School of Earth and Environment

Environment and Development MSc

(Full time / Part time) 2018 start

African farmer with cattle


Key facts

  • Start date:
    September 2018
  • Duration/Mode:
    12 months full time
    24 months part time
  • UK/EU fees: £8,500 (total)
    International fees: £19,500 (total)
  • Entry requirements:
    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related subject
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
  • Course terms and conditions

Sustainable economic development and environmental management are two key challenges facing the world today.

You will be provided with high-quality interdisciplinary training to help you understand the many perspectives on these issues. This Masters is led by the Sustainability Research Institute and brings together a wide range of academic expertise from the School of Earth and Environment, the School of Politics and International Studies, and from the practitioner community.

Investigate the issues associated with achieving development that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and contribute towards achieving solutions in this topical, fast-growing field.

And gain the knowledge, skills and practical experience, employers require to focus on the issues where the need for sustainable economic development and environmental conservation meet.

The course is ideal if you would like to develop or continue a career in environment and/or development practice, policy, training or research, and/or if you are thinking of working in an international capacity. The Masters will prepare 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.

You may also be interested in our Environment and Development with Integrated Fieldwork MSc.

Alumni Profile

"This MSc offered critical perspectives on a wide range of both environment and development issues and offered a truly global perspective."

Kate Massarella, MSc Environment and Development

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Alumni Profile

"When searching for a course I focused on finding the one with the largest, most inter-disciplinary environmental/energy departments. Leeds was my first choice in this regard."

David Christopherson, MSc Environment and Development

Read More

Course highlights:

  • You have a large degree of flexibility – choose the modules you take and develop your degree in line with your interests and ambitions.
  • Carry out a wide range of fieldwork, from a free field course to East Yorkshire, to an overseas trip to Tanzania.
  • Learn from experts in the field – our teaching draws on specialist knowledge from practitioner and research communities covering both the natural and social sciences.
  • Attend the 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, which develops your on-the-ground understanding of how the tools and skills you learn in lectures can be applied.

  • In the first semester, you'll visit East Yorkshire for 2 days. 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.
  • Choose to carry-out fieldwork as part of your final dissertation.

Programme Team

You will be taught by a world-leading team of researchers covering the social sciences, economics, development studies, environmental management and conservation and the natural sciences from within the School of Earth and Environment and the School of Politics and International Studies.

The programme manager, Dr Monica Di Gregorio, is an environment and development expert working on natural resource governance in the Global South, with a particular focus on climate change policy responses and land-use in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

She applies and integrates qualitative and quantitative methods to undertake research spanning from case study to multi-country comparative analysis of policy and governance processes.

Other academics who teach on the course are members of the Priestley Centre for Climate, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Choice Modelling Centre, Centre for Global Development, Sustainable Cities Group and Water@Leeds.

Instructors are also active in national and international research and policy fora, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the The Economics of Land Degradation.

Course terms and conditions

Course content

When completed on a full-time basis, this 12 month Masters is split into 3 semesters. In the first 2 semesters you will take lectures and seminars, followed by approximately 4 months of individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in late August

When completed on a part-time basis, the course runs for 24 months, with each year split into 3 semesters. You will take 2 modules in each semester, followed by individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in semester 3 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.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methods 15 credits
  • Research Project 60 credits
  • Introduction to Sustainability 15 credits
  • Environmental Policy and Governance 15 credits
  • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development 15 credits

Optional modules

  • GIS and Environment 15 credits
  • Global Inequalities and Development 30 credits
  • International Relations and the Environment 30 credits
  • Development Management Techniques 15 credits
  • Business, Environment and Sustainability 15 credits
  • Introduction to Ecological Economics 15 credits
  • Environmental Economics and Policy 15 credits
  • Delivering Sustainability Through Projects 15 credits
  • Environment & Development International Field Course 30 credits
  • Climate Change: Physical Science Basis 15 credits
  • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation 15 credits
  • Climate Change Mitigation 15 credits
  • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics 15 credits
  • Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System 15 credits

Learning and teaching

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods to help you develop both generic and subject-specific skills.

This includes lectures, practical workshops, field trips (UK and overseas), computer lab sessions, research seminars and project work (individual and groupwork).

Practical exercises focus around real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions including familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes that companies and public sector organisations operate within.

The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that course material is both up-to-date and research led.

You'll also learn 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.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23m building gives you access to world-class research, teaching and facilities.


You will be assessed through a variety of ways including both written and oral assignments and exams.

Alumni Profile

"The interdisciplinary aspect meant I could combine my interest in international development and sustainability with my background in social sciences. I also appreciated the variety of modules offered."

Alice O'Rouke, MSc Environment and Development

Read More

Entry requirements

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

If you are a mature applicant without a first degree or with a lower degree classification, you may be considered on the basis of your relevant industry, consultancy or policy experience and your potential for benefiting from the course.

International qualifications

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.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

If you need to study for longer than 10 weeks, read more about our postgraduate pre-sessional English course.

How to apply

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read School of Earth and Environment advice on how to apply.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Environment Postgraduate Admissions Policy 2018

Visas and Immigration

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.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £8,500 (total)
International fees: £19,500 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

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 course 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.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

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 may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

School Scholarships

The School of Earth and Environment offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students.

Find out more about our School scholarships.

Note, 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, you are looking 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. Find out more at the Careers website.

Industry links

We have successful and productive links with many partners with different perspectives on sustainability, environment and development.

You will come in contact with our network of partners throughout the course. For example, during the field courses in East Yorkshire and Tanzania there are opportunities to network with organisations such as the Tanzanian National Institute of Medical Research, East Usambara Tea Company, WWF-Tanzania, The Wildlife Trusts and Associated British Ports.

In addition, staff members in the Sustainability Research Institute, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Studies and the School of Politics and International Studies maintain their own network of contacts and your dissertation project provides you with an opportunity to build on these links.

We will also support and encourage you to develop your own links so that you can collaborate with institutions that might be beneficial for your future career progression.

In the past, students have worked with companies, UK-based charities, international development organisations, government departments and universities.

Industry support for your dissertation

To help you set-up your research dissertation, supervisors have excellent collaborative links with sustainability, environment and development organisations across the UK and internationally.

Recent students have worked with Brunei National Energy Research Institute, ASDA (foodwaste), Tullow Oil Company and The International Rice Research Institute. While other students have teamed up with ongoing research projects.

“My dissertation gave me a fascinating opportunity to work as part of an ongoing research project whilst also carrying out my own independent research on a relevant topic of personal interest. The opportunity to work with a PhD student and interact with staff working in similar research was invaluable. The cutting edge research they were conducting provided me with the knowledge to improve my own work and gave me real insight into the research process.”

Mark Ferguson, graduate

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