MSc Environmental Governance / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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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). 
  • 90% of our Geography research is rated as 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' in terms of impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014). 
  • 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 and seek approval from your employer. Timetabling information is usually available from late August. You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Coursework and assessment

Course units involve a range of formative and summative assessments, including individual and group work, oral presentations and 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
Issues in Environmental Policy GEOG70911 15 Mandatory
Key Debates in Environmental Governance GEOG70921 15 Mandatory
Political Ecologies GEOG70952 15 Mandatory
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
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
Nature, Society & Social Power GEOG71212 15 Optional
Global Political Economy MGDI60072 15 Optional
Gender Inequality: Theory and Evidence MGDI60202 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Critical Issues in Urban Inequality MGDI60531 15 Optional
Climate Change, Disasters and Responses MGDI60552 15 Optional
Environment, Climate Change and Development MGDI60801 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN60771 15 Optional
Best practice case studies in urban development planning in cities in the South PLAN72072 15 Optional
Governing in an Unjust World: Justice and International Relations POLI60182 15 Optional
European Capitalisms: Crises, Transformations and Contestations POLI60292 15 Optional
Critical Environmental Politics POLI70921 15 Optional
The Politics of Global Climate Change POLI71141 15 Optional
Gender in Comparative Politics POLI71151 15 Optional
Protest and Progress: Understanding Movements for Social and Political Change SOCY60142 15 Optional
Sociology of Consumption SOCY60552 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units

What our students say

I did an internal placement at the University in conjunction with the WWF, working with a lecturer to develop a report. I think it has boosted my employability as it is a clear example of my research skills in practice for a client, and is publicly available for potential employers to access. Also, it has developed my capacity as a co-author which is useful for employment.

Hannah Charles, Environmental Governance MSc


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 the largest university library system in the UK apart from the copyright libraries and has a number of different working spaces. It is home to the University Map Collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world.

We also have our very own Kantorowich Library, which contains many of the teaching and learning materials that you will need, from books and journals to DVDs and past dissertations.

For more information, see 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