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This programme is designed to assist both existing professionals working within environment and development spheres, and people moving into international and national-level organisations and agencies promoting sustainable development.

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 this programme will have a wide range of backgrounds and will typically find work in:

  • government ministries and other public sector organisations concerned with policy analysis in the fields of sustainable development and environmental planning
  • international organisations, such as UN agencies, concerned with the sustainability of economic change 
  • Non-governmental organisations NGOs
  • private sector organisations concerned about the social and environmental impact of their operations
  • consultancy organisations providing advice on issues of sustainability
  • applied research and teaching in institutions of research and higher education.

The programme also prepares students to apply for further academic research in this field (for instance, a PhD).

The global community faces problems of poverty and profound environmental change that are interconnected in complex and dynamic ways. As the Sustainable Development Goals acknowledge, in an increasingly integrated world, any development agenda must be a global one with shared responsibilities for all countries. However, the idea of sustainable development, that underpins the post-2015 development agenda, is also a controversial concept that requires critical examination.

The rationale for this innovative programme of study lies in the global environmental and development challenges that have been articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear that solutions to the challenge of sustainable development require holistic, integrated and co-ordinated actions across a very wide range of sectors, and will increasingly require a multidisciplinary approach. This programme aims to provide students with a broad grounding in the main concepts associated with sustainable development, but also provides the opportunity to specialise in one area in greater depth.

This programme provides a theoretical basis for understanding the evolution, meanings and use of the concept of sustainable development and it will help you to gain practical research experience. You will also acquire the skills needed to understand current environmental, development and sustainability issues and debates.

The aims of the programme are:

  • to provide students with the skills necessary to analyse and interpret current issues and debates related to sustainable development
  • to enhance knowledge and understanding for decision- and policy-making on sustainable development issues
  • to enhance students' critical, analytical, and integrative skills for responding to sustainable development challenges
  • to provide research training and experience in relation to sustainable 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:

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.

Key readings

  • A range of key readings, which accompany the core text, are accessed via the SOAS online library. Information is also supplied suggesting sources of further reading as well as links to relevant web pages.

Supplementary study materials

  • These are included where appropriate, and include items such as computer software.

Employment

Graduates of this programme will have a wide range of backgrounds and will typically find work in:

  • government ministries and other public sector organisations concerned with policy analysis in the fields of sustainable development and environmental planning
  • international organisations, such as UN agencies, concerned with the sustainability of economic change
  • Non-governmental organisations NGOs
  • private sector organisations concerned about the social and environmental impact of their operations
  • consultancy organisations providing advice on issues of sustainability
  • applied research and teaching in institutions of research and higher education.

The programme also prepares students to apply for further academic research in this field (for instance, a PhD).


Visit the Sustainable Development - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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