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Past Questions

  1. Hello, I am really interested in your MSc but was curious as to your employment plans once you graduate? I am passionate about the environment but I am concerned about employment after completing such a Masters. Thank you!


    Thanks so much for your question. I am looking to go into consulting following my graduation. This MSc gives you skills and knowledge transferable to a variety of jobs, so don't worry too much about finding one. For example, research and analytical skills, critical thinking, and communication are important for most graduate roles. What sort of jobs were you looking to get post-masters?

  2. Hello Vida,

    1. How many lectures do you normally attend each week and do you only attend lectures in the winter and spring terms? 2. Is it correct that there are around 20 teaching weeks each year? 3. I have seen that part of the course fees will be 'given back' to you to help fund any overseas research - but there seems to be no indication of how this works in practice, can you advise? 4. How many academic assignments do you have to submit during the course?

    Many thanks.


    Thank you so much for your questions! 1. It is 4 lectures - 3 academic and one related to study skills or dissertation skills. The lectures are an hour long and then we have two hours for the seminar. However, contact hours will be changing slightly from next year in response to covid, but you will still have about 12 in a week.

    2. Yes, there are 20 teaching weeks plus two reading weeks (after the fifth week in each term). They are spread across two terms, from October to late March, and then we get a spring break and then exams.

    3. The £1500 is not given back per say, but you are allowed to claim for costs accrued during your dissertation fieldwork (travel, accommodation, visas etc). The money cannot be used for things like books or conferences. In terms of my cohort, since no one is doing fieldwork this year we will not be using this money at all.

    4. The number of assignments varies depending on the module combination you choose so I really wouldn't be able to say, but it is usually 2 to 3 assignments per module + the dissertation.

    I hope this helps! Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have.


  3. Hi, I’m so glad I came across your page on the Birmingham uni website. I’ve been contemplating applying for the MSc in Environmental Development and Politics for a while now. Perhaps you can tell me if you think I would be suitable to the course.

    I have an undergraduate degree in music, but over the last few years have become really passionate about the environment. More specifically, zero-waste alternatives, habitat loss, and animal species decline. I would love to go abroad and study the polar bears and ice loss in Svalbard, and I suppose the dissertation might allow me to do that! I don’t specifically have any science background, or politics, would that stop me from being a potential student? I just want to be able to go out and make a difference in the world, and to do that I think this Masters would provide me with the basis for exactly that!

    Thank you in advance :)


    Thank you for your query and apologies for taking so long in getting back to you.

    I have friends on the course who did English Literature, Ecology, Law, History, and a number of other diverse courses. I don't think it is a problem if your undergraduate degree is not directly related to politics, as long as you can demonstrate you have work or voluntary experience that backs up your interest in sustainable development and poverty reduction. If you don't yet have this experience I would recommend you find a voluntary role or a job related to the MSc. As long as you can link your experience and interests to the course I am sure you will be fine!

    Best wishes with your application, Vida

  4. During a time when jobs are very limited, would you recommend undertaking a postgraduate in this field straight after an undergraduate?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    When you decide to undertake postgraduate study is very much a personal decision! Some people like moving on straight from undergrad so they can continue with education with no break, but others like the break and want to get some experience or earn some money before going back to uni. I appreciate that now it's more uncertain than ever in terms of job prospects but my advice would be that if you want to go into postgrad study, make sure you are passionate about doing it as it will be a challenging course!

    I hope this helps, PG Recruitment

  5. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    Honestly, there are so many issues the world and its ecosystems face, that I couldn't not get involved in some way. I have always had an interest in sustainability and found lectures on environmental harm and climate change related conspiracy theories particularly interesting. I needed a postgraduate degree to back up job applications I might make in the international development field. In addition, I just wanted to learn more about sustainable development - I was really curious about it and thought this course would provide me with a fantastic learning opportunity.

  6. What, for you, are the best things about the course?

    Academically, the best thing is that we are taught by experts, who always relate the taught material to their own experience, or in some way help us apply theory to real world scenarios. It is a very applied subject. I also love the structure of having a lecture and a seminar, as that wasn't the case in my previous institution, so I enjoy being able to have small group discussions. Lastly, the degree is really changing my perspective on widely discussed issues, such as poverty or migration, and how power impacts opportunity.

    Socially, I love the people! My peers are all friendly, smart, engaged, and overall wonderful. The lecturers are helpful and make lectures interesting.

  7. What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

    Do it! People come to this course/ field from all sorts of backgrounds, from Politics to English Literature and Law. My top tips are tailored for students who are worried about not having enough relevant experience to back up an application, as that is the situation I was in. However, I do think these can be useful to anyone: 1. Learn to link existing experience/ skills/ education to the course. For example, if you have volunteered for a homeless charity, you can talk about poverty and inequality and how you want to learn about them more academically. Any degree will give you research skills, ability to critically engage with material, and time management, so mention those as well. If you studied society in some way through your course, you can link this to an International Development masters here at UoB.

    2. Talk about what you want to learn and why. Mention a specific optional module or activity that grabbed your attention on the UoB website, and why you are interested in it, plus what you may have already done to learn more about the topic (e.g. read a book, watched a documentary etc.). But keep it mostly academic and related to work experience if possible.

    3. Don't be scared of a gap year! I took one and worked in recruitment. Take some time to figure out what you want out of your life and gain some experience before you undertake postgraduate study. Also, it's always good to save money since PG study keeps you busy, and you probably won't be able to work more than 15 hours per week.

    4. Get voluntary experience to supplement your education, if you didn't study a course that is more directly linked to your PG course. This doesn't have to be abroad, it can be in a local charity or NGO.

    5. Attend Open Days to get a feel for the universities you are considering, even if it is just a virtual open day.

    6. Don't underestimate the educational value of books, documentaries, podcasts, films... The more you know about a field of study, the better you can articulate why you want to study it. Useful sources I would recommend for anyone interested in international politics and (sustainable) development are The Boy who Harnessed the Wind (on Netflix), BBC Earth, The Daily, and Brexitcast/ Electioncast podcasts, and of course anything David Attenborough does.