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Global Environmental Politics and Policy (MSc)

Course Description

This interdisciplinary Master's programme in environment and politics combines critical social theory and detailed empirical analyses to explore contemporary global environmental politics and policy. It draws together the research and teaching expertise of 2 departments at Birkbeck – the Department of Politics and the Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies - to deliver an ambitious curriculum, addressing conceptual and practical issues of climate change, resources, global scarcity, violence, demographic change and environmental crisis, together with an in-depth examination of key areas in contemporary environmental policy. The cross-disciplinary content of the programme means you can choose from a wide variety of specialised option modules across the 2 departments.

The core modules explore the relationship between population, environment, economy and human values, as well as key areas of environmental policy and law, and introduce you to recent public policy, empirical data and case studies. You will be equipped with the conceptual ideas, theoretical approaches and analytical research skills needed to study environment, global politics and policy at postgraduate level.

You can then choose 2 option modules from a wide variety of topics, including climate change, gender, development, global governance, nationalism, population change, war and conflict, and public policy. You will also learn research techniques that will enable you to specialise and undertake the researching and writing of a dissertation on the subject that interests you most.

You will develop the skills to engage with and analyse demographic and environmental change and to appreciate the tensions and contradictions they generate in the geopolitical realm, through the relationships between and across states and regions. You will learn about the principles, instruments and ethics of international environmental policy, governance and legislation, as well as acquiring detailed knowledge of environmental policies in relation to natural environment, water, waste, energy, low carbon, and resources on a local, national, regional and global scale.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This Master's degree will equip you with the theoretical and analytical knowledge and tools to analyse environmental change and its global political impact and implications.
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.
The programme is taught across 2 departments - Politics and Geography, Environment and Development Studies - giving you access to a wealth of world-class teaching and research. You will be taught by research-active academics who are internationally recognised specialists in their fields.
Our Department of Politics was ranked 12th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) and is a world-renowned centre of original, influential research. Our academic staff are international authorities in their respective fields, publishing and delivering stimulating teaching in a wide range of political topics.
One of the unique strengths of our Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies is the breadth of research interests of our staff. Subsequently, we offer a very wide range of courses that reflect the disciplinary breadth of development and globalisation, while also allowing you to engage with other disciplines, such as anthropology and sociology.
Birkbeck Library has a large politics and environment collection, including the major specialist journals, and provides you with access to an extensive range of online materials.
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 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 and Sociology was ranked 13th in the UK.

Visit the Global Environmental Politics and Policy (MSc) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

Student Profiles

Postgraduate Support Scheme for final-year undergraduates (full-time) - 20+ Awards

We are pleased to announce that, for October 2015 entry, Birkbeck has a limited number of new £10,000 postgraduate scholarships. These scholarships are for students progressing from a full-time undergraduate degree to a part-time Master’s degree starting in 2015/16.

Value of Scholarship(s)



To be eligible for the scholarship you must be:Starting a 2-year part-time taught Master’s degree in 2015/16
Domiciled in the UK/EU
Progressing from an undergraduate course for which you were charged the higher tuition fee (applicable since 2012–13)
Studying at postgraduate Master’s level for the first time

Application Procedure

If you want to apply for this support, you must follow these steps:Submit an application for your intended course
Submit an application for the Postgraduate Support Scheme

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good undergraduate degree (minimum 2:2) in the social sciences or humanities. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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Recipient: Birkbeck, University of London
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