within the food chain and policy. Some 96% of our graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating.

Engagement with a wide variety of visiting speakers and field trips provides many opportunities for networking. In addition, competitive internships and placements, and research dissertations are an opportunity to showcase your skills, undertake overseas field research or link with organisations in the development sector. For examples of organisations our graduates go on to, please visit: http://www.reading.ac.uk/giidae" target="_blank">http://www.reading.ac.uk/giidae



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Sustainable economic development and environmental management are two key challenges facing the world today. You will be provided with high-quality interdisciplinary training to help you understand the many perspectives on these issues. Read more

Sustainable economic development and environmental management are two key challenges facing the world today.

You will be provided with high-quality interdisciplinary training to help you understand the many perspectives on these issues. This Masters is led by the Sustainability Research Institute and brings together a wide range of academic expertise from the School of Earth and Environment, the School of Politics and International Studies, and from the practitioner community.

A key part of your learning will be based around an international field course to Tanzania, where you will gain first-hand practical experience and apply classroom-based learning in a developing country context.

Investigate the issues associated with achieving development that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and contribute towards achieving solutions in this topical, fast-growing field.

And gain the knowledge, skills and practical experience, employers require to focus on the issues where the need for sustainable economic development and environmental conservation meet.

The course is ideal if you would like to develop or continue a career in environment and/or development practice, policy, training or research, and/or if you are thinking of working in an international capacity. The Masters will prepare you for work in both the public and private sectors, and within local, national and international institutions. Alternatively, you could pursue a research career or go on to a PhD.

Course highlights:

  • You have a large degree of flexibility – choose the modules you take and develop your degree in line with your interests and ambitions.
  • Carry out a wide range of fieldwork in the UK and overseas, from East Yorkshire to our flagship trip to Tanzania.
  • Learn from experts in the field – our teaching draws on specialist knowledge from practitioner and research communities covering both the natural and social sciences.
  • Attend the excellent research seminar series run by the School of Earth and Environment, School of Politics and International Studies, plus those organised in Leeds’ Biology and Geography departments.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork forms an integral part of the course, which develops your on-the-ground understanding of how the tools and skills you learn in lectures can be applied.

  • In the first semester, you'll visit East Yorkshire for 2 days. Learn about issues affecting sustainable economic development and environmental management in a developed world context.
  • In the second semester, you'll visit Tanzania where you'll gain first-hand practical experience and apply classroom-based learning in a developing country context.
  • Choose to carry-out fieldwork as part of your final dissertation.




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Researchers can specialise in geography, geographical information science, environmental studies, development studies, international childhood studies, or community, youth and voluntary sector studies. Read more
Researchers can specialise in geography, geographical information science, environmental studies, development studies, international childhood studies, or community, youth and voluntary sector studies. Our MPhil/PhD programmes aim to train you to conduct research of the highest academic standard and to make an original contribution to the subject through your research. Our doctoral programme aims to respond to the needs and interests both of students seeking an academic career or other professional employment and of those who wish to pursue a line of intellectual enquiry for its own sake. We aim to recruit both recent graduates and mature students who now have the time to pursue an intellectual enthusiasm, perhaps after a lifetime of professional work.

Our students benefit not only from the advisory insight of specialist academics within the department, but also from a wider culture of support and advice from staff and other research students. We see our research students as a central part of our community, who play a key role in the vitality of the wider research process. Those completing our research degrees in the past have often moved on into highly skilled occupations in both the commercial and academic worlds.

Research students in GEDS are able to participate in subject-specific doctoral seminars and can attend relevant modules on any of the MSc degrees offered within GEDS as part of their research training. Students also have the opportunity to participate in guest lectures, films and workshops offered both within the department and in wider groupings such as the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the Institute of Voluntary Action Research, and the London International Development Centre. We offer financial assistance for conference attendance where appropriate.

Studying for an MPhil in any of the areas offered in GEDS involves working closely with a small group of staff on an independent research project. This means that we are only able to accept students whose proposed research project lies within the areas of expertise of our staff. If there is a particular member of staff you would like to work with, please contact them to discuss your project before applying.

Community, Youth and Voluntary Sector Studies

The department offers supervision in theoretical perspectives and understandings of community theory and practice and youth and voluntary sector studies. Staff in this research area have established excellent links with professional organisations in their fields and also have international links with academic institutions in the USA and South Africa, working collaboratively on issues concerning religion and race in public life.

Development Studies

The department offers supervision in theoretical and empirical research on practices and experiences of development. Our research areas include ageing, childhood, gender and development, migration, NGOs and political activism, regional specialisation in Latin America and South Asia, rights, social policy, urban and rural poverty, and visual culture and development.

Geography

Research study in geography can take a wide variety of forms across the social and physical sciences dependent on topic, but the common thread is the distinctive perspective, often interdisciplinary, that a geographical approach to research offers. Key research interests are: cities and socio-spatial inequality, coastal geomorphology and coastal policy, food security and climate change, flooding and flood insurance, impact of environmental change on nature and agriculture, long-term river behaviour and climate change, remote sensing, renewable energy, and social and urban geography.

Geographical Information Science

At Birkbeck, we pride ourselves in offering one of the longest-running GISc programmes. The Birkbeck GISc academic team works in a broad range of areas of geographic information knowledge, including spatial analytical methods, cartography and visualisation, remote sensing, and geocomputation and their research activities are at the forefront of GIS development.

International Childhood Studies

The department offers supervision in theoretical and empirical research on practices and experiences of childhood. Our research areas include cultures of childhood, visual culture and representation of childhood, the governance of childhood, childhood and social identities, and histories of childhood.

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Programme description. The MSc in Environment and Development (E&D) is an interdisciplinary programme exploring the inter-dependencies between pressing environmental concerns and development pressures. Read more

Programme description

The MSc in Environment and Development (E&D) is an interdisciplinary programme exploring the inter-dependencies between pressing environmental concerns and development pressures. It explores these themes, the disputes around it and practical issues from an informed theoretical perspective, with an abiding concern for social justice claims. Conventional academic approaches focus on development or the environment as separate categories, while this programme looks at socioeconomic development as a socio-ecological and politicoecological process.

In particular this E&D programme focuses on:

  • grounding students in an awareness of the contested development paradigm;
  • inculcating an awareness of economic, political and cultural links between environmental change and social inclusion.

Those issues will be studied at the local and national level, but also taking into account the global scale of environmental and development agendas. In many cases the root causes of inequality and poverty, both in the Global South and in the Global North, are driven by regional or global economics far beyond the borders of a particular country, village or region.

The programme will teach you to critically evaluate the multiple dimensions of the relationship between development and the environment. Teaching, fieldwork, group and practical exercises will use examples of relevance to Northern and Southern countries.

The breadth and depth of the School of GeoSciences enables students to explore a variety of environment and development issues relevant to the programme: e.g. biophysical dynamics, food insecurity, environmental governance, river basin management, cultural studies, climate change, multiple scarcities and inequalities, gender and development,etc. Students are challenged to cultivate research thinking that is cross-cutting and globally relevant, but also grounded in cases that focus on particular issues, places or systems, providing insights to effective solutions.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Development Academy.

Programme structure

This MSc consists of two semesters of taught courses. Students take two compulsory and four option courses, each a balance of lectures, seminars, workshops and visits, followed by an individual dissertation.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Development: Principles and Practices
  • Research and Practice: Fieldwork
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:

Semester 1 Optional Courses

  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Development, Science and Technology
  • Displacement and Development
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Economic Issues in Public Policy
  • The Ecology of Ecosystem Services
  • Energy and Society I; Key Themes and Issues
  • Environmental Valuation
  • Frameworks to assess Food Security
  • Frameworks to assess Food Security
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Research Design in Human Geography
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Swahili 1A

Semester 2 Optional Courses

  • Anthropology and Environment
  • Anthropology of Global Health
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law
  • Critical perspectives on mental health and well-being in the global south
  • Energy Policy and Politics
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • EU and National Climate Change Law
  • Forests and Environment
  • Gender and Development
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Human dimensions of environmental change and sustainability
  • International Political Economy
  • International Security
  • Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Political Ecology
  • South Asia: Roots of Poverty and Development
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Swahili 1B
  • The International Politics of Money
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Water Resource Management

Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

Career opportunities

This programme is suitable for students seeking roles within international and national development agencies, thinktanks, NGOs, environmental consultancies or the private sector, or those going on to PhD research.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.



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Numerous environmental challenges threaten the progress of international development and poverty alleviation. Politics and power have a significant influence on these challenges, how they are understood and responded to. Read more

Numerous environmental challenges threaten the progress of international development and poverty alleviation. Politics and power have a significant influence on these challenges, how they are understood and responded to. The MSc Environment, Development and Politics takes a novel approach to training in environment and development by recognising the importance of power and politics at all levels of decision-making, from the local to the global, with modules covering international development, global environmental governance and environment and sustainable development.  

The International Development Department is well-regarded internationally by sponsors, donor agencies, governments and NGOs. Study with us to benefit from:

  • Expertise in key issues and skills valued by employers
  • A vibrant, welcoming community
  • Individual overseas fieldwork or study visit included in fees (on-campus programmes)
  • Flexible programmes and a wide choice of modules (part-time students also welcome)
  • A diverse and international student body
  • Strong support in study and English language skills

Each programme is taught by a team of multi-disciplinary specialists who work closely with students to address individual interests and concerns. Every student is allocated an academic tutor to support them in their academic progress throughout the year. The department has a long history of teaching students from across the world, and recent students have come from 99 different countries and a wide variety of professional and academic backgrounds.

Course details

Environmental opportunities and challenges are closely intertwined with international development, and understanding of the causes, nature and consequences of environmental issues is essential for anyone working to promote positive change in the livelihoods of the poor. Power and politics fundamentally influence how the environment is recognised, protected and benefited from. Recognising this, the MSc Environment, Development and Politics takes a novel approach to training in environment and development by highlighting the importance of power and politics at all levels of decision-making, from the local to the global. The programme is therefore delivered in conjunction with the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS).

Learning and teaching

Teaching takes place over two ten-week terms, utilizing a range of teaching and learning methods, including short lectures, problem solving, role play and group work. In the summer term, students complete assignments and focus on their 12,000 word dissertation.

By the end of your study you will gain:

  • An in-depth understanding of competing development theories and approaches and the ability to critically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
  • An appreciation of and ability to use approaches to investigating and responding to linkages between the environment and development
  • An in-depth understanding of contemporary themes and analytical approaches to understanding global environmental politics
  • Writing skills to produce well-structured and coherent essays and reports, making good use of references.
  • Oral presentation skills.
  • Ability to access material from different sources including policy documents and other publications from governments and international organisations, documents from the internet, and from books and academic journals.
  • The capacity to interpret and make use of material from the above sources.

Enhancing your Student Experience

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here, whether undergraduate or postgraduate, you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Employability

The knowledge and skills gained in the programme will equip graduates for jobs in international, national and local government and non-governmental organizations, think tanks and consultancies.

See what some of our alumni are doing now and what they thought about studying with us at IDD



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It is now recognised that the level of greenhouse gas emissions that have already accumulated in the atmosphere means some climate change is inevitable, meaning that effectiveness in dealing with climate impacts is critical for the prospects of development. Read more

It is now recognised that the level of greenhouse gas emissions that have already accumulated in the atmosphere means some climate change is inevitable, meaning that effectiveness in dealing with climate impacts is critical for the prospects of development. Climate change is the foremost challenge of the 21st century and is now being prioritised by governments, donor/development agencies and NGOs around the world. As such, the people working in them need a thorough grounding in the conceptual and practical dimensions both of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, as well as the interlinkages between them.

The Climate Change and Development programme is designed to meet these needs so that organisations can be more effective in their efforts towards change. The modules in this programme draw from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, concepts and methods including economics, environmental science, human geography, social development, political economy and environmental law. The programmes cover key issues within climate change and development such as gender, social justice, energy access, poverty and social protection.

The core aims of this programme are to:

  • Offer critical insight into how current development models produce environmental problems, like (but not limited to) climate change, which themselves threaten the objectives of development
  • Pose the question of what magnitude of change is required to confront the problems of climate change: do we need reform or revolution?
  • Help you develop the analytical skills to solve adaptation problems and identify low carbon development options
  • Contribute to producing the next generation of environment and development professionals working on climate policy and practice
  • Provide the most academically gifted students with a route into PhD studies on climate change and development.

Teaching & Learning

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

This programme is taught 100% online through our VLE. In the VLE you will have access to learning materials and module resources anytime so you can fit your studies around your existing commitments. For each module, students will be provided with access, through the online Library, to all necessary materials from a range of appropriate sources.

Developed by subject experts, the module materials are designed to meet all your study requirements. We encourage you to follow up further interests and explore other information more widely, but the material we provide is comprehensive and sufficient for the required elements of each module.

The details will vary from module to module, but a typical set of materials will include:

  1. A detailed study guide:
  • All of our modules use a core text which is specially written and this will take you through your self-directed study. Exercises, assignments and other activities, such as self-assessment questions, film clips and animations are included to help you with learning.
  1. E-books and key readings
  • Most modules also draw upon textbooks, key extracts and articles, which accompany the core text, to be accessed via the online library. A wide range of sources are provided as required readings. Information is also supplied suggesting sources of further reading as well as links to relevant web pages.
  1. Supplementary study materials
  • These are included where appropriate, and include items such as computer software.

Tutoring

Each module has a dedicated tutor who is a subject specialist . The tutor will guide the students through the units of the module and prepare them for the examination, using the module discussion forum and other learning activities, depending on the module, on the virtual learning environment. Tutors are also in email contact with their students.

When can I study?

You can begin your studies in April or October. Students take one module per study session. Study sessions are 16 weeks in duration.

How many hours a week?

Each module runs over a 16-week study term, and we recommend studying, on average, 15 hours per week during this time. These hours can be broken down into three main tasks:

Reading the unit materials and key readings on each of the 15 topics covered in the unit

Preparing for and submitting the written assignment, worth 40-50% of the module mark

Contributing to online discussion and activities.

Additional time is then required for exam revision, which happens after the 16-week study term is completed.

Assessment

Each module will be assessed on one written assignment (40-50 % of the module mark), a hand-written examination (40-50 % of the module mark), and in some modules, online participation in regular learning and discussion exercises (10-20% of the module mark).

Employment

This programme is designed to assist both existing professionals working within environment and development spheres, and people moving into these fields.

For existing professionals, the programme provides the opportunity to upgrade and update their expertise, and to reflect systematically and in depth on their accumulated experience in the light of up-to-date theory and literature.

Graduates of Climate Change and Development will be prepared for roles in the public sector, international organisations, NGO's, consultancies and development projects involved in:

  • policy analysis and implementation for disaster risk reduction
  • climate and broader environmental issues
  • local and national climate change strategies
  • energy and development
  • poverty reduction.

You will also be prepared for roles within social enterprise and corporate social responsibility organisations and departments whose area of focus encompasses environment and development.



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Sustainable development, or development that balances economic, social, and environmental aspects, is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be powerful tools in helping to achieve this. Read more
Sustainable development, or development that balances economic, social, and environmental aspects, is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be powerful tools in helping to achieve this.

The ICT for Development (ICT4D) specialism is a strand within the established and highly successful MSc Practising Sustainable Development. It is offered jointly by the Politics, Development and Sustainability (PDS) Group and the UNESCO Chair/Centre in ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London.

This ICT4D Masters strand takes a global perspective on sustainable development and the role of ICTs; placed at the interface of research and practice, it is designed for those who want to launch or further their careers as development practitioners or scholars. It combines cutting-edge teaching on ICT4D with rigorous training in the broader field of sustainable development, to provide a well-rounded perspective on current and future development challenges. This degree extends knowledge, develops key skills and optimises career prospects.

The course is also offered at Postgraduate Diploma level for those who do not have the academic background necessary to begin an advanced Master’s degree. The structure of the Diploma is identical except that you will not write a dissertation. If you are successful on the Diploma you may transfer to the MSc, subject to academic approval.

See the website https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/geography/coursefinder/mscpgdippsdict4d.aspx

Why choose this course?

- This is an intellectually exciting and inspiring course, drawing on both physical and social sciences, which attracts a diverse, international group of students.

- Our teaching staff are leading international experts and have wide experience in different developing regions and economies in transition, including Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, East Asia and South-East Asia.

- You will benefit from small group learning and an intense but friendly atmosphere, and will receive individual mentoring and career advice from our staff (both from your personal tutor and a dissertation supervisor).

- You will receive an internationally renowned University of London degree, giving you a solid foundation for a career in the field of development and/or environment.

- The course will provide you with training in the skills needed to research and assess ICT for development. These include research design, project development, geographic information systems, remote sensing, participatory methods, project analysis and evaluation.

Department research and industry highlights

The UNESCO Chair/Centre in ICT4D at Royal Holloway is an interdisciplinary centre involving staff in Geography, Management, Computer Science and Earth Sciences. One of the world leaders in its field, with 17 affiliated staff and 18 PhD students, it is a vibrant research community embedded in both the College and the international ICT4D Collective of ICT4D practitioners. It has excellent links with NGOs, businesses and international organisations. Friendly and diverse, it is an exciting place to study and network with other ICT4D experts.

The Politics, Development and Sustainability (PDS) group consists of over 20 research-active staff, 35 PhD students and 50 Master’s students on four MSc programmes. We are committed to conducting collaborative research which seeks to understand and contribute to addressing problems of social inequality, environmental destruction and injustice. The breadth of its members’ research places it in an ideal position to contribute to theoretical and policy debates on key challenges facing Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean today.

Course content and structure

The course is divided into three compulsory elements; theory, policy and practice; research training; and a dissertation. Students studying for the Postgraduate Diploma do not undertake the dissertation.

Core course units:
Sustainability, Development and Governance
This course will equip students with a detailed understanding of the development of sustainable development as a discourse. Students will explore key sustainability issues such as climate change, globalisation, and human responses with an emphasis on the emergence of environmental governance as a means to pursue sustainability.

Technology and Development
This course provides you with an introduction to the role of technology in development, focusing particularly on mobile phone and computer technologies. The course combines an understanding of key theoretical debates and how technologies have been applied in diverse sectors such as health and education. The course also includes training in the use of GIS (geographical information systems) within a development context.

ICT4D
This course gives you the opportunity to develop deeper understandings of cutting-edge applications of ICT4D research and practice. Topics covered include environmental change and Green ICT, open development and subversive forms of technology use, and logics of inclusion and exclusion in ICT programmes. You will also examine project planning, monitoring and evaluation in the field of ICT4D.

Participatory Research
This course combines detailed understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of participatory research and methods with practical experience of using different participatory research techniques. These include participatory diagramming, participatory video and participatory environmental monitoring.

Research Training
You will be provided with training in a range of methods to enable you to plan, carry out and complete a piece of research. There are three modules in this element:
- Social Research Methods Training - provides a range of social science methods for field research and analysis.
- Quantitative Methods for Graduates - provides basic statistical concepts and procedures used in empirical research.
- Development and Environment Research Training - provides guidance for planning, developing and undertaking research in a development and environment context.

Dissertation (MSc only)
The dissertation is of between 12,000 and 15,000 words, on a topic of your choice which has been approved by the supervisor. It requires both secondary and primary research, and the demonstration of originality in integrating theoretical and practical research methods in tackling a particular problem. You will be encouraged to carry out your dissertation in collaboration with an organisation in the field of development and environment.

Community Volunteer Project
You will undertake an independent volunteer project which will give you practical experience in gaining sustainability related work experience in a non-for profit organisation. The project will enhance your employability whilst and provide an opportunity to gain practical experience of third sector organisational objectives, cultures and practices.

Elective course units:
Sustainability, Development and Society
You will develop a detailed understanding of key social / environmental relationships incorporating contemporary issues in the geographies of sustainability. These will include 'risk society', sustainable cities, and the impacts of corporate sector activities on the environment. You will also understand the challenges to sustainable development at household and community levels, with a focus on community-based approaches to sustainable development.

Business Ethics and Enterprise
The aim of the course is to equip students with the moral frameworks and critical abilities necessary to understand the role of business in society from an ethical perspective. The course will cover different types of business including large publicly traded multinationals, small and medium sized enterprises, social enterprises and family firms. Students will be expected to understand the different issues in these organizational types and to articulate moral arguments from a range of different perspectives.

International Sustainability Management
This course provides participants with an understanding of how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) informs sustainability management issues in large, transnational organisations. It will focus on issues such as consumption and sustainability as dichotomised between the apparently incompatible tensions of economic and environmental interests.

Other courses Geopolitics and Security / PIR / Management / Computer Science

On completion of the course graduates will have:
- an understanding at an advanced level of the relationships between, and complexities of, social, economic, political and environmental aspects of sustainable development and ICT4D

- an understanding at an advanced level of how the key issues in sustainable development theory and ICT4D influence policy and impact on practice

- the ability to critically analyse complex or contradictory areas of knowledge in aspects of sustainable development.

Assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation.

Employability & career opportunities

Past students of the MSc Practising Sustainable Development are now employed by international development and/or environment agencies, national government in their countries, national programmes and implementing agencies, higher education institutions, consultancies, private sector businesses, social enterprises and NGOs; as environmental and development policy-makers, managers, workers, activists, teachers and researchers. Many of our alumni are also currently undertaking doctoral programmes in the UK and abroad.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/studyhere/postgraduate/applying/howtoapply.aspx .

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