More of the world's extreme poor now live in middle-income than in low-income countries, and processes such as climate change, transnational migration and globalisation demand a global consideration of the state of the planet. Reflecting these trends, concepts of 'development' have evolved away from an understanding of something that takes place in the 'Third World' or 'Global South'. Contemporary global challenges demand the linking of environmental issues to conventional foci of development (like health, urbanisation, poverty, food security and migration). They also demand an understanding of how the world's resources (such as water, energy, land, minerals, demography) are allocated and managed, and how contestations over these distributions play out.

This programme is aimed at talented graduates seeking to develop or enhance their expertise in the fields of development and environment. You will develop the capacity to critically analyse the large-scale drivers of environmental consumption and stewardship, and how these interlink with and produce developmental outcomes. You will explore the relationship between international, environmental and developmental concerns and current socio-political events, from the COVID-19 pandemic to political and military tensions in Eastern Europe, or refugee crises in North Africa.

You will gain a perspective that is at once global and interdisciplinary while also paying attention to locality (place) and people's agency in forging a just and sustainable future.

The School of Geographical Sciences is ranked first in the UK for 'Geography and environmental studies' research (THE analysis of REF 2021) and has an outstanding reputation for teaching and learning. It builds upon Bristol's existing research strengths in these fields, with links to the University's Cabot Institute, Perivoli Africa Research Centre, Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, Jean Golding Institute, and Bristol Poverty Institute.

Programme structure

The programme is structured around three core units, including two mandatory methods units. You will also choose three optional units and complete a research dissertation.

The programme is structured around the core unit Global Development and Environment: History, Theory, Practice (GEOGM0044). You will receive research training in the compulsory units Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (GEOGM0041) and Practical Statistics for Use in Research and Policy (GEOGM0010).

Subject to availability, students will be able to choose three optional units dealing with topics ranging from urban sustainability to postcolonial critique to GIS and remote sensing. The Policy and Management Consultancy unit (GEOGM0072) will provide you with an opportunity to develop practical skills by working in small teams to address real-world policy and practical challenges facing external clients including public agencies, private organisations and NGOs.

Unit availability can only be confirmed on an annual basis, therefore any choices made by part-time students at the outset of the programme for their second year of study will be provisional.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MSc Global Development and Environment.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or international equivalent in social sciences, physical sciences, life sciences or professional degrees (medicine, architecture, planning or engineering). Candidates with a humanities degree and other non-standard subjects plus relevant work experience will also be considered.

We will consider applicants whose interim grades are currently slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements. We may make these applicants an aspirational offer. This offer would be at the standard level, so the applicant would need to achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of their degree.

We will consider applicants whose grades are slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements, if they have at least one of the following:

  • evidence of significant, relevant work experience;
  • a relevant postgraduate qualification.

If this is the case, applicants should include their CV (curriculum vitae / résumé) when they apply, showing details of their relevant work experience and/or qualifications.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level C.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£13,100 per year
UK: part-time (two years)
£6,550 per year
Overseas: full-time
£28,800 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

Students from developing Commonwealth countries may be eligible to apply for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme, University of Bristol Think Big Postgraduate Scholarship, and the School of Geographical Sciences Phyllis Mary Morris Bursaries.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Students completing this programme typically go on to work in government, the non-profit sector, multilateral organisations and private companies including development and environmental consultancies. The intensive research training will also prepare you for further postgraduate study.