Taught degree

Environment, Science and Society MSc

The Environment, Science and 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.

Key Information

Modes and duration

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

Tuition Fees (2015/16)

£8,755 (FT) £4,375 (PT)
£17,250 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application deadlines

All applicants:
1 August 2015

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.

English language requirement: Good

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

International equivalencies

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

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.

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

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


  • Community Participation in City Strategies
  • Scales of Inequality
  • Globalisation and Security
  • Environmental GIS
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature Conservation
  • Changing Landscapes - Nature, Culture and Politics
  • Marine Conservation
  • Politics of Climate Change
  • Natural Hazards
  • Students may also select a module outside the programme
  • Sustainable Consumption and Everyday Life


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 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 meet previous MSc students to discuss their dissertations and subsequent career. Assessment is through coursework and the research dissertation.


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.

More scholarships are listed on the scholarships website


The programme is fundamentally academic in character rather than vocational, but many of our graduates go 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 degree

  • World Bank, Planning Consultant, 2011,
  • Lewisham Council, Environmental Assessor, 2011,
  • Universidad Católica de Chile, Researcher, 2012,
  • Traffic East Asia-Japan, Programme Officer, 2012,
  • Radically Good, CEO and Founder, 2012,


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.

Why 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, and has dedicated seminar rooms and computer facilities.

The programme encourages small group discussions drawing on fellow students' diversity of nationalities and academic and work backgrounds.

UCL Geography is closely associated with UCL's Grand Challenges, with interdisciplinary links and contact with key national figures in policy debates. London itself provides many opportunities to attend seminars, debates and discussions with eminent international speakers. Previous graduates provide a few seminars each year to enable learning and networking opportunities.

Student / staff ratios › 41 staff › 151 taught students › 60 research students

Department: Geography

Application and next steps


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.

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.

Application deadlines

All applicants

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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