MSc Environment and Development – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

by Alessandra Scomazzon 

Course name: MSc Environment and Development

University: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 

Level: Postgraduate, Master of Science (MSc)

Length: 12 months full-time; or 24 months part-time 

Location: London, United Kindgom 

Language: English

  1. Short summary of the course

The MSc Environment and Development at the LSE is aimed at providing students with a  thorough understanding of the linkages between environment and development from a multidisciplinary social science perspective. The programme provides a rigorous training on environmental and development policy, management and evaluation with a particular focus on developing countries. 

The compulsory modules of this masters programme include: Economic Development and the Environment and Politics of Environment and Development. 

Students can tailor their academic curriculum by choosing one unit of courses from the Department of Geography and Environment and one unit of courses from the Department of International Development. Eventually students can choose a course of the value of half a unit from the Methodology Department if interested in acquiring specific methodological training on qualitative and/or quantitative research skills. 

They can also choose to write their research dissertation or add one additional unit of courses.

  1. Questions.

 a. What did you like most about the course? 

I really enjoy the course contents since I am truly interested in environmental and development topics. Modules are taught by world experts in those subjects and the level of teaching is very high. 

I also valued the flexibility to choose courses from a quite wide list of options. This allowed me to focus my studies on the aspects I am most interested to learn. 

b. What did you do before this course? Are there any specific requirements for being able to apply to and take this course? 

Before this course, I studied International Economics and Business Development in my home country, Italy. After my graduation I started my career path in the development sector, working first for the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Tanzania and later for an international NGO implementing rural development projects in East Africa.

Although the course does not require applicants to have a specific academic background, having majored in a social science discipline is preferable. I think that besides my first class honors degree, my professional experiences and motivation played an essential role in the evaluation of my profile for the admission. 

Indeed, one of the programme’s strengths is the diversity of the cohort, formed by students with very different backgrounds and experiences that can provide different inputs in class discussions. 

c. What sort of work are you doing (e.g. more group work/more individual work; more project-based work/more essay writing etc.)? 

The coursework requires individual study, group work exercises and presentations as well as essay writing for formative and summative assessments. 

I think all those learning approaches are overall well balanced and make students develop a variety of soft and research skills. 

d. Is there anything you would change about the course? 

This is a very interesting question. Sometimes, I think that the fact that the teaching terms (Michaelmas and Lent terms)  are so short (eleven weeks each)  and intense that I do not have enough time to fully absorb new complex ideas and notions. 

e. Why did you choose this course over other courses you may have been considering?

I was interested in gaining knowledge on environmental conservation from an economic and political ecology perspective, and I thought this course would have provided me with sophisticated knowledge on this topic from the angle I was interested in adopting to explore environmental and development issues.This led me to change my green way of thinking into a more red-green point of views on environmental problems. 

 f. What is life at this university like? 

Unfortunately, the academic year 2020/21 has been greatly disrupted by the COVID19 pandemic, and all activities have been moved online till the summer term. I feel I did not live the full LSE experience. However, the university environment is welcoming and a lot of resources, events and support is provided, including for wellbeing and mental health! 

g. What are you planning on doing after you’ve graduated/what are you currently doing if you have graduated? What are typical jobs graduates do after completing the course

LSE Alumni who have done this course have embarked on very different career paths in the public sector, international organizations, consultancies, NGOs etc. Some of them used the masters as a gateway for PhDs. 

I would like to continue my career in the development sector but with a greater focus on environment and development programmes and projects. Ideally, I wish to find positions in environmental NGOs, international organizations or think tanks. 

Alessandra Scomazzon is currently studying the MSc Environment & Development at the LSE. She has a background in International Economics and Business Development and she worked for 3 years in the rural development sector in Tanzania. She is interested in conservation and rural communities development. Her favourite environmental broadcaster, naturalist and writer is David Attenborough. 

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