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MSc Environmental Governance / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

MSc Environmental Governance addresses some of the key environmental challenges of our time, exploring the connections between environmental governance and policies and the production, distribution and consumption of resources.

It will develop your ability to apply sophisticated, critical and interdisciplinary sustainability and environmental theories at multiple scales and in different geographical contexts.

As part of the course, you'll have the unique opportunity to collaborate and engage with cutting-edge researchers and world-leading experts on environmental governance, political ecology, Marxist political economy and urban sustainability. You will learn from real-world practitioners and liaise with external organisations on live policy problems.

The course is ideal for pursuing a career in environmental regulation and management, those wishing to conduct further research on these topics, and environmental professionals wishing to deepen their knowledge.

Manchester is the ideal place to study Geography. The world's first industrial city, now a vibrant twenty-first century metropolis set between three National Parks, Manchester and its environment are an important resource for field teaching throughout your course.


  • Learn from real-world practitioners and liaise with external organisations on live policy problems.
  • Consider approaches to regulating human use of the non-human world, from market-based to non-market approaches.
  • Tackle environmental resource questions using case studies from the 'first', 'second' and 'third' worlds.
  • Study different social spheres of environmental governance - production, distribution and consumption.
  • Benefit from a highly interdisciplinary course, exposing you to ideas and practices developed in a range of subject areas.

Special features

  • Geography has been studied at Manchester for more than 125 years, and we're one of Europe's best-equipped universities for the subject. 
  • We're home to world-class academics and the new Manchester Urban Institute (MUI). 
  • Join the  Manchester University Geographical Society (MUGS)  a society run by Geography students for Geography students.

Teaching and learning

Eight taught units comprise two-thirds of the course. The remainder of the programme consists of a 12,000-word dissertation on an approved topic.

Typical course units comprise two hours a week of seminar or small-group work.

Part-time students complete the course over 24 months. There are no evening or weekend course units available; you should, therefore, discuss course requirements with the Programme Director. Timetabling information is usually available from late August. You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Important notice

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) recognises the value of fieldwork. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our priority. The School will assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any significant changes to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

The ability of fieldwork and travel to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork and travel might be necessary, will remain subject to factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover;
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

All fieldwork and travel will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.In some circumstances, it may become necessary to make changes to fieldwork or programme related travel. The University will notify you of those changes at the earliest opportunity. If any fieldwork does not go ahead as planned, then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

Please note that Countries may change their immigration and visa regulations at short notice. The School cannot guarantee that where visas are required for fieldwork, they will be granted but we will take steps so that if a visa is refused, affected students are not academically disadvantaged.  

Coursework and assessment

Course units involve a range of formative and summative assessments, including individual and group work, oral presentations, long essays, project work and reports. Coursework is designed to allow you to pursue your particular areas of interest. 

In the summer semester, you work independently to undertake dissertation work based on primary and/or secondary data, or else a more philosophical/theoretical dissertation.

We encourage you develop research in collaboration with members of the Society and Environment Research Group (SERG) and external organisations.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Doing Environmental Research GEOG70472 15 Mandatory
Metabolic Manchester GEOG70481 15 Mandatory
Issues in Environmental Policy GEOG70912 15 Mandatory
Key Debates in Environmental Governance GEOG70921 15 Mandatory
Dissertation (Environmental Governance) GEOG70930 60 Mandatory
Political Ecologies GEOG70952 15 Mandatory
Economics of Environmental Policy ECON60782 15 Optional
Wildlife in the Anthropocene GEOG60701 15 Optional
Environmental Governance and Geographies of Outer Space GEOG60982 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure: Performance, Evaluation and Monitoring GEOG64011 15 Optional
Energy and the City GEOG70201 15 Optional
Climate Change Knowledge Politics GEOG70492 15 Optional
Applied Study Unit GEOG70560 15 Optional
Fundamentals of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) applied to Environmental Monitoring GEOG70632 15 Optional
Climate Emergency, Technology and Society GEOG70931 15 Optional
Sustainable Urban Mobilities GEOG70971 15 Optional
Understanding GIS GEOG71551 15 Optional
Global Political Economy MGDI60072 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Climate, Environment and Development MGDI60552 15 Optional
Key Issues in Environment and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN60771 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities PLAN60852 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure: Principles, Policies and Practice 1 PLAN64001 15 Optional
Public Policy (in)to Practice POLI70272 15 Optional
Critical Environmental Politics POLI70921 15 Optional
The Politics of Global Climate Change POLI71141 15 Optional
Protest and Progress: Understanding Movements for Social and Political Change SOCY60142 15 Optional
Survey Research Methods SOST60421 15 Optional
Critical Issues in Urban Studies URBN70001 15 Optional
Global Urban Futures URBN70032 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 31 course units


We are one of Europe's best-equipped universities for geography, with numerous laboratories. These include the main teaching laboratory, microscopy laboratory, and sediments and project laboratories.

You can also learn professional skills such as coding and programming specialist, industry-standard software such as image processing, GIS, GPS and cartographic representation.

The University's Main Library is home to the University Map Collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world.

For more information visit our  Facilities webpage .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email dass@manchester.ac.uk