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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MSc Environmental Governance critically analyses some of the key environmental challenges of our time, exploring the connections between environmental governance and policies and the production, distribution and consumption of resources.
The course will develop your ability to apply sophisticated, critical and interdisciplinary sustainability and environmental theories at multiple scales and in different geographical contexts.
As part of the course, you'll have the unique opportunity to collaborate and engage with cutting-edge researchers and world-leading experts on environmental governance, political ecology, Marxist political economy and urban sustainability. You will learn from real-world practitioners, and liaise with external organisations on live policy problems.
This makes MSc Environmental Governance an ideal choice for:
Part-time students complete the full-time programme over 27 months. There are NO evening or weekend course units available on the part-time programme, therefore if you are considering taking a programme on a part-time basis, you should discuss the requirements with the Programme Director first and also seek approval from your employer to have the relevant time off. Timetabling information is normally available from late August from the Programme Administrator and you will have the opportunity to discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.
Eight taught units comprise two-thirds of the programme. The remainder of the programme consists of a 12,000 word dissertation on an approved topic. Typical course units comprise two hours a week of seminar or small-group work. Together these units involve a range of formative and summative assessments, including individual and group work, oral presentations and long essays, project work and reports. Coursework is designed to allow you to pursue your particular areas of interest.
In the summer semester, you work independently to undertake dissertation work based on primary and/or secondary data, or else a more philosophical/theoretical dissertation. We encourage you develop research in collaboration with members of the Society and Environment Research Group and external organisations.
Core course units
Past dissertation projects
Every year we have a range of different dissertation topics that reflect students' research interests. For illustration, this list presents some past dissertation topics:
"From the very start, I found all the staff extremely friendly and helpful. There was always someone to speak to, no matter what the problem - as someone who came into studying this subject from a very different undergraduate degree, this made my transition much easier. It also helped that the teaching staff have a real passion for the subject, which I found infectious and inspiring."
Oliver Gibbons, MSc Environmental Governance
The Arthur Lewis Building provides excellent resources including analytical laboratories, studio facilities, workshops, seminar rooms, an on-site cafe and dedicated computer clusters including GIS facilities.
Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: [email protected]
The field of Social Policy examines the definition, pattern and range of social problems in contemporary society and the various policy responses to them. It explores the role of the state in relation to the welfare and management of its citizens and the role of state intervention in determining the conditions under which people live. This programme is designed to provide you with a grounding in social research as applied in social policy investigations.
You will take a range of taught modules primarily in the first two terms of the academic year. Starting in the first term, you will undertake a module on research design which will enables you to develop a research proposal for your dissertation.
In previous years, typical modules offered were:
Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)
Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)
Research Design and Process (15 credits)
Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)
Social Policy and Society (30 credits)
Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)
Dissertation (60 credits)
Academic learning is assessed through a range of summative essays, statistical/computer-based projects, research proposals, and a dissertation.
These MA Research Methods programmes are full-time, starting in early October and continuing over 12 months following university terms.
The main teaching methods include lectures, seminars, and computer practical sessions. Lectures introduce the key concepts, theories, current debates and other issues critical for understanding the topics. Seminars are opportunities for you to discuss any questions arising from the readings, to share experience of conducting research, to present your own work for comments. Modules that teach the use of computer software packages have practical sessions in computer rooms so that you can carry out hands-on exercises under supervision and further assistance.
Modules are usually assessed through essays. Statistics modules may require you to complete specific analyses with more structured instructions. Some module conveners may allow you to submit formative assignments in order for you to obtain a sense of how well you understand the subject. Some modules’ assessment may contain a proportion of presentations and group projects.
Further academic support is available. You will have the opportunity to learn from your dissertation supervisors at individual tutoring meetings, dissertation workshops, and forums. Every member of teaching staff has two hours of office hours each week where you can access additional support for your modules, assignments and so forth. In addition, both the University and the School host seminars for external speakers that are open to all students.
You will have access to a variety of learning resources, including learning spaces in libraries and teaching rooms, readings and textbooks, computers, databases, etc.