- 2 years
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy (Online Learning) (2018 entry)
- A minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). We welcome applications from academically strong individuals from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds. Candidates with a lower class degree but with degree-relevant work experience may be considered.
- Teaching and Learning
- Fees and funding
Start of programme: April / October
Mode of Attendance: Part-time
The MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy is the online version of the successful campus degree of the same name; housed within the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) this programme’s focus is on policy and policymaking in the energy and climate space. The MSc introduces students to the key energy sources, their economic and technical bases and how they are regulated. It further analyses energy and climate governance at the international level, and discusses the geopolitics of energy. This programme places policy and policymaking as the key to enabling change and creating the requisite legal and regulatory environment within which the low-carbon energy system of the future can develop and grow.
The MSc provides students with a detailed understanding of the transformative change in energy systems now underway around the world and equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to play a part in it. It treats energy and climate change policy as inextricably linked, taking an integrated approach to the study of the two fields. Case studies are drawn from around the world, accounting for different conditions in developed, newly-industrialised and developing country contexts.
The ways in which energy is produced, managed and consumed in the 21st century in both the Global North and South are fundamentally changing. While oil, coal and gas have continued to dominate the global energy mix, new players have emerged challenging the status-quo. From large offshore wind parks in the UK to innovative, mobile phone-enabled off-grid solar PV solutions in Kenya; from a booming electric car market in China to high-voltage energy superhighways criss-crossing Germany; from energy storage projects in California to concentrated solar power plants in South Africa – the global energy transition means more renewably-produced energy, more distributed generation, technology leapfrogging, greater energy efficiency of both existing and new installations, and greater investment in new energy infrastructure.
Much of this transformative change has been driven by the urgent need to decarbonize energy systems and the global economy more widely, in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to a level consistent with a 2°C (1.5°C) stabilisation pathway. The consequences of increasing global average surface temperatures pose serious risks to ecosystems and physical infrastructure and challenge various actors to cope with extreme weather events, the destruction of habitats, water scarcity, migration, public health and conflict. The global task is therefore not only one of international diplomacy, but one that requires policy makers at all levels of political authority, corporations, businesses, NGOs and others to take the necessary steps to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The programme is delivered by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) in association with the FCO's Diplomatic Academy, using a combination of multi-disciplinary teaching, cutting-edge research and public discussion of diplomacy and international politics in a globalised world.
Who is this programme for?
The MSc is designed for those engaged with or planning a career in professional contexts relating to energy and/or climate policy and who wish to study in a flexible way. By studying online, students will also have the flexibility to integrate studies into working life without having to take a career break.
Phone: +44 (0)20 7898 4895
Students will study two core modules and a range of elective modules on offer each session. There are also four research mini modules.
- 2 x core modules (30 credits each)
- 2 x elective modules (30 credits each)
- 4 x research mini modules
- 1 x dissertation (60 credits)
Global Energy and Climate Policy
You will study the key themes and approaches in the study of global energy and climate policy as two closely interrelated global challenges. You will investigate international regime formation and diplomatic landscapes in the energy and climate change fields, analyse the geopolitical dimensions of energy supply and demand, and examine regulatory approaches to cutting greenhouse gases.
Global Public Policy
Gain an understanding of public policy making in a context of intensifying globalisation and transnational political contestation. You will undertake rigorous and critical analysis of policy and the complex processes by which it is formulated, adopted and implemented.
This is an opportunity for students to produce a sustained piece of individual, academic research on their chosen topic within the field of (global) energy and/or climate policy under the guidance of one of CISD’s expert academics.
Students are required to rank three modules in preferred order from the below sample list for each study session. All modules are subject to availability and this list is not exhaustive from session to session.
A range of additional modules specific to Global Energy and Climate Policy adapted from and added to current campus modules are in development. These include: Global Environmental Law and Governance, Green Finance and Investment, Energy Policy in the Asia-Pacific, and Energy Diplomacy and Geopolitics, subject to final administrative approval.
The Art of Negotiation
You will learn about the key concepts of diplomacy and the institutional development of diplomatic relations. You will also be introduced to the strategy and tactics of negotiation and its place in international relations between states.
America and the World: US Foreign Policy
You will examine the various approaches to the study and understanding of American foreign policy. Beginning with an introduction to relevant literature and influences, the module goes on to address US foreign policy-making process. Case-studies will be included, covering both the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. The module will culminate in an assessment of the nature, extent and likely development of American global power.
You will learn about the conditions in which diplomacy is stimulated and the nature of different diplomatic systems that arise as a result of variations in these conditions. You will also study historical and contemporary case studies from Byzantium to Ancient Greece and from the French system to a transatlantic system of diplomacy.
Finance, Sustainability and Climate Change
This module aims to introduce students to key themes in investment, the role of capital in changing historical investment paths to underpin a sustainable and low carbon economic framework and the development of climate finance. Those engaged in action on climate change require an understanding of finance in order to create effective global energy and climate policies, which can use finance and investment frameworks to change historical patterns of fossil-fuel dependent economic growth models.
Foundations of International Law
Foundations of International Law is an introductory module suitable for those who have not previously studied either law or international law. It aims to introduce students both to the 'building blocks' of international law and to basic legal research and writing skills. Students will also be encouraged to think critically about the rule and role of international law in international affairs.
Global Diplomacy: Global Citizenship and Advocacy
Develop an understanding of how to influence policy at an international level and how to affect policy changes to meet the aims of non-governmental and international organisations. You will look at how to achieve change at a global level, networking across national boundaries and on global issues.
Global International Organisation: United Nations in the World
Examine the context of the United Nations (UN) and the UN system within other International Organisations (IOs). You will examine the ways in which International Organisations came into being and how they evolved into the United Nations Organisation in 1945. Learn how the UN system has changed in recent years, and what the short and medium-term effect of these changes are likely to be with particular attention on peacekeeping, collective security, and human rights.
You will learn about the theory of international economics and become familiar with the practice of international economic relations through the study of current policy debates about the workings of the contemporary international economy.
Focusing on developments since the end of the Cold War, you will be given the analytical tools to think critically and independently about the nature of contemporary international security. You will consider a range of contemporary security issues including terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq War and the future of the Middle East, and the prospects for peace and security in the 21st century.
Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World
This module is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the nature and development of multinational corporations (MNC) and to view this as an evolving and changing process that has contemporary significance in international studies. MNCs control much of global trade and financial flows. The course will allow students to critically analyse the inter-relationships between MNC operations and their impact in international studies and diplomacy through the use of relevant theoretical and empirical literature.
Muslim Minorities in a Global Context
An insight into the diversity of Muslim minority communities at a time when political shifts in Muslim majority countries – such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and across the MENA region – have put Muslim minorities into the spotlight and impacted upon their relationship with host countries. You will trace the emergence and development of Muslim minorities in both Western and non-Western contexts, and examine how Muslims have forged new identities as they have negotiated their places within their host societies.
Sport and Diplomacy
Since the era of the ancient Olympic Games, sporting competition has assisted human societies in mediating estrangements, resolving conflict and sublimating competitive urges. You will analyse how sports and diplomacy interrelate and consider how international sporting institutions have functioned as non-state actors in diplomacy, from antiquity to the present day.
The area of strategic studies is increasingly relevant in light of conflicts in the past decade in Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. You will address a range of strategic influences such as power and force, asymmetric/irregular warfare, and the role of security providers such as NATO. The relationship between strategy and policy will be explored through a series of case studies including US involvement in Vietnam and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching and Learning
Teaching & Learning
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
This programme is taught 100% online through our VLE. In the VLE you will have access to learning materials and course resources anytime so you can fit your studies around your existing commitments. For each module, students will be provided with access, through both the SOAS Library and the University of London’s Online Library, to all necessary materials from a range of appropriate sources.
A key component of the student experience will be peer to peer learning, with students enrolled in discussion forums.
In addition to a dedicated Associate Tutor, a Study Timetable is provided for each module and for the overall programme to help you to organise your time.
The programme is broken down into two study sessions per year. Each subject module lasts 16 weeks, followed by a research mini module lasting 8 weeks.
Sample Study Timetable
|Substantive module||16 weeks|
|Reading weeks||2 weeks|
|Research mini module||8 weeks|
|Reading weeks||2 weeks|
Each module is assessed by five written online assessments (‘etivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 5,000 word essay.The etivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve.
* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)
Research training and Dissertation
Research training is a key feature of this programme, the dissertation module is presented in four development parts, which will follow each of your module sessions. Research modules one and three are formative modules only, and are not assessed.
The dissertation is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of no more than 15,000 words, excluding the bibliography and appendices, which will account for 85% of the mark awarded for the module (research module four). The remaining 15% of the module mark will be based on the mark obtained for a 1,500 word research proposal (research module two).
The research proposal is compulsory for students going on to do a PGDip or MA; MA students must submit a dissertation at the end of research module four.
Fees and funding
|£12,000||See below||See below|
PG Dip and PG Cert are available as exit awards and interested students should be in touch directly with the course team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note this is a new fee structure, students will continue their programme on the same fee structure throughout.
Pay as you Learn
Our distance learning programmes can be paid in full at the time of enrolment or on a pay as you learn basis. Pay as you learn means you pay for modules prior to enrolment (£3,000).
If you have been a resident in England for 3 years you may be eligible. For more information, please see Fees and Finance..
The degree prepares for a multitude of careers in public, private and non-profit contexts, including in public administration and government departments, the diplomatic service and international organisations, strategic policy and risk advisory, government relations and public affairs, policy advocacy, think tanks and academia.
Graduates of the MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy are now working for Abundance Investment, Platts, Intasave, Greenmax Capital, DFID, Grue & Hornstrup, Carbon Smart, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Sustainable Home Survey, S-RM, Fuel Poverty Action, UK Government Investments (UKGI), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN ESCAP and the World Bank.
We welcome applications from a wide variety of fields and backgrounds. It is not necessary to have a degree in a discipline directly related to global energy and climate policy.
Each application is assessed on its individual merits and entry requirements may be modified in light of relevant professional experience and where the applicant can demonstrate a sustained practical interest in the international field.
A Student's Perspective
I chose SOAS to pursue my postgraduate studies because of the school’s outstanding reputation globally, its Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy with its pertinent programme that combines theory and practical application, taught by a faculty with exceptional backgrounds.
How to Apply
You can apply using our online application form.
If you have any questions please use our online enquiry form.
The deadlines for applications are as follows:
- 30 September 2018 for a 16 October 2018 start
- 31 March 2019 for a 16 April 2019 start
Your completed application will be reviewed by a member of academic staff. If your application is successful, we will send you an official offer within ten working days and you will be asked to submit the relevant supporting documentation. Once in receipt of our offer, we recommend submitting your documents immediately.
Supporting documentation for applications
1. Degree certificates
We require documentation confirming the award of all qualifications listed in your application, which can either be your certificate or academic transcript. This must show: the name of the university, programme studied and the grade/classification you attained. If your university cannot issue official documents in English, we will require a certified translation in English of your degree certificate/transcript.
You can send us either original or certified copies of your documents. If you send original documents and you would like these to be returned to you, please state this in your covering letter.
If you send certified copies, please ensure that each document has been stamped and verified by one of the following:
- British Council official. (You can find the location of your nearest British Council office from www.britishcouncil.org)
- Local British Embassy, Consulate or High Commission
- Notary Public
- The issuing university (in the case of academic qualifications)
2. Copy of an identification document
This must be either your passport or birth certificate. This does not need to be certified, and may be sent to us via email.
Note: If your name as stated on your academic documents does not match that given on your identification document, we will also require documentary evidence (such as a marriage certificate) that supports your change of name.
3. Copy of English language proficiency certificate
If your degree was not taught and assessed in English, you will need to submit evidence of your English language competency. This should be either an IELTS or TOEFL certificate (you will need an IELTS overall score of 7.0 OR 7 in both reading and writing). This does not need to be certified and may be received via email.
We may also request that you provide us with references in support of your application. They should be from an individual who knows you on an academic basis. However, if you graduated more than three years ago we will accept a professional reference.
Your reference should include an opinion (in English) on your academic and personal suitability for the proposed programme of study.
Please note that, if necessary, we reserve the right to verify your qualifications with the relevant awarding body and to request further information from you about your background.
Send your supporting documents to the following address:
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG
Find out more
- By phone:
- +44 (0)20 7898 4895
- By email:
Got a question?
If you still have questions about this programme or studying at SOAS get in touch.
CISD distance learning applications should be made through our online application form.