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Cardiff University: Environment and Development

Institution Cardiff University
Department School of Earth and Ocean Sciences
Telephone 029 2087 0084
Study type Taught


This MSc in Environment and Development aims to investigate, question and explore alternatives to the prevailing tensions and interdependencies between development and socio-ecological systems. It will consider the lived experiences of development and socio-ecological change, paying attention to different periods and multiple outcomes.

You will study the many problems resulting from the narrow search for economic growth which ignores wider socio-ecological requirements and responsibilities. The focus will be on exploring the fundamental connections between socio-economic demands and mounting environmental impacts and risks in both the Global North and the Global South.

The programme provides an opportunity to review: tendencies to convert nature into resources and private property; the formulation and implementation of environmental regulation; the commitments and failures of the apparatus of the state; the interaction between socio-economic sectors, groups and communities; and the political reaction and alliances across different geographical scales, countries and locations.

You will consider how the development appeal continues to influence governments, social groups and international relations, but at the same time generates uneven, short-term gains and long-lasting impacts. You will also discuss the limitations of policies influenced by environmentalism and narrow sustainability agendas which commonly fail to address wider social, political and economic expectations.

Through coordinated activities and practical engagements you will learn about past legacies, socio-cultural influences, the evolution of techno-scientific approaches and policy-making, the allocation of resources, and the challenges to contain environmental degradation and foster environmental justice. The various modules and related training exercises will help you to develop your critical thinking skills and the ability to examine the justification, the trends and limitations of conventional responses and a range of possible alternatives.

Distinctive features - a consideration of the politicised interconnections between socio-economic demands and environmental change, treated as an intrinsically political and ecological activity that occurs at the interface between state, society and the rest of socio-nature.

  • the opportunity to learn from past and ongoing experiences, connecting and contrasting the examples of countries in the Global North and in the Global South.

  • the opportunity to cover a wide range of environment and development challenges or to focus on certain substantive fields (such as economic sectors, natural resources, public services, governance issues, environmental management or the study urban and rural regions).

  • staff who work closely with academics and environment and development professionals worldwide. These collaborations are embedded in the course teaching and materials.

  • encouragement to engage with a range of stakeholders, as well as collaboration with organisations, governments and socio-economic sectors in Wales, the UK and around the world.


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