What Will You Study

The need for sustainable development is a global concern. This flexible Masters degree prepares you to address the challenges faced in safeguarding natural resources, livelihoods and the alleviation of development problems. The focus is on societies undergoing change or faced with resource pressures, in developing and developed countries.

This programme is ideal if you want a career in international development or in an environmental field, in the private, public, or not-for-profit sectors. It can be taken as an MA or MSc depending on your dissertation topic.

You will be based within one of the largest groups of geographers, resource management specialists and environmental scientists in the UK and modules will be taught by world-leading researchers. Their expertise includes mining and extractive industries; livelihoods and moral economies; the politics of land, water, and ‘green’ grabbing; environmental justice and the relationship between climate change and existing social inequalities; migration; food security and agri-food systems including fishing and marine ecosystems; forest policy; sustainable transport; poverty and service delivery; the political economy of global environmental change; the workings of international development; trade (legal and illegal), and biodiversity conservation.

You will complete six taught modules and a dissertation research project, with individual supervision from a research-active expert. There are two or three core modules which give you a solid foundation in the key theoretical issues around the environment and development and you will develop the social science research skills needed to explore them.

We offer great flexibility with over 30 modules to choose from, spanning the social and natural sciences. This enables you to construct a degree that fits your interests and career ambitions and to put your learning in a wider cultural context.

You can gain key practical skills that are valued by employers, such as environmental analysis of development projects, data analysis and programming, geo-informatics and auditing. There are opportunities to gain work experience through one of our many government, civil society and private sector partners – including those in Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America.

Your dissertation project forms a substantial part of your Masters degree. It will enhance your practical and analytical skills and give you the opportunity to apply your learning to a real-world challenge. Dissertation topics are available in both environmental and development themes: our research projects and partners across the globe provide exciting possibilities and fieldwork opportunities when you are choosing your dissertation topic. Most dissertations are anchored in the social sciences but this is not a requirement.

Examples of previous dissertation topics are:

  • The IPCC and the Production of Environmental Knowledge
  • The Spirituality of Climate Change
  • Responsible Mining: Oxymoron or Development Opportunity
  • Soil Quality and Soil Management in China
  • An international comparison of food sovereignty
  • Informal Settlements in Dar Es Salaam: Using PGIS to Map Out Community Voices
  • Ecosystems in Venezuela
  • The intersection of aesthetics and design in urban agriculture
  • Towards a cultural political ecology of ecotourism in Madagascar