Climate Change and Development (30 credits)

Key information

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy

Module overview

Climate Change and Development

Credits: 30 credits

Climate Change and Development is a core module for the MSc Climate Change and Development.

This module provides a foundational overview of the inter-relationships and challenges facing climate change and global development. It provides a grounding in the science of climate change and different theories and models of development before critically analysing the potential for low carbon and climate resilient development pathways in the future. It introduces students a wide range of climate-related financing, policy and programming mechanisms, across a range of scales including the international UNFCCC agreements, governments, businesses, communities and individuals. Providing a multi-disciplinary approach across physical sciences, economics, political and social science, the module aims to provide students with skills to understand and critically review the central global development challenge of tackling climate change.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:

1. Detail and assess critically the relationships between climate change and development, in particular the major impacts of climate change on development and of development on climate change.
2. Review critically processes and factors affecting the potential impacts and effectiveness of different policy responses to climate change, particularly with regard to their impacts on development.
3. Develop independently their understanding with regard to specific issues in which they have particular interests.
4. Apply this understanding to policy analysis, design and implementation tasks.
5. Update and develop their critical understanding of climate change and development as climate science understanding, climate change, policies and related social conditions change, and maintain this understanding through knowledge and critical appreciation of key data and other information sources.


We recommend students dedicate 10-15 hours of study time per week. Teaching is provided through the SOAS virtual learning environment (VLE) and consists of 14 weekly taught units. Each unit is supported by expert tutors and a convenor, combining short-form lecture materials, online exercises, guided reading and peer-to-peer learning, and online discussion.

Scope and syllabus

The module comprises 14 units covering aspects of linking climate and development, climate science and impacts, mitigation and low carbon development, climate adaptation and climate resilient development, international and national climate policy, financing, climate justice, knowledges and decolonisation, radical change and transformation, and a range of sectoral responses.


This module is available to study in both sessions starting in April and October each year.

Method of assessment

This module is assessed through a series of “e-tivities” through the course of the 16 week module:

1. Weekly online discussion and personal Learning Journal (10% of total mark)
2. Library information retrieval
3. Critical commentary and peer review (5% of total mark)
4. Examined Assignment proposal (20% of total mark)
5. Analytical exercise (Blog) (5% of total mark)
6. Examined Assignment (essay, policy brief or presentation) (60% of total mark)

Suggested reading

Tanner, T. & Horn-Phathanothai, L. (2014) Climate Change and Development . Oxon, Routledge.

This book provides an excellent overview of development issues in a changing climate, written in an accessible style designed to bring readers up to speed with the main debates and challenges.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules