Foundation College

Environment, Development and Changing World Views

Key information

3 weeks
Start of programme
Summer 2024
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings

Course overview

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 covers the following areas of study:

  • Sustainability
  • Human attitudes to Nature
  • Changing views of Development
  • The Impact and Outcomes of Globalisation
  • Alternatives to central government and market approaches
  • Attitudes to technological solutions
  • Changing Perspectives in Science and Religion

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.

Entry recommendations

Students should be at an intermediate level of English in order to follow and participate in classes. We do not require proof of English level, but as a guideline IELTS 5.5, TOEFL IBT 76 (or equivalent) are recommended.


Areas of study


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. Considering the possibility of degrowth.

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 outcomes of globalisation

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.

Case studies

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

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. 

However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. 

Teaching and learning

Subject courses with English support are taught by two teachers, a subject specialist and a language expert. The subject classes use lectures, seminars and cases studies, whereas the integrated language classes focus on skills development (especially speaking and listening) using the subject content.

This is a full-time course with classes every day plus additional time for independent research. Students work towards delivering a presentation at the end of the course. You can expect to strengthen language skills and deepen subject knowledge, whilst gaining greater confidence in communicating in English in an academic setting.

All teaching takes place on campus with additional class excursions to places of interest in London. The maximum number of students per class is 20.

Students will have access to SOAS library including our wide range of e-books and e-journals. You will receive a certificate for successful course completion. 

Fees and funding


  • 3 weeks (1 block): £2,200
  • 6 weeks (2 blocks): £3,960 (save £440*)
  • 9 weeks (3 blocks): £5,940 (save £600*)

*Compared to the cost of multiple individual blocks. The reduced fees for multiple blocks above are available for 2 or 3 blocks booked at the same time.


For information, please visit Scholarships.