Skip to main content

Global Futures: Justice, Development and Sustainability

Thank you for considering an application

Please click here to login and apply, or view your application.

Applicant Portal

Need help? Explore our How to Apply Page?

Global Futures: Justice, Development and Sustainability

MSc

The initial application deadline for this course is 1 June 2024. Further detail here.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £10,600

International/EU fees**: £20,500

The course

Global Futures: Justice, Development and Sustainability (MSc)

Interest in what the future holds for sustainable development and global justice has never been so intense: the UN climate change summits, the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Social Forum are just some of the arenas seeking to lead the way on future environmental and development agendas globally. An MSc in Global Futures: Justice, Development and Sustainability at Royal Holloway, University of London equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle these era-defining issues, learning from expert academics with experience in Latin America, the Caribbean, South, East and South-East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the polar regions.

Study the MSc in Global Futures: Justice, Development and Sustainability at Royal Holloway and you’ll learn to tackle issues that are high on the national and international agenda, graduating with excellent employability prospects in the UK and abroad. Whether you are still an undergraduate or someone already in a professional career, graduates of this course will gain a Masters of Science in a discipline offering excellent employability prospects. During the programme, you’ll benefit from networking and placement opportunities with leading organisations and institutions, and enjoy exciting field working opportunities.

In the Department of Geography you’ll join a vibrant research community (ranked 5th in the UK for research excellence in the most recent REF2021 assessment) and contribute to our renowned research culture with your own independent dissertation project. In particular, you will work with the leading researchers based in our Department of Geography’s Geopolitics, Development, Security and Justice (GDSJ) research group, which currently consists of over 20 research-active staff and 35 PhD students committed to conducting collaborative research which seeks to understand and contribute to addressing problems of social inequality, environmental destruction and injustice.

Engage with some of the most profound challenges of our times in this exciting Masters degree.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Term 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key social and environmental relationships, incorporating contemporary issues in the geographies of sustainability. You will look at the concept of 'risk society', sustainable cities, and the impacts of corporate sector activities on the environment. You will consider the challenges to sustainable development at household and community levels, with a focus on community-based approaches to sustainable development.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of research methods used for exploring the social sciences. You will look at the key methods used by social scientists, with teaching delivered by those who have practical experience in their field. You will look at the research process and explore research beyond the field, becoming familiar with the practical considerations of a range of methods, their benefits and challenges, their epistemological basis, and their ethics.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how your cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. You will critically reflect on the role of impact and knowledge exchange in the contemporary academy, examining how you may put your cultural geographic ideas into practice. 

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.

     

Term 2
  • This module aims to address some of the potential issues this world faces from a cutting edge geographical perspective. These topics include climate change, political division, and technological revolutions. The module is split into sessions, titled Earth Futures, Secure Futures, Just Futures, and Creative Futures. 

  • This module explores several methods that reflect upon the rest of the program. These methods include creative methods, archiving and interpretation, and participatory methods.

  • You will undertake an independent volunteer project which will give you practical experience in gaining sustainability related work experience. The project will enhance your employability and provide an opportunity to gain practical experience of organisational objectives, cultures and practices.

Term 3
  • You will write a 15,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice. Guided by an advisor, you will develop your research topic over the course of the year and will design and conduct original research in order to produce an original research report.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key ideas in cultural geography. You will look at themes such as place, space, body, landscape, time, mobilities, economy, nature, mapping and exploration. You will consider the history of key ideas within culutral geography and their current state, examining the intersections between substantive themes and their future development. You will be supported by an advisor who will help you to criticically reflect on your intellectual interests.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical concepts and thinkers at the heart of the study of geopolitics and security. You will look at the key objects, sites and agents of geopolitics and security, looking at the historical evolution and contemporary theorisation of these. You will explore the coeval development of geopolitics and security studies, considering post-structuralist theory in the early 1990s and the development of critical and popular geopolitics and securitisation theory. You will examine the conversations between geopolitics and security studies, and analyse the deepening and widening of these debates through object-centred philosophy, material relations and limits of representation.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key social and environmental relationships, incorporating contemporary issues in the geographies of sustainability. You will look at the concept of 'risk society', sustainable cities, and the impacts of corporate sector activities on the environment. You will consider the challenges to sustainable development at household and community levels, with a focus on community-based approaches to sustainable development.

  • This module aims to introduce students to how their cultural geography learning is relevant beyond the academy. It does so through a series of practical seminars that lay the ground work for a series of social media engagement activities the student will develop with other students in the group and led by staff members and external creative professionals.

     

  • Politics of Protest
  • This module aims to introduce students to new conceptualizations of identity, difference, power, and politics that are associated most notably with what has been termed “Post-Marxist” or “New Left” politics and political philosophy.  Its premise is that recent changes in both political theory and practice – some of which are associated with changes linked to globalization and the emergence of new social movements – are compelling a paradigm shift in the way politics is understood.  It will focus on four concepts – identity, power, resistance, and otherness – that have become salient in contemporary political philosophy and international relations theory and on four theorists – Althusser, Gramsci, Laclau & Mouffe, and Foucault – whose thought on these issues has underpinned a great deal of “New Left” political theory and practice.  It will also look at how these issues and theories have become prominent in the theory and politics around feminism and lesbian politics and at new problematics for thinking about political thought and practice, with particular focus on what has been called the “micropolitical” realm.

  • In this module you will examine the theories, concepts and issues surrounding the role of media in war and conflict in the early twenty-first century. The post-9/11 global security situation and the 2003 Iraq war have prompted a marked increase in interest in questions concerning media, war and conflict, and you look at the relationships between media, governments, military, and audiences/publics, in light of old, new, and potential future security events. You will develop an understanding of the theories of media effects in conflict situations, covering a number of important themes, including embedding, sanitisation, legitimacy, and terrorism and publicity. You will explore the role of ethics, technology, and professional norms that inform war reporting, analysing a range of media with consideration for conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in light of ongoing conflicts around the world.

  • This module engages with a selection of recent work by major political thinkers from a variety of intellectual approaches The focus is on an examination of some of influential recent work in political theory, along with critical commentary on them. We’ll be looking at issues such as hate speech, shaming punishments, recognition, immigration, multiculturalism, partiality towards compatriots and global justice. The module requires a commitment to read selections from the texts we’ll be analysing, aided by seminars where we’ll be discussing their ideas, arguments and themes.

  • Democracy and Citizenship in Europe
  • This module provides an overview of some of the key concepts and thinkers in Anglo-American political theory today. Specifically, it examines the themes of freedom, feminism, and democracy, and writers including Berlin, Rawls, Nozick, Sandel and Okin.

  • In this module you will examine why people vote for different political parties, and how their behavior is shaped by the mobilization strategies of political parties and institutional arrangements. You will learn how social divisions are translated into political visions, and how the mechanisms of accountability and representation operate in different political and economic contexts. You will develop an understanding of how campaigns shape voting behavior and influence the criteria citizens use in deciding how to vote, see how these patterns have changed over time, and be able to identify the main factors that shape electoral behavior and election outcomes across western democracies.

  • This module introduces you to international public policy as a field of contested policy authority in a globalized world. You will develop an understanding of how, at its core, international public policy is about addressing global collective action problems in policy areas as different as trade, migration, financial regulation, economic development and environment. You will discuss key aspects of contemporary international public policy making, including global public goods and the problem of global commons; the theories and empirics of global public management; the role of international agencies, global networks and global public-private partnerships in producing policy outcomes; and dynamics of policy transfer, diffusion and global best practice. You will look at a number of practical examples from various policy fields and levels, from both Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD contexts.

  • This module explores key development challenges faced across developing countries and is divided into three sections. The first critically examines some of the major concepts, paradigms, and theories, which have attempted to define what development is, how and why it occurs (or does not), and to whose benefit. The second focuses on some of the key development challenges faced by developing countries: economic (poverty, inequality, unemployment), political (democracy, human rights, role of elites), social (religion, race/ethnicity/caste, urbanisation), and natural (climate change, pollution, resource extraction, extermination of species). The final section explores possible remedies to these issues through international cooperation (trade, aid, finance, South-South cooperation), national policies (welfare schemes, laws and regulations), and micro and informal solutions.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the methodological and substantive debates and issues that shape the study of conflict. You look at the conceptual and practical issues and problems involved in conflict studies, and consider the central political issues and conflicts within and among the countries of the Middle East, and how these have historically developed. You will also examine the main international, transnational and domestic forces that affect the conduct of their internal and external affairs.

  • This module introduces you to the inter-relationship between politics and socio-economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines both how political factors influence  poverty, inequality, and economic growth, and how socio-economic factors--in turn--shape the political trajectories of sub-Saharan African nations. It explores the following 'big' questions: What does development mean? Why are some countries poor, repressive, and violent? How does globalisation influence development in sub-Saharan Africa? How do historical institutions influence development in sub-Saharan Africa? To what extent does gender equality, urbanisation, and corruption influence development in sub-Saharan African, and vice versa? To what extent does foreign aid and humanitarianism promote development in sub-Saharan Africa, and what role should it play in the future?
  • The Global Politics of Food Security
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the modern history of West Asia, looking at countries such as Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. You will look at how the politics of these countries can be interpreted, considering events such as the Cold War, the War on Terror, Pan-Arabism, the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Arab Spring, and the rise of the Islamic State. You will also explore the specific constellation of national, societal, and individual-level factors that shape the politics of West Asian countries and sub-regions, such as the Persian Gulf Monarchies and the Levant.

  • This module looks into how political communication strategies play an important role in shaping and monitoring government actions. The course examines the relationship between media, campaigns, government and citizens’ ad different stages of the political cycle. From the formulation of coherent campaigns to be elected for office and the definition of public problems and agenda setting, to the implementation and evaluation of policies and during crisis.

     

Assessment is by coursework only. Formative feedback and detailed ongoing discussion of work before final submission is a central part of the teaching ethos of the course. Students also have significant autonomy in the selection of topics for coursework and dissertation allowing them to develop particular interests and specialisms.

Each module has a specific assessment as follows:

  • Key Concepts in Justice, Development and Sustainability – 5000 word essay (20 credits)
  • Research Methods for Social Science – group presentation and 2000 word dissertation proposal (20 credits)
  • Social Media & Audiencing – blog posts and a podcast or video (20 credits)
  • Global Futures – 5000 word manifesto (20 credits)
  • Advanced Research Methods for Global Futures – 5000 word workshop report (20 credits)
  • Placements, Volunteering and Scenarios – 3000 word diarised report (20 credits)
  • Dissertation – 15000 word dissertation (60 credits)

Please note, these modules are currently provisional and are subject to module validation.

2:2

Geography, Politics, International Relations, English, History and Classics, Sociology and Philosophy. Other disciplines may be considered.

Candidates with professional qualifications or relevant professional experience in an associated area will also be considered.

International & EU requirements

English language requirements

MSc Global Futures: Justice, Development and Sustainability requires:

  • IELTS 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0 No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 61. No other subscore lower than 54.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
  • TOEFL ib: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
  • Duolingo: 120 overall, 135 in literacy and Production. No subsscore below 100. 

Graduates of this course will possess in-depth social scientific research skills and critical knowledge of contemporary geographic issues. Also, there is the opportunity to develop important public engagement skills, as well as to undertake placements and volunteer work in external institutions. The department has excellent links with a range of national and international charities, business and NGOs. These are actively used during the teaching of the course (via external speakers and field visits), and so students gain first hand experience and invaluable networks with this broad range of specialist institutions.

As such this is ideal preparation for careers in a wide-range of sectors including consultancy, government research, charities, intelligence, think tanks and private businesses. 

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £10,600

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £20,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration). This means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year.

** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more 

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.