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Course content

This programme examines development planning in the context of environmental concerns in urban areas of the Global South. It challenges mainstream approaches to development, focusing instead upon transformative action for environmental justice. Many of our graduates go on to help shape future sustainable development agendas in local government, international agencies and civil society organisations.

Degree information

The focus of this degree is the complexity and variety of current environmental problems in urban regions, their causes and impacts, and the possibilities and limitations of environmental planning and management. Students learn how to respond to processes that generate social and environmental change, and how to develop strategies to steer urban environmental planning towards sustainability and environmental justice.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), one or two optional modules (30 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). A Postgraduate Diploma, three core modules (90 credits), one or two optional modules (30 modules), full-time nine months, is offered.

Core modules
-The Political Ecology of Environmental Change
-Environment and Sustainable Development in Practice
-Urban Environmental Planning and Management in Development

Optional modules
-Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
-Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
-NGOs and Social Transformation
-Food and the City
-Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: Knowledge Systems in the Global South
-Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
-Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Policy
-Socially Sensitive Development in Practice
-Social Development and Poverty Reduction: From Theory to Practice
-Managing the City Economy
-Housing policy, programme and project alternatives
-The City and Its Relations
-Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management

Not all modules may be available.

Dissertation/report
All MSc students submit a 10,000-word dissertation 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 comprises reading, essay writing, critical discussion and project work, facilitated through lectures, seminars, workshops, extensive fieldwork and discussions with practitioners covering theoretical and practical tasks and case study analysis. Assessment is through coursework, examinations, and the dissertation.

Careers

Most previous graduates of this programme are now engaged in professional activities, ranging from local and national government, consultancy firms and national and international NGOs, to United Nations programmes and international aid agencies the world over.

Examples of organisations where graduates are employed include:
-Public Sector: DEFRA and DfID (UK), Ministerio das Cidades (Brazil) and many other local government organisations
-International Agencies and NGOs: UNEP, UNDP, UN-Habitat, JICA, GIZ (former GTZ), InsightShare, Save the Children, and WWF
-Think tanks, academic and research organisations: IIEED, Stockholm Environment Institute, Resources for Development Center, WaterWise and the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport
-Private companies: HappoldConsulting, EcoSecurities, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Dialogue by Design, and BioRegionalQuintain.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Ethical Trading Specialist, Tesco
-Research Analyst, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)
-Research Associate, Rethinking Cities Ltd.
-EngD Technologies for Sustainable Built Environments, University of Reading
-Graduate Project Officer, Leicester City Council and studying Certificate in Permaculture, Permaculture Association

Employability
Our programme equips students with several interdisciplinary and transferable skills including report writing, data collection and analysis, communication, research and project management skills and teamwork.

Our students network with diverse organisations in the UK and internationally, and in the field they may work directly with local public and private partners. Academic staff are involved in research, consultancy and development practice, influencing global debates on development such as UNFCCC negotiations, the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Habitat III agenda. Students can meet alumni and other individuals and groups forming part of this network, which is concerned with issues of socially just and sustainable development in the Global South.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme offers an in-depth theoretical and practical understanding of socio-environmental change, equipping graduates with the skills required to face global challenges in urban regions while being sensitive to local contexts.

For the last 60 years the Development Planning Unit at UCL has championed forms of development planning that promote social justice in the context of rapid urbanisation in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The programme provides opportunities to interact with leading thinkers in development planning and students will join an international network of researchers and practitioners.

Visit the Environment and Sustainable Development - MSc/PGDip page on the University College London website for more details!

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