Course Overview

Award-winning programme

Winner: NUI Galway President’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2018)
Winner: Irish National Academy Award for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (2012)
Winner: NUI Galway President’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2011)
Winner: NUI Galway Learning and Teaching Innovation Award, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (2010)

Addressing vital global development goals

Are you interested in developing a critical approach to understanding intersecting global issues of environment, society and development? Would you like to develop the critical thinking and applied field-based learning skills necessary for working in sectors addressing the most vital environmental and societal challenges of international development today? If so, this innovative Masters in Environment, Society and Development is for you.

Engaging the world’s foremost environmental, societal and security challenges

Global issues of geopolitics, security, development and the environment have never been so important. Growing structural economic inequalities, the threat of climate change and international migration crises have brought questions of neoliberalism, environmental sustainability and Western interventionary practices to the fore. The MA in Environment, Society and Development is designed to enable you to bring critical and applied thinking to these vital global challenges. The programme will engage you on a critical exploration of the various practices of development and security that define our contemporary world, and ultimately how that critique can enable more informed and transformative interventionary practices. 

Field-based learning and civic engagement

A core element of the MA programme will involve you working in the challenging international development context of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through partnering with the United Nations Development Programme, and a range of other NGOs, government agencies and communities on the ground, you will gain vital experience of civic and community engagement in bringing critical thinking to development practice.

ESD class pic

MA in ESD students on fieldwork in Mostar, Herzegovina.

Student-centred teaching excellence and international reputation

Our students bring passion and new perspectives to urgent overlapping questions of environment, security and development. Coming from every continent across the globe, they mirror a commitment on the programme to a postcolonial concern for the production of nuanced global knowledges that are crucial to envisioning and actioning a better world. Students benefit especially from our reputation for providing one-to-one support. The programme director and teaching team have received a number of accolades for teaching excellence, including: the NUI Galway President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011; the National Academy Award for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning in 2012; and the NUI Galway’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018.

The Neil Smith Research Award

ESD video photo
Launch of the Neil Smith Graduate Research Award—please see
here.

The Neil Smith Graduate Research Award is annually given to the best overall student on the MA. It is supported by a National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning award received by the programme director. The award is designed to celebrate the legacy of the late Neil Smith, the inaugural external examiner for the programme, by encouraging graduate research in the areas of geopolitics, development and social and environmental justice.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr John Morrissey (Director)
  • Dr Nessa Cronin (Module Lecturer)
  • Dr Mary Greene (Module Lecturer)
  • Dr Valerie Ledwith (Module Lecturer)
  • Dr Aaron Potito (Module Lecturer)
  • Dr Richard Scriven (Module Lecturer)
  • Prof. Ulf Strohmayer (Module Lecturer)

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment is in the form of continuous assessment, essays, oral presentations and other projects. Students must also submit a dissertation of 15,000–20,000 words based on original research. The topic will be agreed, after consultation, with individual supervisors.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Second Class Honours NQAI Level 8 degree with a 2.1 in Geography and a 2.2 overall or related discipline, or equivalent. Selection is based on a candidate’s academic record, statement of intent and letters of recommendation. Prior learning in terms of relevant work experience is also recognised.

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

12

Closing Date

Please refer to the offer rounds/closing date webpage.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

Course code

1MES1

Course Outline

Running through the MA is an overarching aim to equip you with both critical and practical expertise in environment-society relations, with a firm eye on developing your abilities to influence policy formulation and implementation in a range of interventionary contexts. Our hope is to empower you to become critically informed by, and ethically engaged with, the various geopolitical, social, economic and environmental processes that shape the world in which we live. The practical emphasis of the MA is reflected in a field-based learning module in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where you will intersect with the development work of the European Union, UN agencies and various NGOs. In connecting with agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme, a key challenge for students will involve thinking through the scalar nature of all forms of development, in which initiatives on the ground are framed by broader geopolitical, economic and institutional structures that both enable and hinder development in complex ways. 

Modules include: 

  • Geopolitics and Security
  • Environment and Risk
  • Managing Development
  • Field-Based Learning

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required TI701: Conceptualising Environment, Society & Development


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI701: "Conceptualising Environment, Society & Development" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI702: Geography and Geo-Graphing


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI702: "Geography and Geo-Graphing" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI703: Geopolitics & Security


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Critical geopolitics module

Learning Outcomes
  1. Recognise the intimate links between geopolitical discourse and practices of securitization in our contemporary world
  2. Comprehend the long-standing equation between ‘security’ interests and ‘economic’ interests at the heart of geopolitical calculation
  3. See the so-called war on terror in the Middle East in its historic context of a much longer Western concern for military-economic securitization overseas
  4. Appreciate how neoliberal practices of intervention, war and reconstruction have long been based on the mobilization of prioritized geopolitical and geoeconomic discourses
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-1978" by Michel Foucault
    Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  2. "The Colonial Present" by Derek Gregory
    Publisher: Blackwell
  3. "The New Imperialism" by David Harvey
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
  4. "Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space" by Gearóid Ó Tuathail
    Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  5. "Culture and Imperialism" by Edward Said
    Publisher: Vintage
  6. "The Endgame of Globalization" by Neil Smith
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module TI703: "Geopolitics & Security" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI704: Environment & Risk


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI704: "Environment & Risk" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI705: Managing Development


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI705: "Managing Development" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI706: Field Based Learning


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI706: "Field Based Learning" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI707: Dissertation


15 months long | Credits: 30

Students will complete an original piece of work that engages with key theoretical, philosophical and ideological approaches and policy issues pertaining to contemporary environment-society relations.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate enhanced understanding of key theoretical, philosophical and ideological approaches and policy issues pertaining to contemporary environment-society relations.
  2. Demonstrate well developed research skills that are transferable to further research at PhD level or a range of workplaces.
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI707: "Dissertation" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6121: Geographic Studies Abroad


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

As part of their participation in an international exchange programme, students involved in a Master’s programme in Geography are invited to participate in module-based activities at a third level institution abroad. The module based activities relate to three key strands of research in the fields of: Environment, Society and Development; Marine and Coastal Processes; and Rural Sustainability. These activities will be supervised jointly by academic staff at the host institution and at NUI Galway.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Examine interactions between human activities and environmental processes within an international, comparative framework
  2. Critically analyse and engage with geographical planning processes, debates, theories and policies in a non-Irish context; including international planning practices and instruments
  3. Critically assess the relationship between planning, society, and environments in an non-Irish context and apply conceptual languages to material settings in a peripheral region
  4. Relate academic and policy material to developments in the fields of Environment, Society and Development ; Marine and Coastal Processes; or Rural Sustainability
  5. Effectively communicate information and arguments in a variety of forms
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6121: "Geographic Studies Abroad" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6120: Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad


Semester 2 | Credits: 30

Students enrolled in a Master’s programme within Geography at NUI Galway can conduct the research towards their Master’s dissertation as part of an international exchange programme. Such activities will be jointly supervised by staff in the host institution and at NUI Galway. This module guides students through an extended period of research and towards the writing of a major independent project. As such, it is an integral part of a student’s university education in that it teaches organisational and research skills, as well as skills critical for any career path. The module is specifically for students who would like to undertake independent research in the fields of Environment, Society and Development; Marine and Coastal Processes or Rural Sustainability.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Conduct supervised research on key identified interactions between human activities and environmental processes within an international, comparative framework
  2. Critically analyse and evaluate geographical planning processes, debates, theories and policies in a non-Irish context
  3. Demonstrate independent thinking and critically assess the relationship between planning, society, and environments
  4. Apply conceptual languages to material settings in a peripheral, coastal region and research key processes that shape such regions
  5. Explore, synthesise, and critique academic material while relating it to advancements in the fields of Environment, Society and Development, Marine and Coastal processes or Rural Sustainability
  6. Analyse data and communicate their findings in an effective manner to a range of audiences
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6120: "Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The MA in Environment, Society and Development prepares you for a range of workplaces, including government departments, non-governmental organizations, planning and project management agencies, and specialist institutions. Many of our graduates have gone on to work in a range of governmental roles, NGOs, UN agencies, and research and policy institutes globally, as well as pursuing PhD research in leading academic departments across the world. 

Practical experience

In addition to engaging you on the most cutting-edge theoretical work from the interdisciplinary fields of development studies, critical geopolitics and political ecology, the programme has a strong emphasis on problem-solving skills, reflected in the focus on field-based learning practices. You will gain enormously from the experience of working on the ground in Bosnia with a variety of international development practitioners and local community partners.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Elaine

Elaine Williams |   Graduate

I thoroughly enjoyed the MA in Environment, Society and Development. Not only does it theoretically and thematically inform students on key geographical concerns of interventionism and development, but most importantly it gives them the tools to practically apply critique on the ground. Gaining friendship and confidence in a hugely supportive environment is all part of the process too.
Vittoria

Vittoria Semplici |   Graduate

The Masters in Environment, Society and Development addresses fundamental questions of international development. It offers students the opportunity to deepen and pursue research interests with creative license, and combines a vast amount of theoretical knowledge with a concrete and practical approach, improving both critical thinking and organizational working skills.
Diego

Diego Andreucci |   Graduate

What I like the most about the MA in Environment, Society and Development is the fact that it is theoretically broad and academically stimulating whilst at the same time being very much engaged in practical, political and ethical issues in a variety of geographical contexts on the ground.
Sinead

Sinead Burke |   Graduate

I like the MA in Environment, Society and Development as it is an opportunity for academic growth and personal development which works by challenging a group of students to critically and creatively question wide-ranging theoretical concepts, whilst also providing practical research skills to assess the relationships between political, social and economic systems in geographically diverse spaces and places.