MSc Environment, Politics and Development

SOAS University of London

Program Description

MSc Environment, Politics and Development

SOAS University of London

MSc Environment, Politics and Development

Programme Code: PGTF0039/PGTP0059/PGTP0060

Duration: One calendar year (full-time) Two (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 course of study.

Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Relevant work experience may also be considered.

Subjects Preferred: Social Science

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Who is this programme for?

The programme attracts applications from students with a variety of academic and experiential backgrounds. We welcome applications from those who have worked in a broad field of development, but also from students without relevant work experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in, and understanding of, environment-development issues. A good first degree in a social science is preferred.

This programme takes a critical political ecology frame and examines environmental policy and its intersections with development from a social justice angle. It is taught and convened by leading political ecologists and offers a critical analysis of key issues including water, forestry, climate, fisheries, agricultural production, biodiversity, conflicts and energy supply.

The master asks important questions including:

  • How does the environment intersect with global poverty, wealth and questions of inequality?
  • Can Carbon trading offer a solution to managing climate change?
  • How does access to water intersect with dynamics of wealth and poverty?
  • Is wildlife conservation implicated in social injustices?
  • What role can and do environmental movements play in development?
  • Is there a link between environmental change and violent conflict?
  • What is the political ecology of forests?

The MSc programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills has been of great benefit to the many graduates who have returned to or taken up, professional careers in development in international organisations, government agencies and non-government organisations. Students also benefit from the wide range of modules on offer, both within the Department and across the School, allowing them to create individualised interdisciplinary programmes.


Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation.

All students take core modules, ‘Political Ecology of Development’ and a ‘Dissertation in Development Studies’. They then choose EITHER ‘Political Economy of Development’ OR ‘Theory, Policy and Practice of Development’ OR ‘Political Economy of Violence, Conflict & Development’ OR ‘Law and Natural Resources’. Through these modules, students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies.


Students also take option modules, allowing them to specialise in particular areas of environment, politics and development and possibly using them to develop a dissertation on a related theme. By tying optional modules to their individual dissertation topic, students tailor their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.

Please note that not all option modules may run every year. Modules at other institutions (intercollegiate) are not part of the approved programme structure.

Part-time Study

Students can take this programme part-time over 2 or 3 years. Students usually complete their core modules in Year 1 and their option modules and dissertation in subsequent years.

Core Modules

Students take the following TWO core modules:

  • Political Ecology of Development 15PDSC009 (30credits) Full Year
  • Dissertation in Development Studies 15PDSC999 (60credits) Full Year

Optional Core Modules

Students then choose ONE of the following modules:

  • Political Economy of Development 15PDSC002 (30credits) Full Year
  • Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 (30credits) Full Year
  • Political economy of violence, conflict and development 15PDSC003 (30credits) Full Year
  • Law and Natural Resources 15PLAC126 (30credits) Full Year

Option Modules

Students choose modules to the value of 30 credits from List 1 and 30 credits from List 2 below:-

(1) Option Modules in the Department of Development Studies

  • Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Poverty 15PDSH026 (15 credits) Term 1
  • Aid and Development 15PDSH027 (15 credits) Term 1
  • Battlefields of Method: Approaches to International Development Research 15PDSC008 (30credits) Full Year
  • Borders and Development 15PDSH023 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Civil society, social movements and the development process 15PDSH001 (15 credits) Term 1
  • Development Practice 15PDSH013 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Environment, Governance and Development 15PDSH050 (15 credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Extractive Industries, Energy, Biofuels and Development in a Time of Climate Change 15PDSH048 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Famine and food security 15PDSH022 (15 credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Fundamentals of research methods for Development Studies 15PDSH017 (15 credits) Term 1
  • Gender and Development 15PDSH010 (15 credits) Term 1
  • Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work 15PDSH024 (15 credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Global Health and Development 15PDSH051 (15 credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Issues in Forced Migration 15PDSH015 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Marxist Political Economy and Global Development 15PDSH053 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Migration and Policy 15PDSH029 (15 credits) Term 1 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice 15PDSH031 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development 15PDSH054 (15 credits) Term 1
  • Problems of Development in the Middle East and North Africa 15PDSH019 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Security 15PDSH020 (15 credits) Term 1
  • The Working Poor and Development 15PDSH030 (15 credits) Term 2
  • Understanding Economic Migration: Theories, Patterns and Policies 15PDSH032 (15 credits) Term 2 Not Running 2017/2018
  • Water and Development: Conflict and Governance 15PDSH049 (15 credits) Term 2
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated July 18, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
11,545 GBP
Full-time UK/EU Fees: £11,545; Full-time Overseas Fees: £19,730 per academic year
Contact school
for programmes beginning in September
United Kingdom - London, England
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Contact school
for programmes beginning in September
End date Sept. 1, 2019
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - London, England
Application deadline Contact school
for programmes beginning in September
End date Sept. 1, 2019