Environment, Science and Society MSc

Options: PG Diploma

The Environment, Science & Society MSc programme explores the way scientific, political and cultural practices shape our understanding of the society-environmental relationship. It is an academic rather than vocational programme with most students pursuing further education or careers in international organisations, the public sector, NGOs or charities.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £8,500
  • UK/EU Part-time: £4,250
  • Overseas Full-time: £16,750
  • Overseas Part-time: £8,500

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

The programme evaluates the different discourses in environmental politics through the theories and concepts underpinning social science research. These are then applied critically to debates about, for example, sustainability, corporate environmentalism and the politics of environmental science. Students develop an understanding of the changing context, process and politics of environmental decision-making and of the connections between theory, research and policy in debates about environmental change.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The Environment, Science and society MSc programme is run by UCL Geography, which enjoys an outstanding international reputation for its research and teaching.

The programme is taught within newly refurbished accommodation, with dedicated seminar rooms, computer facilities, laboratories and common rooms.

UCL Geography is closely associated with the UCL Environment Institute, enabling interdisciplinary links and contact with key national figures in environmental policy debates. London itself provides many opportunities to attend seminars, debates and discussions with eminent international speakers.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme offers two routes: standard and research. Standard: Four core modules (60 credits), options (60 credits) and a research project (60 credits). Research: Four core modules (75 credits), options (45 credits) and a research project (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is offered.

Core Modules

  • Sustainable Development, Environmental Governance, and Institutional Reform
  • Environmental Knowledges
  • Social Science Methodologies course (15 credits standard route or 30 for research route)
  • Thinking Space
  • OR
  • Conservation and Environmental Management: Critical Perspectives


  • Natural Hazards
  • Politics of Climate Change
  • Marine Conservation
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature, Culture and Politics
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature Conservation
  • Environmental GIS
  • Globalisation and Security
  • Scales of Inequality
  • Community Participation in City Strategies
  • Sustainable Consumption and Everyday life


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–15,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, presentations, discussions, workshops, practical classes and field trips. 2-3 dissertation seminars provide opportunities to neet previous MSc students to disucss their dissertations and subsequent career. Assessment is through coursework and the research dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:


ESRC funding exists for eligible students who wish to take the MSc as a prelude to a three-year PhD.

Overseas students may be eligible for: British Chevening Scholarships, Shell Centenary Scholarships and Karim Rida Said Foundation.

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

The deadline for applications is 1 August 2014.

Who can apply?

This MSc will appeal to individuals wishing to undertake higher-level work as a prelude to a PhD; to those interested in developing a research training while acquiring relevant ideas for work in this field; and to individuals currently employed in an environmental policy context who wish to enhance their skills.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Environment, Science and Society
  • why you want to study Environment, Science and Society at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and/or professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


The programme is fundamentally academic in character rather than vocational, but many of our graduates og on to work for governments, environmental non-governmental organisations and consultancies, multi-lateral bodies, the media and think-tanks; often in policy, research or communication roles. It is less common for our graduates to work in corporate environmental management and consultancy. The MSc also provides an excellent foundation for PhD research and is recognised as a research training route by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. Careers advice is primarily provided through the UCL Careers Service, which offers excellent support to students wanting general career guidance, help writing applications and CVs, and practical preparing for interviews. There are also a series of themes career weeks during the academic year including one on the environmental sector and another on NGOs and charities.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • World Bank, Planning Consultant, 2011
  • Lewisham Council, Environmental Assessor, 2011
  • Greenstone Carbon Management, Carbon Analyst, 2010
  • Mediterranean SOS Network, Volunteer Actions Co-Ordinator, 2010
  • Greenpeace, Environmental Intern, 2010


The programme's combination of core social science methodological training, detailed exploration of contemporary environmental issues and critical engagement with environmental science, policies and politics, provides a distinctive skill set for those wanting careers in the environmental sector that do not simply replicate current governance approaches. This holistic experience is different from more technical, managerial environmental programmes and encourages access to careers in international organisations (UNDP, World Bank), government (UK DECC, UK Home Office, Lewisham Council), NGOs (WWF, Greenpeace), education (recent PhD at Open University and UCL, teaching assistant University of Hong Kong) and a wide varity of charitable organisations.

Next steps


Ms Fiona Mannion

T: +44 (0)20 7679 7579



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Prospectus subject


Faculty overview

Social and Historical Sciences


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Student View

"UCL provides its students with the opportunity to enrich their networks in the academic and business world. I have attended many career open day events organised either by UCL itself or by companies outside UCL."

Katerini Pylarinou

Degree: PhD

Alumni View

"I made contacts at other universities and was encouraged to take part in conferences, receiving financial support to do so, which was great for getting general research experience and networking skills."

Emma Wiik

Research Associate, Loughborough University, 2012