This programme combines environmental concerns with development economics and political economy. It draws on the specific strengths of SOAS, namely expertise in development economics, multi-disciplinary environmental focus, and area specialisations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The MSc in Economics and Environment provides a unique specialisation in one of the most rapidly developing areas of economics. The effects of development on the environment and access to resources is one of the most challenging fields that has grown over the past decades and is now one of the key areas of study. At SOAS, we understand the environment in a broad sense and the scope of courses offered includes various areas such as natural resources, agriculture, economic development, finance, and regionally - specialised courses.
All students are required to complete the compulsory preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics (including Computing) to begin studying on this programme. This course is taught over a three week period from the beginning of September covering mathematics, statistics and computing. For further information about this course including a timetable please see here: Preliminary maths and Statistics Course
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Q&A video with Risa Morimoto, convenor of the MSc Economics and Environment
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Economics. Applicants without a first degree in Economics may be admitted to the Diploma in Economics in the fi rst instance. Satisfactory completion of the Diploma, at a level acceptable to the School, may allow students to take the MSc in the following year. For details see www.soas.ac.uk/economics All students must complete and pass the Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics course which is taught over three weeks in August/September before the start of the MSc
- One calendar year (full-time) Two or Three years (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 ccourse of study.
Ngao Mubanga graduated in MSc Economics with reference to Environment and Development (now renamed MSc Economics and Environment) in 2015. She now works as an Economist for the World Bank in Zambia.
“I really enjoyed the broad range of modules within my course, which have enriched my perspective of different areas in my field. The interactive and practical elements of the lectures stimulate a broad evaluation of the issues beyond the headlines, which has helped develop my communication and critical thinking skills.”
Why did you choose to study in the UK?
My desire to study in the UK was driven by a strong yearning to learn varying perspectives and interact with well-respected and established scholars and academics.
Why did you want to study a postgraduate course?
I always wanted to advance my education with a Master’s degree. The MSc in Economics with reference to Environment and Development has enabled me to better understand linkages between environment, poverty and population, as well as the importance of natural resources in economic growth.
Why did you choose SOAS and your course?
I specifically chose SOAS for its diversity in both students and academic staff. The programme offered by SOAS provides a unique specialisation in one of the most rapidly developing areas of environmental economics with a focus on climate change, making it distinct to other degree programmes offered in other universities. This perfectly suited me for my career in development.
How important was the School’s reputation in helping you decide to come here?
The School’s international reputation for academic excellence and its cosmopolitan community of students was a motivating factor for me to decide to study at SOAS.
What did you most enjoy about your course?
What I enjoyed most in the course was that the modules offered a rich exploration of the historical context of different countries’ economic policy, and allowed a rich exploration of the south-south knowledge exchange. SOAS is a place that inspires and challenge you to think more broadly, to pick up a newspaper and see past the headlines, to actually care about the world around you, and not be scared to talk about it.
What did you like most about studying in London?
London is a fluid community where nobody would think to distinguish a student from anyone else. I felt at home except for the ‘terrible’ weather compared to my sunny and warm country Zambia!
What are you doing now?
After my Master’s, I returned to Zambia and, within my first month back home, I got an opportunity to join the World Bank in Zambia as a consultant on a BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL) project. I have since been working for the World Bank as a consultant for the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice in Zambia. The skills and technical knowledge I acquired from my Master’s degree gave me a great head start in this role and I have relied on that experience in my work.
How did your time at SOAS help your career development?
I really enjoyed my time at SOAS and gaining my Master’s in Economics with reference to Environment and Development has enriched my knowledge in environmental and development economics. It provided me the exposure to modules in economic policy, theory and history of not only African economies but also the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. With this I have joined a group of development practitioners that provide solutions for development with a rich respect and understanding of the historical and social-economic context prevailing in the respective countries.
The MSc Economics and Environment is taught within a structured programme rather than being obtained mainly by research and dissertation. It consists of 120 taught credits delivered through lectures, classes, and tutorials and a 10,000-word dissertation (60 credits) as outlined below.
The degree is awarded on the basis of coursework, examinations written in May/June, and a dissertation which is submitted in September.The following is a complete list of modules in the programme, not all of which are offered in any single year. Please note that some modules may be taught in other departments of the School.
Students with strong econometrics background may follow an alternative combination of quantitative modules allowing them to take both Advanced Econometrics A and Advanced Econometrics B without having to complete Econometrics first. Students who wish to apply for this alternative quantitative structure must contact the convenor of Econometrics prior to taking the Preliminary examination. Applicants will undertake an assessment during the Welcome Week based on examination papers of previous years' Econometrics teaching.
All students will take the following four core modules:
All students will take either Advanced Econometrics A or Advanced Econometrics B.
All students will take modules to the value of 45 credits from the list of options (below).
Taught Component for students with a strong background in Econometrics
For students with a strong background in Econometrics, the following alternative combination of modules is available; this allows them to take both Advanced Econometrics A and Advanced Econometrics B without having to complete Econometrics first:
All students will take the following five core modules:
All students will take modules to the value of 45 credits from the list of options (below).
List of Modules (subject to availability)
Note: Advanced Econometrics A / Advanced Econometrics B can only be chosen as an option if is has not already been taken as a core module.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching and Learning
Teaching & Learning
The MSc includes eight taught modules plus a preliminary course in Mathematics and Statistics and an 10,000-word dissertation.
The courses are taught in seminar groups and lectures. The degrees are awarded on the basis of assessed coursework, examinations and the dissertation.
The MSc degrees are taught over a period of twelve months of full-time study within a structured programme. In the case of part-time study, the degrees will be taught over two or three years. Four modules are studied each year, with the dissertation normally being completed in the second year.
All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. In the Department of Economics, most postgraduate modules have a two hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
Most modules involve a 2-hour lecture as a key component with linked seminar or tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
Students are required to complete an 10,000-word dissertation in applied economics.
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 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Preliminary Mathematics and Statistics Course
Our MSc programmes attract students with a wide range of backgrounds including many who have worked for a few years before coming to SOAS. Our popular econometrics courses are designed to be accessible to all of our students including those with a relatively small quantitative component in their first degree. Our well-received econometrics courses focus on applying basic methods used in empirical research. They equip students to carry out their own high quality empirical work and critically evaluate research, with relatively little emphasis on advanced econometric theory and mathematical proofs.
Our econometrics teaching begins with a three-week preliminary course in mathematics, statistics and computing. The objective of the course is to review the basic quantitative skills assumed once formal teaching commences. This course is compulsory.
A postgraduate degree in Economics and Environment from SOAS equips students with a range of important skills to continue in the field of research as well as a portfolio of widely transferable employability skills valued by a wide range of employers. These include numeracy, analytical thinking and general skills such as organisation and effective communication skills. Graduates of this programme will develop a specialised understanding of the environmental and development concerns. In addition the study of Economics gives students particular problem solving skills including: abstraction, analysis, quantification, strategic thinking and adaptability.
Postgraduate students from the SOAS MSc in Economics and Environment have followed successful careers in both academic work and also in international banking and financial analysis, in
national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-government organisations. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a
body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Graduates of Masters programmes in the Department of Economics at SOAS have followed successful careers in international banking and finance, in national governments in many parts of the world, in international development agencies and in a range of non-governmental organisations. Graduates have been very successful in gaining highly competitive Overseas Development Institute (ODI) fellowships which have allowed them to work in government agencies in countries ranging from Mozambique to Papua New Guinea.
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.
A Student's Perspective
Tamara Bah, American University, Washington
Before I came to SOAS, I knew that my grade would depend on either one or two large assignments and I was apprehensive about that—almost scared, however I am glad as I got to learn a lot about myself as a student. I became more independent academically and got to see what I can really accomplished without teachers “coddling” me along the way. Extremely refreshing!