MSc Environment and Development

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

Program Description

MSc Environment and Development

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

You will be provided with high-quality interdisciplinary training, you and prospective employers need to focus on the issues where the need for sustainable economic development and environmental conservation meet.

To help you understand the many perspectives on these issues, this masters is led by the Sustainability Research Institute, bringing together academic expertise from the School of Earth and Environment, the School of Politics and International Studies, and from the practitioner community,

Sustainable economic development and environmental management are two key challenges facing the world today. This course enables you to investigate the challenges associated with achieving development that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. You will gain the knowledge, skills and practical experience which enable you to contribute towards achieving solutions in this topical field.

The course is ideal if you would like to develop or continue a career in environment and/or development practice, policy, training or research. Preparing you for work in both the public and private sectors, and within local, national and international institutions. Alternatively, you could pursue a research career or go on to a PhD.

Course highlights:

  • You have a large degree of flexibility – meaning you can choose the modules you take, enabling you to develop your degree in line with your interests and ambitions.
  • Gain both theoretical and practical experience – our teaching draws on specialist knowledge from practitioner and research communities covering both the natural and social sciences.
  • Carry out a wide range of fieldwork, from a FREE field course to East Yorkshire, to a further afield trip to Tanzania.
  • Attend excellent research seminar series run by the School of Earth and Environment, School of Politics and International Studies, plus those organised in Leeds’ Biology and Geography departments.


Fieldwork forms an integral part of the course. You will have three opportunities to get ‘out in the field’, which develops an on-the-ground understanding of how the tools and skills you learn in lectures can be applied.

  • In the first semester, take a FREE two day field course to East Yorkshire. Learn about issues affecting sustainable economic development and environmental management in a developed world context.
  • In the second semester, you have preferential access (at an additional cost) to the long-established field course in Tanzania. Gain first-hand practical experience and apply classroom-based learning in a developing country context. Ideal if you are considering working in an international capacity in this field.
  • Choose to carry-out fieldwork as part of your final dissertation.

Course content

When completed on a full-time basis, this 12 month Masters is split into three semesters. In the first two semesters you will take lectures and seminars, followed by approximately four months of individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in late August

When completed on a part-time basis, the programme runs for 24 months, with each year split into three semesters. You will take two modules in each semester, followed by individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in semester three of your final year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

You’ll study modules totalling 180 credits, including the compulsory modules below and up to four optional modules. Each module is worth 15 credits unless otherwise stated:

  • Compulsory modules
    • Introduction to Sustainability
    • Environmental Policy and Governance
    • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development
    • Research Methods
    • Research Project (60 credits)
  • Optional modules
    • Global Inequalities and Development - Parts 1 and 2 (30 credits)
    • Business, Environment and Sustainability
    • Introduction to Ecological and Environmental Economics
    • Climate Change: Physical Science Basis
    • Environment-Development Overseas Field Course – read additional costs
    • International Relations and the Environment (30 credits)
    • Standards and Tools for Business, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation
    • Climate Change Mitigation
    • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics
    • Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System

Learning and teaching

We deliver a variety of teaching methods, as well as conventional lectures, so you can develop both generic and subject-specific skills. This includes team work and individual practical exercises focused around real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions. And it includes familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes within which companies and public sector organisations operate.

The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that course material is both up-to-date and research led. We aim to teach the scientific and rational principles lying behind the practical approaches used in the world outside academia, so that your skills keep pace with changes in technology or the regulatory environment.

A range of learning and teaching methods are used including lectures, practical workshops, field trips (UK and overseas), computer lab sessions, research seminars and project work.

You also have access to the excellent research seminar series run by the Schools of Earth and Environment, Politics and International Studies plus those organised in Leeds’ Biology and Geography departments.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23 million building provides world class research, teaching and facilities.


To complement teaching, assessment is varied and includes both written and oral assignments and exams.

Applying, fees and funding

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in a natural, environmental, physical, management or social science subject.

Mature applicants without a first degree or with a lower degree classification may be considered on the basis of their relevant industry, consultancy or policy experience and their potential for benefiting from the programme.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.


UK/EU: £7,000

International: £16,000

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

On this programme you have the option to attend an overseas field trip in Semester 2, at an additional cost of £1,200-1,500 (dependent on exchange rates, cost of flights and student demand). This is paid in two instalments across semesters 1 and 2. A £100 deposit is required when enrolling onto the module in October.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

School Scholarships

Four full-fee scholarships are available to UK/EU applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Two full-fee scholarships are available to International applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Sunday 1st May 2016.

If you do choose to carry out your dissertation overseas, your supervisor can advise as to where you might be able to source funding to cover your work. For instance, the University runs a competitive grant programme under the Sustainable Agriculture Bursary Fund which can cover up to £1500 of field expenses for work carried out anywhere in the world.

Other funding sources

Past students have secured funding through a career development loan, for details visit UK Government website.

Career opportunities

This course is ideal if you want to continue your undergraduate studies, look for a career change, or, if you are looking to increase your skill set to progress in your career (amongst many others reasons).

We typically find that graduates assume, or continue careers, in sustainability, environmental management or development practice. Our alumni work in the research, public and private sectors and within local, national and international institutions.

Possible career paths you can take:

  • Consultancy and project management
  • Development planning
  • Environmental management
  • Policy development
  • Research and advisory services
  • Stakeholder management and engagement
  • Studying for a PhD
  • Sustainability assessment and strategy development.

Where our alumni work:

  • Atkins Global
  • Build Change (Indonesia)
  • Centre for Science and Environment (India)
  • Climate Change Third World Network
  • Down to Earth (Indonesia)
  • Environment Agency
  • GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit)
  • Haringey Council, London
  • Natural England
  • Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Ovo Energy
  • Sustrans
  • UNDP
  • United Nations University.

Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals. The School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 29, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
7,000 GBP
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Leeds, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
UK / EU £7,000, International £16,000