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Environment and Sustainable Development - MSc/PGDip

Course Description

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.

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.


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

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!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Alice Fourrier

"I applied to UCL due to its position as a leading global institution in terms of teaching and research. I knew I would be taught by renowned experts in their field and as a graduate student, have the opportunity to interact with them and benefit from their input into my work. "


Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS) - 5 Awards

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), and UK universities, to support scholarships for students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the United Kingdom.The aim of the scheme is to assist students from developing Commonwealth countries who are of excellent academic calibre but for financial reasons would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the United Kingdom. The scheme allows them to benefit from postgraduate study at a university in the United Kingdom which will help them to contribute toward the development of their home countries.Awards are for taught Master's programmes only, subjects must be related to the economic, social and technological development of a candidate's country. UCL expects to be able to allocate five awards this academic year.Applicants must:
- Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a Commonwealth developing country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country (please see the CSSS information booklet for a list of eligible countries);
- Hold a first degree at either first- or upper second-class level;
- Be sufficiently fluent in English to pursue the programme;
- Have not previously studied for one year or more in a developed country;
- Not be employed by a government department (at national level) or a parastatal organisation (employees of universities are normally acceptable);
- Be themselves, or through families, unable to pay for the proposed programme of study in the UK;
- Be willing to confirm that they will return to their home country as soon as their period of study is complete.
- Apply for admission to UCL for one of the eligible programmes below:Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The award will cover tuition fees, a maintenance allowance, economy air travel to and from the UK at the beginning and end of the scholar’s degree programme plus additional discretionary allowances.
- Awards are normally tenable for one year.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)


- Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a Commonwealth developing country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country (please see the CSSS information booklet for a list of eligible countries);
- Hold a first degree at either first- or upper second-class level;

Application Procedure

- You must separately apply for admission to UCL for one of the eligible programmes through the standard admissions procedure.
- You must apply for the scholarship on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Electronic Application System (EAS) online following the procedures described on their website.
- In order to be considered for this scholarship at UCL, you must complete the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Electronic Application System (EAS) online: by the deadline of T23:59 (UCT) Sunday, 21 February 2016.

Further Information



Bartlett Masters Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, offers 20 scholarships for MSc, MRes, MA and MArch students, each worth £5,000, to be used as partial fee remittance for study. Applications have been closed for the 2015/2016 scheme. Please check this page for announcements about the 2016/2017 Masters Scholarship Scheme.All postgraduate students, including continuing students, can be considered for this scholarship, regardless of study mode or fee status. The Bartlett, through this award, hopes to encourage students from under-represented groups to embark on a postgraduate qualification at UCL. The application form has an Equal Opportunities Monitoring section which asks for details on your ethnicity. Eligibility will be means-tested and will take into account total funds available to the applicant.Please note, scholarship applicants do not necessarily require an offer of admission by the deadline date, but will need to have submitted a complete application for study.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- BME applicants
- International students
- Those who commenced their undergraduate studies (in a UK university) pre-2012
- Successful applicants will need to meet two core criteria:
- Applicants must hold an offer of study to commence study in September 2015 (or be continuing, if following a modular/flexible course of study)
- Applicants must be able to pay the remainder of their fees and all living expenses

Application Procedure

To apply, please complete the Masters Scholarship Scheme application form and send it to [email protected]

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard; and a demonstrated interest in the subject matter of the programme. Candidates who do not meet the above requirements may be considered if they are able to demonstrate substantial relevant work experience and an ability to engage academically with the subject matter of the course. Applicants who do not hold a recognised undergraduate degree may, in exceptional cases, be admitted to the programme if they are able to demonstrate considerable senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field.

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