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Masters Degrees (Political Ecology)

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The programme attracts applications from students with a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds. Read more
The programme attracts applications from students with a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds. We welcome applications from those who have worked in a broad field of development, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, environment-development issues. A good first degree in a social science is preferred.

This programme takes a critical political ecology frame and examines environmental policy and its intersections with development from a social justice angle. It is taught and convened by leading political ecologists and offers a critical analysis of key issues including water, forestry, climate, fisheries, agricultural production, biodiversity, conflicts and energy supply.

The masters asks important questions including:

- How does the environment intersect with global poverty, wealth and questions of inequality?
- Can Carbon trading offer a solution to managing climate change?
- How does access to water intersect with dynamics of wealth and poverty?
- Is wildlife conservation implicated in social injustices?
- What role can and do environmental movements play in development?
- Is there a link between environmental change and violent conflict?
- What is the political ecology of forests?

The MSc programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills has been of great benefit to the many graduates who have returned to, or taken up, professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. Students also benefit from the wide range of modules on offer, both within the Department and across the School, allowing them to create individualised interdisciplinary programmes.

The MSc Environment, Politics and Development has four components: two compulsory modules; one full-module option or two half-module options; and a dissertation of 10,000 words. Please see Postgraduate Modules (http://www.soas.ac.uk/development/programmes/pgcourses/) for details on core and optional modules taught within the Department.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/development/programmes/mscenvironpoldev/

Structure

- Overview
There are four main components to this degree: three taught modules and a 10,000 word dissertation. All students take a core module, Political Ecology of Development. They then select one of four further core modules: Political Economy of Development; Theory, Policy and Practice of Development; Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development; or Law and Natural Resources. Through these modules students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies.

- Specialisation
Students also take optional modules (one full unit module or two half-unit modules), allowing them to specialise in particular areas of environment, politics and development and potentially to develop a dissertation in a related theme. By tying these to their individual dissertation topic, students design their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.

Students should be aware that not all optional modules may run in a given year. Modules at other institutions are not part of the approved programme structure.

Programme Specification

Programme Specification 15/16 (pdf; 85kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/development/programmes/mscenvironpoldev/file101710.pdf

Materials

- 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 1.5 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Teaching & Learning

Modules are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.

The MSc programme consists of three taught modules (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.

- Lectures
Most modules involve a two hour 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 for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.

- Dissertation

A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.

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

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This Master's degree in politics considers the increasingly pressing political issues of population and demography. World population is growing fast. Read more
This Master's degree in politics considers the increasingly pressing political issues of population and demography. World population is growing fast: having trebled in approximately a century, the UN projects an increase from today's 7 billion to around 11 billion by the end of the twenty-first century. This unique programme explores where this growth is occurring and considers the environmental, economic, political and global implications for both developing and developed countries. We will consider policy debates and responses to population growth and stabilisation, as well as the effects of ageing populations on economies, welfare systems and defence and security. Under the guidance of expert academics, you will examine how ethnic, religious and national identities intersect with questions of resources and population around the world.

You will be introduced to a spectrum of methodological approaches, including quantitative techniques for analysing and projecting demographic change, discourse analysis of policy documents, and historical case studies of political debates and movements. There will be an opportunity to read some of the classic works on population, such as Adam Smith, Malthus, J. S. Mill and Marx, as well as to study more recent ideas, including demographic transition theory and the environmental concept of the Anthropocene. You will be invited to examine unique case studies using methodologies that include data analysis, critical theory (Marxism, genealogy and critical discourse analysis) and policy analysis.

The core modules explore current demographic and environmental change in the context of politics, economics and international relations and also consider the relationship between immigration, ageing and conflict. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study politics at postgraduate level. You will then go on to undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.

Our Department of Politics is a lively and distinguished centre of interdisciplinary research, with a strong reputation for the quality of our teaching. Some of the world’s most famous libraries are on our doorstep in Bloomsbury, central London, and you can walk down to Whitehall, where Parliament and the UK’s most influential and important think-tanks and centres of political research and analysis are located.

Our departmental building was once a key location for members of the Bloomsbury Group, so you could be studying in rooms that have hosted distinguished visitors, including T. S. Eliot, George Bernard Shaw and Maynard Keynes.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This Master's degree is distinctive, combining theoretical and critical perspectives on population and ecology with empirical approaches and real-world case studies.
The programme allows you to follow your own interests, with a wide choice of option modules, while developing your research skills and undertaking a dissertation in an area that interests you.
Our location in central London puts us at the heart of the UK’s political life and at the centre of academic London. You can walk down to Parliament and Whitehall, while Bloomsbury contains some of the world’s most famous libraries and centres of research.
You can take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including Senate House Library, which is right next door to Birkbeck, the British Library, which is 5 minutes’ walk away, and the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics, which is walkable from Birkbeck.
Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) results and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research.
The department organises a lively programme of seminars and conferences and is home to affiliated research centres, such as the Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life, which run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics including civil society and the state, public policy, development, gender, international security and terrorism, and social and political theory, among others.
Birkbeck Library has a large politics collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), Politics at Birkbeck was ranked 17th in the UK.

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The world is experiencing important ecological and environmental challenges. To address them we need to expand and link scientific knowledge with practice, for example in the areas of environmental consultancy, policy implementation and development, and fundamental ecological and environmental research. Read more
The world is experiencing important ecological and environmental challenges. To address them we need to expand and link scientific knowledge with practice, for example in the areas of environmental consultancy, policy implementation and development, and fundamental ecological and environmental research.

The MSc in Applied Ecology and Environmental Management incorporates topics in ecology, environmental sciences and environmental management to explore the relationship between the natural world and society. You will explore, within a scientific and an ecological framework, the impact of human activities on the environment, and will obtain a thorough understanding of environmental management and sustainability issues, including policy and legislation, with the development of practical skills.

Visit the website: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/courses/postgraduate/applied-ecology-and-environmental-management.aspx

Course detail

Our programme aims to develop and challenge you at a postgraduate level to develop a deeper and applied understanding of environmental biology and science, its relevance to the impact of human activities on environmental systems, as well as the mitigation of those impacts, and the regulatory, political and scientific parameters that frame practice and research in the environmental sciences. We have experienced and research active staff who will be able to convey their enthusiasm for their disciplines, and our facilities will allow you to carry out your studies and projects.

Through this MSc, you will have the opportunity to expand and link conceptual scientific knowledge while also applying it to the practice and application of research as it serves public and private stakeholders, for example in the areas of environmental consultancy, policy implementation and development, and fundamental research.

Suitability

The programme is suited for those interested in the applied aspects of ecology and environmental sciences for environmental management and consultancy, or for those interested in delivering user­defined integrative solutions via research, management and consultancy within the areas of animal behaviour, welfare and conservation, human and physical geography, crop protection, and applied ecology and environmental management.

Content

This MSc covers several main themes which make the core modules, including:

• Environmental Management and Sustainability
• Environmental Science
• Applied Ecology and Conservation
• Research Methods
• Applied Skills in Ecology, Environmental Management and Research
• Understanding Landscapes
• Agro-ecology
• Dissertation

Format

We use a variety of teaching methods that provide support and guidance within a participative learning environment, including:

• Interactive lectures (students and lecturers or speakers),
• Practical sessions (field and laboratory),
• Seminars and workshops,
• Virtual learning environments,
• Problem-based learning as individuals and groups,
• Tutorials with supervisors.

Assessment

This programme is assessed through coursework only, including essays, mock grant proposals and consultancy reports and portfolios consisting of desk-studies, critical reviews, reports, data presentation and analysis as well as literature reviews and other pieces of scientific writing.

What can I do next?

The programme has been developed to address the skills and knowledge gaps in ecological and environmental research and management. The modules in this programme are designed to allow students to learn the theoretical framework, practical skills and transferrable skills that are required for developing a career in ecological and environmental research with an applied focus, and in environmental assessment and consultancy. Employability is promoted and embedded across individual modules within the programme. Students will gain a broad range of skills to enhance employability.

How to apply

For information on how to apply, please follow this link: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/how-to-apply/how-to-apply.aspx

Funding

-Masters Loans-

From 2016/17 government loans of up to £10,000 are available for postgraduate Masters study. The loans will be paid directly to students by the Student Loans Company and will be subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

For more information available here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/funding-your-degree/funding-your-postgraduate-degree.aspx

-2017/18 Entry Financial Support-

Information on alternative funding sources is available here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/study-here/funding-your-degree/2017-18-entry-financial-support.aspx

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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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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. Read more

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:

  • future leaders interested in pursuing a career in environmental policy regulation and urban sustainable management
  • those wishing to develop further their academic career by pursuing a PhD
  • environmental professionals wishing to deepen their knowledge.

Aims

  • Interdisciplinary and sophisticated academic rigour: The course is highly interdisciplinary, exposing you to ideas and practices developed in a range of subject areas such as geography, environmental studies, politics, economics and development studies, rather than one alone. Our curriculum covers theories and interdisciplinary practices of environmental governance and offers you a comprehensive introduction to how human-use of the non-human world is organised at multiple scale and what the effects of this are.
  • Inclusive and collaborative research environment : The degree offers collaboration with the internationally renowned Society-Environment Research Group (SERG) . This group involves more than ten researchers from the School of Environment, Education and Development , with distinguished records of theoretical, empirical and applied research in a range of geographical and environmental settings. This includes work on water and energy governance in Europe, Africa and South-East Asia; social, environmental and climate justice and equity in Central and Eastern Europe, smart cities and urban sustainability in the UK - to name but a few.
  • Knowledge transfer and employability : We combine training in theory and critical thinking with more practical and applied elements. Our range of `real world' practitioners gives you the opportunity to liaise with external organisations on live policy problems and enhance your employability.

Teaching and learning

Part-time Study

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.

Coursework and assessment

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.

Course unit details

Core course units

  • Key Debates in Environmental Governance - Introduces the main (and often competing) approaches to environmental governance in play today, ranging from `free market environmentalism', environmental modernisation and ecological economics, to the `risk society' perspective and green governmentality.
  • Issues in Environmental Policy - Links theory and practice by focusing on different types of environmental policy measures (their logic, operation and outcomes), and is taught by way of real world case studies drawn from the research literature and the work of policy practitioners locally, nationally and globally.
  • Doing Environmental Research - Provides advanced research skills and encourages you to plan and design your dissertation/research review projects. The course introduces you to a range of both research and career options appropriate to the skills acquired on the course, including planning research projects and preparing and writing a detailed proposal for dissertation/research review.

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:

  • The Nature of Industrial Preservation: Mapping Gentrification in New Islington, Manchester
  • Exploring the (post)political nature of urban climate change governance: a study of Manchester: A Certain Future
  • Multi-actor Partnership for Environmental Governance: An Investigation from the Perspective of Bangladesh
  • Transition Impossible? A Post-Political Analysis of the Transition Movement
  • Representation of Nature in Environmental Campaigns: The Visual Case of Greenpeace's #SavetheArctic Polar Bear
  • From government to governance in an age of austerity: an evaluation of new land management partnerships to fit a new economic era for the Peak District National Park
  • The urban commons and the scalar politics of climate activism
  • Manchester Certain Future Forum: Success of network partnerships in promoting sustainability behaviour change.

What our students say

"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

Facilities

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.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: 



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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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The production, reproduction and transformation of urban space via socially, economically, and environmentally just methods presents a complex challenge for professionals. Read more

The production, reproduction and transformation of urban space via socially, economically, and environmentally just methods presents a complex challenge for professionals. This MSc combines cultural, social, economic, political and spatial analysis to recalibrate the urban design project, presenting a holistic response in which informality and marginality are central features.

About this degree

The programme will equip students with a political economy understanding of space; a comprehension of the needs, abilities, aspirations and forms of resistance of urban dwellers; the ability to respond with strategically co-ordinated proposals to leverage local abilities to meet local needs; and an ability to critically engage with the practice of urban design and architecture in developmental processes – particularly in the Global South.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), either one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a development and planning dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development
  • Participatory Process: Building for Development
  • The BUDD Studio: Building and Urban Design Practice

Optional modules

  • Critical Urbanism Studio I. Learning from Informality: Case studies and alternatives
  • Critical Urbanism Studio II: Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Post Disaster Recovery: Policies, Practices and Alternatives
  • Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options
  • Housing as Urbanism: Housing Policy and the Search for Scale
  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • The Political Ecology of Environmental Change
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
  • Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics
  • Social Policy and Citizenship
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • The City and its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning
  • Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice
  • Transport Equity and Urban Mobility
  • Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Food and the City
  • Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: Knowledge Systems in the Global South
  • NGOs and Social Transformation
  • Contemporary Approaches to Development Management

Please note, the availability of some modules may be dependent on student numbers

Dissertation/report

All MSc students submit a 10,000-word report on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic can be chosen to enhance career development or for its inherent interest.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of weekly lectures, seminar presentations, group exercises and workshops. The BUDD studio includes a fieldwork project in an urban reality of the Global South, developed in partnership with local organisations, networks of communities, slum dweller federations, universities and governments alike. Students are encouraged to explore different tools, concepts and ideas throughout the programme and test these during the field project. Assessment is through coursework, design work, written examinations and the 10,000-word report.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Building and Urban Design in Development MSc

Careers

The programme enables graduates to work in NGOs and local government – facilitating community organisations and households to improve their living conditions. Graduate destinations range from UK-based organisations in the public, private and community sectors, to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, which operate in a development capacity in the South. Recent graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies and architectural and design practices. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in urban design and architecture practice, teaching, or research of urban development there; others have successfully sought employment away from their own countries.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Architectural Assistant, Callison
  • PhD in Housing Policy, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Project Manager, Home Office
  • Urban Designer / Visual Designer, Nanjing Yangtze River Urban Architectural Design Co., Ltd
  • Construction Manager, Protemus

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Bartlett is the UK's largest multidisciplinary faculty of the built environment, bringing together dozens of scientific and professional specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the buildings and urban environments of the future.

The Development Planning Unit is an international centre concerned with promoting sustainable forms of development, understanding rapid urbanisation and encouraging innovation in the policy, planning and management responses to the economic, social and environmental development of cities and regions, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Its programmes are supported by international agencies as well as by national and provincial governments.

The Building and Urban Design in Development (BUDD) programme in particular reflects on the necessity of design practices to contribute to changing the mainstream paradigm of working with the urban poor, with communities and the city itself.

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: Development Planning Unit

81% 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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Research profile. This programme's emphasis on independent research allows you to work closely with scholars who are leaders in their field. Read more

Research profile

This programme's emphasis on independent research allows you to work closely with scholars who are leaders in their field.

Research may be in any area of social, urban, environmental, development, political, economic, historical or cultural geography that is supported by the Human Geography Research Group. It is co-delivered with the University’s Graduate School of Social Science.

The programme can stand alone as a masters degree, or form the first year of a ‘1+3’ ESRC-backed PhD programme.

Students who successfully complete this programme will:

  • acquire transferable skills relevant to advanced researchers
  • develop skills in data acquisition and analysis
  • understand wider methodological and epistemological debates relevant to their research

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Programme structure

We offer a balance between general and specialist research training. The programme combines lectures, practical work, workshops, essays, seminars and one-to-one supervision of independent research leading to delivery of a dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Research Design in Human Geography
  • Methodological Debates in Human Geography
  • Core Quantitative Data Analysis 1 and 2
  • Research Skills in the Social Sciences: Data Collection
  • Dissertation in Human Geography

Option courses:

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

  • Conducting Research Interviews
  • Contemporary Social Theory
  • The Documents of Life
  • Explanation and Understanding in Social and Political Research
  • Intermediate Inferential Statistics: Testing and Modelling
  • Listening to Children: Research and Consultation
  • Political Ecology
  • Qualitative Methods and Ethnographic Fieldwork
  • Survey Methods and Data
  • Values and the Environment

Independent research

The emphasis on independent research allows you to work closely with scholars at the cutting edge in order to advance your own research passions. A highlight of the programme is the postgraduate conference where you present your research to colleagues.

The University of Edinburgh has an unbroken record of teaching and research in the earth sciences going back to 1770, when Robert Ramsay became the first Professor of Natural History.

James Hutton and Arthur Holmes were prominent among those who set an academic tradition in Edinburgh that continues today with the University achieving top ratings in earth sciences teaching and research.

Our interactive and interdisciplinary research environment allows us to tackle difficult research questions, from causes of past glaciations to interactions of earth, climate and society. The ambition and quality of our research was reflected in the latest Research Assessment Exercise: 66 per cent of our research was rated within the top two categories – world-leading and internationally excellent.

Our location at the King’s Buildings campus – home to most of the University’s science and engineering research – benefits our work too. Our King’s Buildings neighbours include external institutes such as the British Geological Survey; our proximity to them strengthens these research links.

Training and support

As a research student, you will be affiliated to one of our research institutes, benefiting from an excellent peer-supported network.

As groupings of researchers with related interests, the institutes provide a forum for development of ideas, collaboration, and dissemination of results, and an environment for training, development and mentoring of research students and early career researchers.

Backed by industry

The School receives strong backing from industry, particularly in areas such as hydrocarbons and carbon capture and storage. We receive support from the EU and from major UK research councils, including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.



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In this programme, leading academics encourage students to think across different disciplines to blend scientific, socioeconomic and policy perspectives for a stronger understanding of sustainability and how it can be achieved. Read more

In this programme, leading academics encourage students to think across different disciplines to blend scientific, socioeconomic and policy perspectives for a stronger understanding of sustainability and how it can be achieved. This wider perspective is attractive to organisations which promote sustainable development or seek to reduce humanity’s effect on the environment.

Ensuring the environmental sustainability of society is one of the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. How can the needs of the world’s growing population be met without threatening the ecological processes that support human wellbeing?

How can the economy and energy systems be restructured to combat climate change? What policies foster sustainability? How can the necessary changes in the behaviour of organisations and individuals be promoted? This MSc programme explores these and related, topical questions.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Programme structure

This programme consists of six taught courses, studied over two semesters. Students will also undertake a research project leading to a dissertation of up to 20,000 words.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Dissertation

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

  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Energy & Society 1: Key Themes and Issues
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Environmental Valuation
  • Development: Principles and Practices
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Energy Policy and Politics
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Forests and Environment
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Political Ecology
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • The Ecology of Ecosystem Services
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Water Resource Management

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

Learning outcomes

Students will be equipped to:

  • assess the sustainability of policies, programmes and projects at scales ranging from the local to the global
  • analyse environmental problems using knowledge from different disciplines, leading to well-founded and effective solutions
  • advocate sustainable development and engage in informed debate on current environmental controversies

Career opportunities

This programme prepares students for a wide range of roles within environmental consultancy, national and local government, non-profit organisations, education or research. The choice of option courses and dissertation projects can be tailored towards your chosen career path.

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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Ecological Economics focuses on how to make sustainability and environmental management work in practice by applying economic principles. Read more

Ecological Economics focuses on how to make sustainability and environmental management work in practice by applying economic principles.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Graduates with postgraduate training in this area are in greater demand than ever before in business, industry and government.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Programme structure

You will learn through lectures, group work, informal group discussion and individual study, as well as the spring study tour. After two semesters of taught courses, you will begin work on your individual dissertations. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of option courses to suit individual interests and career goals.

You will learn through lectures, group work, informal group discussion and individual study, as well as the spring study tour. After two semesters of taught courses, you will begin work on your individual dissertations. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of option courses to suit individual interests and career goals.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Ecological Economics Field Methods in Research and Practice
  • Dissertation

Option courses previously available include:

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

  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • The Ecology of Ecosystem Services
  • Political Ecology
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Water Resource Management
  • Forests and Environment
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Energy & Society I; Key Themes and Issues
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Introduction To Spatial Analysis
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Encountering Cities
  • Development: Principles and Practices
  • Further Spatial Analysis
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Introduction to Environmental Modelling
  • Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change
  • Ecosystem Service Values

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

Field trip

To experience and understand conflict between ecosystem conservation and human development needs at ground level, this programme typically includes a unique 7-10-day study tour, usually overseas and in the developing world (previous destinations have included South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania).

Career opportunities

Being able to identify ecological economic problems, and apply economic principles and methods to solve these problems is increasingly valued by employers.

Our graduates are working in a variety of sectors, including environmental consultancies; international and governmental agencies; NGOs; financial institutions; multinationals; environmental education and research.

Additionally around a quarter of our masters students go on to doctoral research programmes.

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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All environmental issues derive from natural processes, but at the same time are social and political, and it is this unique interdisciplinary approach which drives this MSc. Read more
All environmental issues derive from natural processes, but at the same time are social and political, and it is this unique interdisciplinary approach which drives this MSc. It will appeal to natural resource specialists and agriculturalists, as well as those from a social science background who work or are interested in and wish to study development issues, sustainability and the environment.

The interaction between environment and development is studied through analysing policy processes at local, national and international levels, as played out by a large cast of actors: policy makers, politicians, business administrators, rural and urban resource users.

We use a wide range of critical and constructive skills, analytical techniques and contextual knowledge to advance our understanding of these processes. A main focus of the MSc is on the political ecology approach to understanding debates and policy processes underpinning responses to environmental and natural resource problems.

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This exciting MSc gives you the breadth and background to bridge disciplinary divides and tackle the environmental issues that face us all. Read more

This exciting MSc gives you the breadth and background to bridge disciplinary divides and tackle the environmental issues that face us all.

This programme provides up-to-date knowledge of the contemporary issues and debates on the relationships between the environment, nature, culture and society.

This interdisciplinary programme draws on expertise from across the University, especially from geography, philosophy, theology, science, technology studies and development studies, providing a unique critical perspective.

You will develop the research skills and abilities to assess the importance and implications of geographical, philosophical and other theoretical debates which shape environmental policy and practice.

Our graduates are equipped to think critically, to generate new knowledge related to the environment, and to use this knowledge effectively to address urgent environmental challenges.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

Programme structure

This programme consists of six taught courses, including four option courses, studied over two semesters. In addition, students undertake an individual dissertation project.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Values and the Environment
  • Political Ecology
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

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

  • Archives: History, Geography, Politics
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Encountering Cities
  • Ethics in a Technological Society
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Foundations of the Bioeconomy
  • Global Environment: Key Issues
  • Research Design in Human Geography
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Distributed GIS
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Key Concepts in Global Social Change
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Principles of GIS
  • Principles of GIS for Archaeologists
  • Society and Development
  • Ecology, Ethics and Spirit
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Climate Change, Justice and Responsibility
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature
  • Methodological Debates in Human Geography
  • Urban Development
  • Biobusiness
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Forests and Environment
  • Global Environment and Society
  • ICT for Development
  • Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Man and the Natural World in the Enlightenment
  • Management of Sustainable Development
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change.

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

Career opportunities

Graduates have pursued careers in environmental policy, conservation, animal welfare, NGOs (environmental charities and development organisations), public consultation and 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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This Master's degree interprets water security in its broad political ecology and political economy sense. Read more
This Master's degree interprets water security in its broad political ecology and political economy sense. We believe that the hydrological cycle is intimately connected to critical global policy concerns, climate change, food trade and food security, energy security and in turn to the international cooperation that affects human, community, regional and state security.

The programme will critically reflect on the practical and theoretical facets of water security with a view to develop a better foundation upon which to achieve developmental and environmental objectives.

We will provide the latest interdisciplinary theory and tools necessary to rise to the challenges and students will graduate with the knowledge and tools to be able to understand and audit the water security of a system of interest be it nation, region, company, sector, scheme or household.

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This programme will give you a fundamental understanding of the issues affecting the Earth enabling you to play a vital role in devising and enacting strategies to protect and conserve the environment, both in Europe and beyond. Read more

This programme will give you a fundamental understanding of the issues affecting the Earth enabling you to play a vital role in devising and enacting strategies to protect and conserve the environment, both in Europe and beyond.

Human activities are recognised as having an increasingly significant effect on the Earth’s biosphere. Our use of natural resources, deforestation, soil erosion, the release of potentially toxic compounds and pathogens, and the increase in greenhouse gases are all examples of pressures that have potentially serious consequences for humanity and other life on Earth.

On this programme you will learn about the issues that face the Earth and gain an in-depth understanding of natural resource management and the processes that give rise to environmental degradation and pollution problems.

It will allow you to play a vital role in planning and putting into action strategies to protect and conserve the environment.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Programme structure

This programme involves two semesters of taught courses, which are a balance of lectures, seminars, workshops and visits, plus a research dissertation project of about 16,000 words.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Analysing the Environment
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Analysing the Environment Study Tour
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

You will also choose four optional courses^. We particularly recommend the following:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Forests and Environment
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Water Resource Management
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Carbon Capture and Transport
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Encountering Cities
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Project Appraisal
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Values and the Environment
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Passive Earth Observation
  • Introduction to Environmental Modelling
  • Political Ecology
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Soil Science Concepts and Application

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

Field trip

Part of this programme is a week-long study tour in spring. Past study tours have been held in France, Greece, Portugal, Israel and Morocco.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • develop a scientific understanding of some of the major processes which influence the quality of land, air and water resources
  • acquire knowledge of the most effective methods of environmental protection
  • develop expertise in the design and implementation of programmes of environmental protection
  • have the opportunity to study the integrated protection and management of particular ecosystems or resources

Career opportunities

Our graduates have a solid record in finding employment in the environmental sector while some choose to further their studies through a PhD.

There are also opportunities in consultancy positions and with environmental regulators, government and NGOs.

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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The MSc in Medical Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to engage with anthropological approaches to the study of health drawing on sociocultural, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Read more

The MSc in Medical Anthropology offers a unique opportunity to engage with anthropological approaches to the study of health drawing on sociocultural, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. The course provides a strong grounding in ethnographic approaches to the study of health, the political ecology of health and the application of anthropology to contemporary public health concerns, as well as a diverse range of options in areas such as theories of the body and evolutionary medicine. Our unique biosocial approach to the anthropology of health is one of our key strengths and attracts a wide range of students, contributing to a stimulating and exciting learning environment. An emphasis on developing and applying research skills is also central to our degree. The course is taught by the academic researchers from our highly regarded Anthropology of Health Research Group http://www.durham.ac.uk/anthropology/research/health

Please see the website for further information on modules.

Course Learning and Teaching

The full-time course runs for a full year, from October to September. Full-time students attend classes between October and December (Michaelmas Term) and January and March (Epiphany), with further assessment in April and May (Easter Term), and then work, under the supervision of a specialist supervisor, to complete a dissertation by September. Core modules introduce the Anthropology of Global Health and Public Health Anthropology, and anthropological methods. Students can choose to focus on qualitative or quantitative methods or to train in both.

The programme is delivered through a mixture of interactive lectures, seminars, practical sessions and workshops, in addition to one-to-one dissertation supervision. Typically, lectures deliver key information on progressively more advanced themes and topics. Seminars provide an opportunity to reflect in more depth upon material delivered in lectures and gathered from independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hoursThey give students an opportunity to engage with academic issues at the cutting-edge of research in Anthropology, in a learning environment focused on discussion and debate of current issues.

Full-time students have on average 6-8 hours of formal teaching and learning contact per week, and are also expected to attend weekly departmental and Anthropology of Health Research Group research seminars, often given by prominent visiting speakers. Students also have the opportunity to present their work at the Department’s annual postgraduate conference, and to join activities with other universities, such as our annual advanced medical anthropology workshop with the University of Edinburgh. Outside timetabled contact hours, students are expected to devote significant amounts of time to reading, discussing and preparing for classes, assignments and project work.

Throughout the programme, all students meet fortnightly with the degree tutor, who provides academic support and guidance. Furthermore, all members of teaching staff have weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis, or can be e-mailed to arrange a mutually agreeable time. Students work closely with leading academics to develop an original piece of research for their dissertation, and guidance on the dissertation is also provided by the dissertation leader. Before the academic year starts, we provide information on preparing for the course. On arrival we have induction sessions, including a field trip and social events, headed by the Director of Postgraduate Studies and the degree tutor for Medical Anthropology. Students also attend an introduction to our departmental research groups, including the Anthropology of Health Research Group.

Career Opportunities

Students with a postgraduate qualification in Anthropology pursue a diverse array of careers in areas such as conservation, tourism, public health, health research and management, captive primate care and zoological research management, local government research and management, education (secondary, further and higher), social care, social research, in addition to academia.



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