MSc Climate Change and Development

Climate change is already affecting the world's poorest and most vulnerable people, who often lack the robust systems and capacity needed to cope. While mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to limiting impacts, substantial climate change is now inevitable and 'adaptation' is a central issue in development.

The MSc in Climate Change and Development is a multidisciplinary course that aims to provide state-of-the-art training for future climate change and development professionals. You acquire specialist knowledge of the causes of climate change (taught specifically for non-climate specialists), the physical and human consequences, and efforts to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. Throughout, the emphasis is on the specific implications of climate change for poverty in developing countries, the processes of adaptation, and policy responses. You can develop a specialist thematic or regional enquiry in the dissertation.

Who is the course for?

Meeting these challenges requires qualified development professionals with expertise in the implications of climate change for contemporary development. These specialists must understand both climate science and the complex, multi-dimensional scientific, socio-economic, technological, institutional and ethical dimensions of climate change mitigation and adaptation in a development context.

This course equips both those new to the field and development practitioners with the key skills and knowledge to work on the implications of climate change for global and regional development.

IDS and the University of Sussex

This is a joint MSc degree course offered by IDS and the University of Sussex, with the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU). All three institutes have agenda-setting reputations in interdisciplinary teaching and research of science, development, and policy. IDS is a leading global organisation for research, teaching and communications on international development. The institute has around 100 researchers, a student body of over 150 and a network that extends around the world.

The MSc is located in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex (combining geography, anthropology, international relations) which has an outstanding global reputation for research environmental science and international policy. We have an international student intake from over 40 countries.

Career opportunities

There is a rapidly expanding market for development professionals with climate change expertise. Our graduates are successful in finding employment in:

  • Government development & environment ministries (including UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, DFID, GiZ)
  • International organisations (e.g the UN, World Bank)
  • Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including International Federation of the Red Cross, Renewable World, African Wildlife Foundation, Action Against Hunger International
  • Private sector organisations
  • Consultancies
  • Not-for-profit sector agencies (including ODI, Green Jobs Alliance)
  • Research (including doctoral study)

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in the social sciences or a related discipline, and preferably two years' development-related work experience. Applications must be accompanied by a detailed, two page personal statement.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each section. Pearson's Test of English (Academic) 67 overall, with at least 62 in all four skills.

For entry in September 2016, fees are £8,000 for Home UK/EU, Channel and Isle of Man students; £14,800 for Overseas students. For sources of funding please see the advice on funding on the University of Sussex website.

One scholarship is available for applicants from African members of the Commonwealth through a joint scheme between IDS and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. Please contact IDS for further information.

Below is a list of IDS, Sussex and SPRU researchers who contribute to this course:

  • Dr Rob Byrne - Low-carbon development, renewable energy, socio-technical transitions.
  • Dr Terry Cannon - Rural livelihoods, disaster vulnerability and climate change adaptation.
  • Professor Dominic Kniveton - Climate systems, and hydrological cycle in Southern Africa.
  • Dr Lars Otto Naess - Social and institutional dimensions of adaptation to climate change.
  • Dr David Ockwell - Low-carbon technology transfer to developing countries, energy policy, communication and behaviour change.
  • Dr Ana Pueyo - Climate change, low-carbon development, technology transfer.
  • Dr Pedram Rowhani - Climate change and food security, land cover change, GIS.
  • Dr Adrian Smith - Civil society and technology, environmental policy process.
  • Professor Martin Todd - The impact of climate change on hydrological and ecological systems, atmospheric aerosols.
  • Dr Yi Wang - Climate science: terrestrial ecosystems, global bio-geochemical cycles; climate change; ocean-land-atmosphere interaction; tropical convection.
  • Dr Tom Downing - Global Climate Adaptation Partnership
  • Dr Stephen Spratt - Low-carbon Development; Climate Finance; Green Transformation

Course information

Fees per year: £8000 for UK/EU, £14,800 for Overseas students
Start date: 15 September 2016
Based: University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
How to apply: Visit the University of Sussex website