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MSc International Development: Environment Climate Change and Development / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

MSc International Development: Environment, Climate Change and Development links environmental understanding grounded in the physical sciences with study of the social and economic bases of global sustainability.

Over the past two decades, environmental challenges have risen to the top of the global agenda.

As a result, there is a pressing need for policymakers, planners and managers to understand the environmental dimensions of development.

The course is therefore perfect if you're looking to benefit from research-led teaching - by world-class academics - that examines both mainstream sustainability and radical alternatives for sustainable global development.


This course will:

  • Provide an interdisciplinary training to equip you with an understanding of the environmental and climate change dimensions of development trends and interventions.
  • Provide you with a thorough conceptual framework and the skills necessary to analyse effectively the relationships between environmental issues, climate change and development processes, and make judgments about policies and their implementation.
  • Provide critical insights into the key strategies, policies and practices currently employed to promote climate change adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.
  • Develop professionally-oriented skills related to formulating, investigating and implementing different approaches to promoting climate change adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.
  • Provide a wide range of options for advanced training in areas of specialist expertise relevant to environment, climate change, and development.
  • Develop advanced competencies in transferable areas, including developing reasoned arguments, gathering, organising and using evidence and information from a wide variety of sources, undertaking both team-based and independent work to deadlines, and both written and verbal forms of communication.
  • Assist you in developing your specialist area of expertise within the field of environment, climate change, and development, and applying your understanding and skills through supervised individual research culminating in a dissertation.

Special features

  • We're Europe's largest dedicated development research and teaching institute and have been at the forefront of development studies for over 60 years
  • We're ranked 7th in the UK and 11th in the world for development studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021).
  • Our research was ranked first in the UK for impact and second in the UK for quality in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
  • We are proud to tackle global inequalities and rank first in the UK for our impact on the Sustainable Development Goals ( THE Impact Rankings 2020 ).
  • We bring cutting-edge insights from our research into all our postgraduate teaching. Our courses bring different development perspectives and voices to Manchester, from activists from the Global South to the leaders of multinational companies.
  • We are home to the internationally-recognised Effective States and Inclusive Development and FutureDAMS research centres.
  • Students are part of our vibrant research community this includes our public lecture series which brings world experts, former heads of state, and leading development thinkers, to discuss current issues in development.
  • We have numerous scholarship opportunities for outstanding applicants.

Teaching and learning

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.

We are no longer able to offer a residential fieldtrip to Uganda in the 2021/22 academic year due to the ongoing uncertainty and travel restrictions arising from the Covid pandemic and associated public health challenges.

Online and virtual content will be used to deliver the Intended Learning Outcomes of this unit.

Where feasible, we will explore whether other residential fieldtrips can go ahead. The ability for any alternative fieldwork to proceed will remain subject to the current global situation and factors such as the;

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover; and
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation (and any significant changes to their costs).
We will review the viability of any travel and fieldwork on a regular basis and communicate any decisions to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

Coursework and assessment

The taught elements of the course, carrying 120 credits overall, is continuously assessed by a variety of methods (eg project-based reports, essays), involving largely individual submissions, but also elements of group work.

You must also complete a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice approved by the Programme Directors. You are encouraged to base your dissertation on topics of direct professional concern.

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
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Mandatory
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Mandatory
Climate Change, Disasters and Responses MGDI60552 15 Mandatory
Environment, Climate Change and Development MGDI60801 15 Mandatory
Understanding Development Research MGDI70982 15 Mandatory
Economics of Environmental Policy ECON60782 15 Optional
Issues in Environmental Policy GEOG70911 15 Optional
Global Political Economy MGDI60072 15 Optional
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
Gender Inequality: Theory and Evidence MGDI60201 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Critical Issues in Urban Inequality MGDI60531 15 Optional
Migration, Mobility and Displacement in the Contemporary World MGDI60731 15 Optional
Migration and Development MGDI60742 15 Optional
Global Inequalities and Social Development MGDI61461 15 Optional
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Optional
Environmental Impact Assessment PLAN60411 15 Optional
Urban Development Planning in Cities of the South: an international perspective PLAN72061 15 Optional
Best practice case studies in urban development planning in cities in the South PLAN72072 15 Optional
Critical Environmental Politics POLI70921 15 Optional
The Politics of Global Climate Change POLI71141 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 course units

Scholarships and bursaries

There are many internal and external funding opportunities for postgraduate study.

We offer several postgraduate taught scholarships to outstanding applicants. We also regularly welcome students on the University's Equity and Merit scholarship scheme.

The Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a first-class bachelor's degree and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

Many of our students have gained British Chevening, British Council or Commonwealth scholarships, as well as country-specific awards.

For more information, see  fees and funding  or  search the University's postgraduate funding database .

What our students say

'I remember having a hard time choosing the university at which I would study. I preferred the scope of the degree that The University of Manchester offered - it was broad enough to allow me to explore my interests across the discipline while allowing me to specialise in a field that I am absolutely passionate about. It also helped that Manchester has a sterling reputation in the Caribbean. Aside from housing one of the world's highest-ranked Development institutes, it is where one of the region's most influential economists - Sir Arthur Lewis - developed some of his most important work. In the end, however, the deciding factor for me was the level of post-offer support I received from the administrators in the School of Environment and Development. They responded to each and every enquiry promptly. I saw my interactions with them as an early indication of how I would be treated as a student and I wanted to go where students are supported.

At Manchester, I felt as though I had personalised academic support. The academics were approachable and willing to meet outside of class hours to ensure that the material was understood in the way that it should. Now, I take the same student-centred approach to mentoring my own students.

My Manchester qualification has been an incredible career booster. The fact that it was earned in-person at one of the world's top universities has opened many doors for me to pursue a rewarding career. Just a few weeks after returning home, I was offered a full-time position with an industry-leading, regional environmental consulting firm. I was immediately able to apply the knowledge I had gained in my Manchester courses.'

Stacy-ann Robinson, MSc International Development: Environment and Development

Disability support

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

For more information, email