In your first semester, you'll gain an advanced understanding of the core knowledge and skills in both sustainability and development-related themes such as environmental governance, development studies, environmental social science research methods and sustainable development. You'll be taught through lectures, seminars and interactive discussions, and will approach topics from different angles thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of academics from both the School of Earth and Environment and the School of Politics and International Studies.
As well as compulsory modules you'll also be able to specialise through optional modules in topics such as business or ecological economics.
In semester two, you'll take the theoretical knowledge that you have gained from semester one and begin to build upon it. You'll apply this knowledge and skills to form a deeper, more specialised understanding of the challenges of environment and development and be able to apply it to real-world scenarios.
During this semester you'll also have the opportunity to connect with our partners in Tanzania, through a unique case-study context drawing on academic field-based research, local community and stakeholder perspectives. You'll develop a detailed understanding of the area and begin to understand how both theoretical concepts and real-world challenges intertwine, and the challenges that they face, based on our extensive long-term research in this area.
You'll have a little more flexibility in choosing optional modules, enabling you to develop specialised knowledge in topics such as climate change impacts and mitigation and ecological economics.
Taking all of the knowledge and skills that you have learnt in the previous two semesters your focus will now turn to your individual dissertation project. You'll produce an original piece of cutting-edge research on a topic of your choice, and will work closely with a member of staff as your dissertation supervisor.
Want to find out more about your modules?
Take a look at the Environment and Development module descriptions for more detail on what you'll study.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Environment and Development MSc in the course catalogue
Global Inequalities and Development
Environmental Policy and Governance
Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
GIS and Environment
Environmental Economics and Policy
Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation
Climate Change Mitigation
Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics
Environment & Development Case Study: from theory to practice
Learning and teaching
You'll learn through teaching methods selected to help you develop subject-specific and transferable skills. This includes lectures, practical workshops, policy simulations, computer lab sessions, research seminars and project work (individual and group work).
Practical exercises focus on real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions including familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes that companies and public sector organisations operate within.
The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that course material is both up-to-date and research-led – meaning that we train you to learn what questions to ask, how to read unfamiliar data and to ultimately tackle the big questions in the field so that you can become the leader of tomorrow.
You'll also learn the scientific and rational principles lying behind the practical approaches used in the world outside academia so that you are equipped to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.
You'll be assigned a personal tutor, who will maintain contact with you throughout the year and offer pastoral guidance. They will help you to settle into the university and clarify any procedures, as well as helping you prepare for employment upon graduation. You'll also receive administrative support from SEE’s dedicated Student Education Support office.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for the School, your programme and modules.
You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.
We have successful and productive links with many partners with different perspectives on sustainability, environment and development. You'll come into contact with our network of partners throughout the course.
In addition, staff members in the Sustainability Research Institute, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Studies and the School of Politics and International Studies maintain their own network of contacts and your dissertation project provides you with an opportunity to build on these links.
We will also support and encourage you to develop your own links so that you can collaborate with institutions that might be beneficial for your future career progression.
In the past, students have worked with companies, UK-based charities, international development organisations, government departments and universities.
Through our long-term engagement with a field site in Tanzania, you'll also have the opportunity to link up with the people on the ground there in a unique case-study context, which enables you to look at the real world beyond just concepts.
Industry support for your dissertation
To help you set up your research dissertation, supervisors have excellent collaborative links with sustainability, environment and development organisations across the UK and internationally.
Recent students have worked with Brunei National Energy Research Institute, ASDA (food waste), Tullow Oil Company and The International Rice Research Institute. While other students have teamed up with ongoing research projects.
The Programme Leader, Dr. Jenny Hodbod, is a Lecturer in Environment and Development in the School of Earth and Environment. An environmental social scientist, she integrates quantitative and qualitative methods into her research to explore resilience and equity in food systems, particularly in Ethiopia where she has worked for over ten years.
You'll also be taught by a world-leading team of researchers covering the social sciences, economics, development studies, environmental management and conservation and the natural sciences from within the School of Earth and Environment and the School of Politics and International Studies. Many are also members of research centres, such as:
Our team of experts are also active in national and international research and policy, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the World Commission on Protected Areas, The Economics of Land Degradation and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
Our aim is to get you to do the best possible work and we have a variety of assessments to showcase your skills and abilities. Assessments might include written exams, academic and professional written work and your final Masters dissertation project.
Online taster courses
Our Environmental Challenges collection is a five-part series of free online courses, delivered via FutureLearn. Ideal for current undergraduate students or mid-career professionals considering a Masters degree, this series explores how environmental management policies are developed and the challenges surrounding their formulation.