SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Environment, Development and Changing World Views

Academic Subject Summer Course

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • How to Apply


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Who is this programme for?:

The Environment, Development and Changing World Views course is for students who are interested in some of the major issues and concerns in development theory and policy in relation to the environment. It also explores whether the possibility of changing values in ‘post-materialist’ societies may lead to a serious re-evaluation of prevailing world views and ideologies. The course is delivered through a series of lectures, case studies, seminars and discussion classes.

Areas of study will include:

• Sustainability
• Human attitudes to Nature:
• Changing views of Development:
• Globalization:
• Alternatives to central government and market approaches
• Hope and pessimism in technological solutions

The English language classes are integrated with the course topics, thus giving students the opportunity to extend their understanding of environmental and developmental issues. Particular emphasis is placed on developing students’ speaking and discussion skills. Students will be required to prepare and present a project on an environment and development issue at the end of the course.

Click on the Structure tab for more details and to see what structure the lectures will follow.


English language recommendations for students choosing subject courses: Students will need at least an intermediate level of English in order to understand the lectures, which are delivered at undergraduate level, and to engage in lively discussion in the seminars and tutorials. See our brochure for further details of appropriate language test scores. 


Areas of Study will include:

Facing the crises of sustainability and values. Evaluating the suitability of mainstream  economic models in a world of 7 billion people, but diminishing resources and life-support systems.

Human attitudes to Nature:
An examination of prevailing scientific, ideological and cross-cultural religious views as well as newer ideas such as deep ecology and bio-regionalism.

Changing views of Development:
Assessing different views of what constitutes  a 'developed' society as well as the concept of 'sustainable development'.

The economic, social and environmental impacts of an interconnected world in different societies, including indigenous ones.

Alternatives to central government and market approaches:
Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Civil Society, NGOs and Social Entrepreneurship (e.g. micro-credit schemes).

Hope and pessimism:
Perspectives on the near future and the possibility of changing values and finding safe and sustainable technological solutions on a global scale.

Accompanying case studies will focus on the USA, Ladakh and Alternative Visions (post-development and post-materialism) to highlight the issues raised.



How to Apply



(31st March 2020): Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we are unable to run the Summer Programme in 2020 and it is, unfortunately, cancelled. The information below is for reference only and we expect to provide details of the programme for 2021 from October onwards.


2020 Course Fees
  • 3 weeks (1 block): £1,500 GBP
  • 6 weeks (2 blocks): £2,900 GBP (save £100*)
  • 9 weeks (3 blocks): £4,000 GBP (save £500*)

*compared to the cost of a 3-week block

Accommodation Fees
  • per 3-week block: £790 GBP

We recommend you apply early, especially if you want accommodation in the SOAS Halls of Residence.

You will be sent an invoice and receipt for the course fees when you have accepted the offer and paid for your place on the course. A letter of registration will also be provided for visa purposes when you have paid the full fees. Refunds of accommodation and course fees are only made at the discretion of SOAS in exceptional circumstances.

If you have any queries, please email



Please fill in the online application form or print off the IFCELS Summer Programme 2020 Application Form (pdf; 147kb)   and post it to:

Head of Department, International Foundation Courses & English Language Studies (IFCELS)
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

Please ensure you send a scanned copy of the photo/issue page of your passport with the application.

Summer Pathway Preparation Course PCI 2020 (pdf; 163kb)