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MSc Environment and Development

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The field of environment and development has become increasingly important both in terms of theory and policy. It is widely recognised that a multi-disciplinary approach towards these important topics is needed.

Graduates can enter a wide variety of work in the public sector, international organisations, NGOs, research and consultancy firms

This one-year MSc programme (two years for part-time students) will enable participants to acquire the necessary training to work in the field of environment and development. Training will come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, but all within a distinctive social science framework.

The degree will enable participants to:

> Gain a deep understanding of the way environmental degradation and low levels of development are linked together

> Analyse meaningful policies that aspire to make economic development more environmentally sound and ultimately sustainable

> Pursue an academic programme in a world-renowned instiution benefiting from excellent employer recognition and career prospects

MSc Environment and Development is intended primarily for people who are, or will be, involved with environment and development as practitioners, policy-makers, trainers or researchers. Candidates will have obtained, or be expected to obtain, an Upper Second Class Honours degree or its equivalent in their first degree. Applications from mature candidates with work experience are encouraged. 

  • For programme structure, links to course guides and indicative reading lists, please see the programme's calendar entry

Student testimonials

Our students describe their experiences of the programme:

Jessica Marter-Kenyon

Jessica Marter-Kenyon

It's difficult to adequately explain how much I enjoyed getting my MSc in Environment and Development (E&D) at LSE. The experience was a 'game-changer'- academically, personally and professionally- and I wish it had never ended. I grew enormously in terms of my analytical skills and specialized knowledge of the field; this was facilitated by close contact with phenomenal professors and peers both inside and outside of E&D, who consistently pushed me to reevaluate my prior understandings of the meaning and purpose of 'environment' and 'development'. Just about every important academic, politician and thinker that passes through London stops by LSE to give a talk. In addition to being a big ego booster, these lectures were a way to connect our theoretical understandings from class with current, practical issues. Although the pace of a one-year degree is strenuous, it forces you to synthesize information and draw connections, which is ultimately rewarding. The independent dissertation option and vast, multidisciplinary list of classes on offer allowed me to tailor the degree to my particular interests.

Apart from the academic element, living in London was fantastic. LSE students tend to both play hard and work hard. I loved cycling to campus and around the city, rocking summer music festivals, playing in the snow, and lounging in London's parks. Although the course is challenging and requires significant time and focus, I still had time to travel to Amsterdam, Berlin and Istanbul, as well as various cities around England. Plus, I built a network of beautiful international friends (and future colleagues!) that will offer places to stay and career opportunities for the rest of my life.

Professionally, there was a huge increase in interesting job possibilities for me after finishing the degree compared to where I was just a year before; both LSE and the E&D program specifically are well-regarded by professional organizations as well as other academic programs. A week after handing in my dissertation I was offered a post with One Acre Fund in Rwanda as the head of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) department. I design research questions and strategies to measure the impact of our agricultural development programs on subsistence farmers. My degree from LSE and the knowledge and confidence I gained over the course of the year were instrumental in securing the position.

I can't recommend the E&D program enough - it was by far one of the most fun and demanding years of my life, and I would do it again a hundred times over. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to email me (jessicaDOTmarterkenyonATgmail.com).

Boipelo Tshwene

BoipeloTshwene

Just being at LSE, as a university with diverse students, and hence cultures, has helped me learn about and appreciate the different cultures that we have on this planet, especially through the events hosted by different societies, such as the Global Show. I have also been privileged to sit and listen to some very important academic figures as well as prominent people of the world, through public talks, debates and conferences organised by the LSE Events programme and LSEU societies. The list has included Geoffrey Sachs, Nicholas Stern and Louis Moreno-Ocampo (ICC Chief Prosecutor).

My programme integrates issues of sustainable development, a subject that has dominated agendas on environmental management issues in the past decade, from a theory and practical based perspective, giving examples from both the developing and developed world. LSE has offered me advice and support in many ways, in particular the Language Centre, LSE learning world and Careers Service. I have benefited particularly from the Language Centre which offers preparatory courses to enhance your English language. As a non-native English speaker, I found this useful as it helped develop my ability to write well for academic purposes. I have also benefited a great deal from one-to-one study support, which consists of giving confidential advice and support to students with regard to their studying, offered by the Teaching and Learning Centre. Once I leave LSE I aspire to work in the field of Environmental Impact Assessment.

 

Where are they now?

The programme prepares graduates to enter a wide variety of work in the public sector, international organisations, NGOs, research and consultancy firms. Our alumni tell us what they did after graduation:

Virginie Fayolle

After graduating with an American BSc in Economics, Virginie completed an MSc in Environment and Development (Merit) at the LSE. Her dissertation, for which she was awarded a distinction, assessed the role played by risk perceptions and environmental attitudes in influencing public support for global and national climate policies.

Virginie is an Economist at Acclimatise. She brings to Acclimatise an important understanding of the economic and financial aspects of climate change risks and opportunities. Virginie has worked on the National Adaptation Plan in Kenya, particularly focusing on the economic and financial implications of climate change risks and adaptation actions. She is currently project managing two projects for the Indian Ocean Commission (assessing the Commission’s capacity to respond to climate change at the systemic, institutional and individual levels) and for the Fonds Français pour l'Environment Mondi-al (review and benchmark international climate finance financing mechanisms to inform the adaptation financing strategy in developing countries). She is also responsible for liaising with clients and contributing to the company’s business development, along with the preparation of expressions of interest/ and proposals.

Before joining Acclimatise, Virginie worked for a fair trade organisation based in Paris and launched two impact assessments on food and non-food products in Brazil and Madagascar. She also delivered a benchmark of fair trade trademarks aiming to influence French public and private decision-makers in their procurement practices.

Top tip in getting a job: If you are lucky enough and you know in which areas you want to work, develop quite early during your master a targeted list of organisations you would like to work for (and key contacts within each organisation). Even though no job openings are posted, apply anyway as most of these companies receive at least 10 applications per week (according to their size) and hence, do not really need to post job openings. This is particularly relevant for smaller sized companies. If you have limited experience, suggest in your cover letter an internship. Any kind of experience is good to take and if you prove your value, you are likely to get a job offer. Finally, avoid standardised CVs and cover letters: do your homework and tailor them to the company profile! 

Whilst studying at the LSE, Virginie did an internship working with a MP on environmental affairs. After that, she realized that politics was not for her! So, her advice would be to explore as many areas as possible, so you know what you would like (as well as would not like to do) and can develop a strategic approach to your job search. By being focused on one or a few areas, you can tailor your profile to the particular job segments.

Bernadine Fernz

Bernadine is a Research and Policy Advisor at Engineers Against Poverty, a specialist NGO working in the field of engineering and international development. She is also a member of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) International Secretariat where she manages the engagement and interface with country programmes in Latin America and Asia.

Bernadine's development career began at Deloitte & Touché, where she worked on Iskandar Malaysia, a regional infrastructure and economic development initiative within Southern Johor. Since then, she has worked extensively in the private sector across the climate change and environment, renewable and conventional energy spaces. Before joining EAP, Bernadine worked with the Overseas Development Institute, researching global public climate finance architecture, instruments and delivery. Prior to that, she collaborated on a study with Environmental Resources Management, assessing sustainable island development models, specifically distributed energy systems, sustainable water and waste management infrastructure in rural Malaysia.

Bernadine is a qualified barrister and holds an MSc in Environment & Development, with Distinction, from the London School of Economics.

Tim Gill

Tim’s career began at 16 when he left school to join McDonalds… he started as a crew member with no stars! He developed skills in this role over five years to become a shift manager, finally leaving to go to university with a pilot’s license that he had paid for during his time at McDonalds.

Whilst completing his BSc in Aviation Management, Tim joined bmi as cabin crew and later British Airways where he was fortunate to obtain a job in the environment team managing the carbon footprint for the group of airlines. During Tim’s time at BA he had a number of great opportunities, including taking on an MSc at LSE which British Airways sponsored. Tim has represented the aviation industry at a number of levels including the UN for the International Airline Transport Association, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games as well as at an EU level where he works on the Single European Sky.

Tim is currently working for National Air Traffic Services in the environment team working to improve the efficiency of commercial UK air traffic, man-aging the noise impacts of aircraft and guiding environment policy on air transport.

Hanane Hafraoui

Hanane studied for a BSc and Masters in Economics at University Paris Dauphine before taking her MSc in Environment and Development at the LSE.

Working for the Committee on Climate Change, her job expertise involves:

> Analysing the UK Carbon Footprint and formulating policy options to reduce consumption emissions.

> Analysis of the transport sectors for the Committee's Annual Progress Report. This involves interpretation of latest emissions and energy data, consideration of trends and of whether on track against CCC indicators.

Prior to joining government she mainly worked for UN agencies (e.g. UNESCO, IFAD) and think tanks (e.g. ODI), but also worked in academia and economic consultancies.

Daniela Jaramillot

As well an MSc in Environment and Development, Daniela holds a BA in Journalism and Communications from the USFQ (Quito, Ecuador). She currently works as an ESG Analyst, for Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), one of the largest asset managers in the UK. Daniela looks at the Environmental, Social and Governance issues within the company’s global equity portfolio.

Daniela has a varied background that includes working as a journalist specialising in the energy sector, a manager of development projects in Ecuador for an NGO, as well as in the corporate communications industry. Daniela believes that networking is the best way to find a job.

Alex Kazaglis

Alex started working in international development in India before moving to work in Environmental Policy. For 3 years he worked at an environmental policy think tank in Australia, where he conducted research that had been commissioned by Government focusing on urban water policy. He moved to the UK, did his masters, and began work as an Economist at the Committee on Climate Change. Now the focus of his role is to develop scenarios for decarbonisation of the UK economy and advise Government on the level of reductions in emissions required to meet their carbon reduction targets.

Alex believes the best way to get a feel for different workplaces is to talk to people and do work experience. "Once you know where you want to get into, use everything you can - e.g. your dissertation - to network and get in the offices of the organisation that you would like to work for."

He has used his current work to advise internationally on climate policy in his own time - particularly in his home country of Australia - and has been able to use his overseas experience to contribute to the debate back home through the media.

Susie Page

Susie started her career in carbon management consulting shortly after leaving LSE. She has worked with a range of clients including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), HSBC, and the Ministry of Defence on energy reduction strategies. She also spent one year working as environmental manager for a London University.

Since joining Ecofys Susie has contributed to projects on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy for the European Commission, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and Asian Development Bank. Her areas of expertise include carbon footprinting, energy efficiency of buildings, energy reduction strategies and renewable energy policy.

Dario Piselli

Dario_PiselliWhy did you choose the course/LSE? I have always been interested in sustainable development challenges, but in the past I had only worked on them from an international law perspective. My course, and the LSE by extension, represented the ideal opportunity to engage with the complex challenge of integrating environmental conservation and economic development in an interdisciplinary way and in a context of academic excellence.  

What was the highlight of your LSE experience? Without a doubt, the highlight of my LSE experience was spending the summer months writing my dissertation. Moving from legal research to social science methodologies made for an intellectually stimulating experience and I got to enjoy the long afternoons spent in the library followed by relaxed strolls around London!  

How has your degree been useful for your career? My degree has certainly helped me move smoothly to a PhD at the Graduate Institute of Geneva and a position of research officer there. It exposed me to different research methods, expanded my knowledge of sustainable development issues and enriched my interdisciplinary perspective on complex global issues. It was precisely what I was asking for!

Sum up your LSE experience in 3 words: Challenge, Dedication, Enrichment. 

Henry Trew

Henry runs a project to help young people from Hackney get into work. Bootstrap is a charity that helps start up businesses by providing workspaces for over 450 entrepreneurs, ranging from charities and social enterprises to designers and artists. Bootstrap Campus run open days, workshops and work placements for young people to learn and be inspired by professionals.

Henry also manages the 'Cock & Bull festival', a fundraiser for the inspirational charity Jamie’s Farm. He helped set it up in 2011 and it's a lot of fun. On leaving LSE Henry worked for three and a half years at the Energy Saving Trust, the government's body to engage householders to reduce their carbon emissions. His role was to manage the quality of advice provided by their 21 offices and deliver training to improve energy advisor skills.

Christina Weimann

Christina has a BA in Integrated Social Sciences from the International Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. She took some international development courses during her Erasmus at the Sciences Po in Paris, before moving on to her MSc. During her studies her focus was on environmental economics and evaluation, doing a non-market goods analysis of the nuclear phasing out in Germany for her dissertation.

After graduation, Christina did a traineeship at the European Commission in Brussels, where she worked for the Directorate General of Development. Specifically, she researched the EU policies on biofuels as well as private investment into biofuels and the consequences these have on agriculture and landgrabbing in developing countries. Christina was also in charge of reporting financial commitments to the G8.

Christina is now a research assistant at the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe. She is analysing data on the use of forest resources for renewable energy purposes.

Christina’s advice to get a job is to invest time in practical courses and to learn skills which you can directly apply on the job, such as statistical knowledge or GIS. Employers like to see some hands-on skills, alongside knowledge of the sectors.

 

External Examiner Report 2016

"As noted last time, the Environment & Development course is well-developed to provide a broad overview of the most contemporary global environmental challenges facing developing countries. The course combines input from a variety of disciplines and prepares students for a variety of career pathways.

Overall I have found the examination process to be fair and rigorous in terms of its consideration of the performance of all students in all aspects of the course.  While performance naturally varies by ability, all students are given support and the assessment process is fair and unbiased. The main challenge in this course is that some students may tackle dissertation topics that can be addressed to different levels of theoretical and empirical rigour. This can maybe lead to a slight difference of expectation between student and staff."

Contact us

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7955 6061

Email: Geog.Pg@lse.ac.uk