Environment Society & Development

Addressing core global development goals
Global issues of development, security and the environment have never been so important. The COVID-19 pandemic, the broader overstepping of ecological boundaries and the threat of climate change have brought questions of neoliberal economic production, environmental sustainability and human security to the fore. If you would you like to acquire the critical thinking and field-based learning skills that are essential in addressing these challenges, then the innovative and award-winning MA in Environment, Society and Development (MA-ESD) is for you.

Engaging vital overlapping environmental and security challenges
The MA-ESD 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, participatory and transformative interventionary practices. The programme involves engagement with a number of core areas in international development, critical security studies and political ecology, and will expose you to global concerns that encompass a complex and dynamic mesh of environmental, geopolitical and economic processes. On the programme, you will gain enormously from the field experience of working on the ground in an international development context, and as a graduate you will have the ability and ambition to activate a wide range of expert critical knowledges in shaping a more sustainable world.

Field-based learning and civic engagement
In embarking on your career and in following your passion for urgent global development issues, would you like to draw upon the experience of working with the United Nations and a range of NGOs in the challenging international development context of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)? A core element of the MA-ESD programme will involve you working and intersecting with communities, the UNDP and other development practitioners in BiH. You will gain vital experience of civic and community engagement in bringing critical thinking to development practice.

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 locally-attuned 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 University of 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 University of Galway’s President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018.

Subjects taught


TI6131: Introduction to Development (10 ECTS)
TI6125: Research Methods and Mapping (10 ECTS)
TI6126: Critical Geopolitics and Security (10 ECTS)
TI6127: Environmental Risk and Resilience (10 ECTS)
TI6128: Development and Justice (10 ECTS)
TI6129: Field-Based Learning (20 ECTS)
TI6130: Research Project and Dissertation (30 ECTS)

Entry requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree at H2.1 in relevant subject and H2.2 overall; GPA 3.0, or equivalent international qualification. IELTS score of 6.5, or equivalent, if applicable. Selection is based on academic record, statement of intent and letters of recommendation. Prior learning via relevant work experience is also recognised.

Application dates

Closing Date
Please view the offer rounds website at https://www.universityofgalway.ie/postgrad-admissions/key-dates/

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Next start date September 2024
Closing Date Offers are made on a rolling basis.

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
MA-ESD graduates have gone on to work in key governmental, planning and public policy roles in their home countries, and in a wide range of UN agencies and other national and international NGOs. They have also added richly to the work of environmental agencies and specialist policy institutes throughout the globe, as well as pursuing PhD research in leading academic departments worldwide.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider