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Department of Development Studies

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.

Overview

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.

Structure

Overview
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.

Specialisation
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.

Core Courses

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.

Non-Assessed Courses

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.

Optional Courses
Open Options in Other Departments
Politics and International Studies Department
School of Law
History Department
Anthropology and Sociology Department
Study of Religions

Teaching & Learning

Materials

SOAS Library
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.

Lectures
Most courses involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.

Seminars
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.

Dissertation
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

The SOAS Globalisation and Development program brought me a global political element to my past food security background.

Josephine Tsui