MSc Environment, Politics and Development
Programme Code: PGTF0039/PGTP0059/PGTP0060 Duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two (part-time, daytime only) We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.
Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.
Subjects Preferred: Social Science
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time
Who is this programme for?:
The programme attracts applications from students with a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds. We welcome applications from those who have worked in a broad field of development, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, environment-development issues. A good first degree in a social science is preferred.
This programme takes a critical political ecology frame and examines environmental policy and its intersections with development from a social justice angle. It is taught and convened by leading political ecologists and offers a critical analysis of key issues including water, forestry, climate, fisheries, agricultural production, biodiversity, conflicts and energy supply.
The masters asks important questions including:
- How does the environment intersect with global poverty, wealth and questions of inequality?
- Can Carbon trading offer a solution to managing climate change?
- How does access to water intersect with dynamics of wealth and poverty?
- Is wildlife conservation implicated in social injustices?
- What role can and do environmental movements play in development?
- Is there a link between environmental change and violent conflict?
- What is the political ecology of forests?
The MSc programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills has been of great benefit to the many graduates who have returned to, or taken up, professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. Students also benefit from the wide range of courses on offer, both within the Department and across the School, allowing them to create individualised interdisciplinary programmes.
The MSc Environment, Politics and Development has four components: two compulsory courses; one full-course option or two half-course options; and a dissertation of 10,000 words. Please see Postgraduate Courses for details on core and optional courses taught within the Department.
There are four main components to this degree: three taught courses and a 10,000 word dissertation. All students take a core course, Political Ecology of Development. They then select one of four further core courses: Political Economy of Development; Theory, Policy and Practice of Development; Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development; or Law and Natural Resources. Through these courses students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies.
Students also take optional courses (one full unit course or two half-unit courses), allowing them to specialise in particular areas of environment, politics and development and potentially to develop a dissertation in a related theme. By tying these to their individual dissertation topic, students design their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.
All students take Political Ecology of Development. Then select either Political Economy of Development, Theory, Policy and Practice of Development, Political Economy of Violence, Conflict and Development or Law and Natural Resources. The dissertation is compulsory.
- Political Ecology of Development - 15PDSC009 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Political economy of development - 15PDSC002 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Theory, policy and practice of development - 15PDSC001 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Political economy of violence, conflict and development - 15PDSC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Law and natural resources - 15PLAC126 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Dissertation in Development Studies - 15PDSC999 (1 Unit) - Full Year
All MSc students in Development Studies are eligible to attend the one-term , non-assessed course, Economics for Beginners,which introduces students to basic concepts in microeconomics, macroeconomics, development economics, and statistics and econometrics.
- Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty - 15PDSH026 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Aid and development - 15PDSH027 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Borders and Development - 15PDSH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Civil society, social movements and the development process - 15PDSH001 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Contested natural resources, rural livelihoods and globalisation - 15PDSH031 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Development practice - 15PDSH013 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- East Asia and globalisation - 15PDSH025 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Environment, Governance and Development - 15PDSH050 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Extractive Industries, Energy, Biofuels and Development in a Time of Climate Change - 15PDSH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Famine and food security - 15PDSH022 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies - 15PDSH017 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1 - Not Running 2014/2015
- Gender and development - 15PDSH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Global commodity chains, production networks and informal work - 15PDSH024 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Global Health and Development - 15PDSH051 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Issues in forced migration - 15PDSH015 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Migration and Policy - 15PDSH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development - 15PDSH054 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Problems of development in the Middle East and North Africa - 15PDSH019 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- Security - 15PDSH020 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- The working poor and development - 15PDSH030 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Understanding economic migration: Theories, Patterns and Policies - 15PDSH032 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
- Water and development:conflict and governance - 15PDSH049 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2014/2015
Open Options in Other Departments
Politics and International Studies Department
- Government and politics in Africa - 15PPOC205 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Government and politics of modern South Asia - 15PPOC003 (1 Unit) - Full Year
School of Law
- Human rights in the developing world - 15PLAC111 (1 Unit) - Full Year
- Water Law: Justice and Governance - 15PLAH044 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
- History of Environment and Globalisation in Asia and Africa - 15PHIH023 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
Anthropology and Sociology Department
- Anthropological approaches to agriculture, food and nutrition - 15PANH053 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
Study of Religions
- Religions and Development - 15PSRH049 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)
Teaching & Learning
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.5 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Teaching & Learning
Courses are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.
The MSc programme consists of three taught courses (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.
Most courses involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.
A Student's Perspective
Do not be surprised if you discover that you are drinking coffee with a former Malaysian political prisoner, or sitting in a lecture next to a journalist who reported from Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. Both have happened to me. Every single person at SOAS has an interesting story to tell, and adds something unique and valuable to our community. So will you.