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MA in Science, Society and Development

Course Description

Sustainability is one of the key issues facing a world with an increasing population and environmental change. This MA looks at science, society, sustainability and development, focusing on the key areas of agriculture, environment, and health. You are invited to address complex policy issues including water and sanitation, epidemic disease, the African Green Revolution, biodiversity and genetically modified crops.

What makes this MA unique is its emphasis on the ways that politics permeates policy processes at all levels, and plays out through competing framings, narratives, knowledge and networks. Starting with a solid grounding in development studies and society-science-technology relations, the degree then puts the dynamics of policy processes at centre stage.

The degree provides you with a theoretically informed understanding of debates in development, sociological studies of science and technology, and governance and policy processes, while promoting a people-oriented approach. It will equip you with the ability to critically examine and reflect on the role of science in environmental, health and agricultural issues within development, using an inter-disciplinary perspective; engage in an informed and critical way with other professionals; apply practical methods and frameworks to research problems; and advance policy debates on key issues relating to food and agriculture, health and disease, water and sanitation, and agricultural research problems.

Course structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2016 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules tab.

Autumn term: Ideas in Development and Policy, Evidence and Practice • Science, Knowledge and the Politics of Development • Science, Power and Institutions.

Spring term: Sustainability and Policy Processes and two 15-credit modules from a range of options, which may include Aid and Poverty • Analysing Poverty, Vulnerability and Inequality • Climate Change and Development • Decentralisation and Local Government • Emerging Powers and International Development • Global Governance • Impact Evaluation • Law and Development • Management of Public Finance • Nutrition • Politics of Implementing Gender and Development • Poverty, Violence and Conflict • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods • Reflective Practice and Social Change • Sexuality, Masculinity and Development • Unruly Politics.

Spring and summer terms: you take the 15-credit module Introduction to Research Methods to help you prepare for your dissertation.

Summer term: you work on your dissertation.


Assessment is primarily through term papers of 3,000-5,000 words, coursework assignments, presentations, practical exercises and, for some modules, examinations, as well as a final 10,000-word dissertation.


The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/money/scholarships/pgt2016/

Visit the MA in Science, Society and Development page on the University of Sussex website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in the social sciences or a related discipline, and preferably two years' development-related work experience. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed, two-page personal statement.Overseas entrance requirements: View Website

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