Global Energy and Climate Policy (MSc)


Discover the change in global energy systems and how you can get involved at career level with this distance-learning MSc degree.

The MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy provides a detailed understanding of the transformative change in energy systems now under way around the world. It introduces you to key energy sources, the policies to regulate them, energy and climate governance and diplomacy, and the geopolitics of energy.

The focus of the programme is on policy and policymaking in the energy and climate space as the key to enabling change and creating a regulatory environment in which the low-carbon energy systems of the future can flourish. The MSc treats energy and climate change policy as inextricably linked, taking an integrated approach to the study of the two fields. Case studies are drawn from developed, newly-industrialised and developing country contexts.

Programme aims

The MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy will enable you to acquire the knowledge, understanding, skills and aptitudes necessary to proceed to careers in a range of professional contexts within energy and/or climate change policy and related fields, while also providing the learning opportunities to enable you, as a postgraduate student, to acquire the interdisciplinary knowledge to undertake further advanced studies and research in the area of global energy and climate policy.

The programme introduces you to key energy sources and how they are regulated. It also analyses energy and climate governance and discusses the geopolitics of energy.

Programme details

  You study Study period Cost (2017-18)
MSc 4 x 30 credit modules
1 x 60 credit dissertation
2 years £10,000

Further context: the consequence of climate change

The ways in which energy is produced, managed and consumed in the 21st century are fundamentally changing. A global low-carbon transition will mean a shift away from incumbent fossil energy sources, greater investment in new energy infrastructure, a more efficient use of energy and resources, smarter grids and more distributed power generation.

Much of this change has been driven by the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to a level consistent with a 2°C (1.5°C) stabilisation pathway. Current and future impacts of anthropogenic climate change pose serious risks to ecosystems, infrastructure, economic development and prosperity, and human well-being. Addressing them requires effective international diplomacy, the mobilization of large amounts of finance and, critically, stakeholders at all levels of political authority to understand what is at stake and take decisive action.


The MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy is developed by the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS, University of London.

The centre promotes cross-disciplinary teaching that combines the distinctive expertise of SOAS with cutting-edge research and public discussion of international politics.

Career enhancement

As a graduate of this programme, you’ll acquire the necessary skills to work in a range of sectors involved in analysis and/or policymaking concerning energy and climate change.

You’ll also gain expertise in evaluating source materials, boosting your transferable skills that will be of value to any future or current profession.

How you study

As a distance-learning student, you study using a Virtual Learning Environment.

You’ll receive access to:

  • Learning materials and course resources at any time so you can fit your studies around your existing commitments.
  • Specific materials for each module.
  • The SOAS and University of London online library facilities.

A key component of the student experience will be peer-to-peer learning, which takes place through dedicated discussion forums.

Your time commitment

We expect that the vast majority of students will take two years to complete the degree. There will be two sixteen-week study sessions plus two dissertation study sessions during a calendar year.

You should expect to devote between 10-15 hours a week to your studies during these periods.

Summary of key dates

Global Energy & Climate Policy
Application deadline 30 September 2017 31 March 2018
Start of session 17 October 2017 17 April 2018
End of session 09 February 2018 TBC



Core modules

Global Energy and Climate Policy

You will study the key themes and approaches in the study of global energy and climate policy as two closely interrelated global challenges. You will investigate international regime formation and diplomatic landscapes in the energy and climate change fields, analyse the geopolitical dimensions of energy supply and demand, and examine regulatory approaches to cutting greenhouse gases.

Global Public Policy

Gain an understanding of public policy making in a context of intensifying globalisation and transnational political contestation. You will undertake rigorous and critical analysis of policy and the complex processes by which it is formulated, adopted and implemented.

Dissertation - Global Energy and Climate Policy

This is an opportunity for students to produce a sustained piece of individual, academic research on their chosen topic within the field of (global) energy and/or climate policy under the guidance of one of CISD’s expert academics.

Elective modules

The Art of Negotiation

This module provides students with an understanding of three interrelated elements of Diplomacy. The first is the key concepts of diplomacy, the second is the institutional development from the Renaissance to World War II, and the third looks at the development of Consular Services and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The main part of the module then looks closely at the 'art of negotiation'. Beginning with a consideration of strategy and tactics, it proceeds through the main stages of negotiations, takes in diplomatic momentum en route, and concludes with an examination of the 'packaging' of diplomatic agreements.

America and the World: US Foreign Policy

You will examine the various approaches to the study and understanding of American foreign policy. Beginning with an introduction to relevant literature and influences, the module goes on to address US foreign policy-making process. Case-studies will be included, covering both the Cold War and post-Cold War eras. The course will culminate in an assessment of the nature, extent and likely development of American global power.

Diplomatic Systems

You will learn about the conditions in which diplomacy is stimulated and the nature of different diplomatic systems that arise as a result of variations in these conditions. You will also study historical and contemporary case studies from Byzantium to Ancient Greece and from the French system to a transatlantic system of diplomacy.

Global International Organisation: United Nations in the World

Examine the context of the United Nations (UN) and the UN system within other International Organisations (IOs). You will examine the ways in which International Organisations came into being and how they evolved into the United Nations Organisation in 1945. Learn how the UN system has changed in recent years, and what the short and medium-term effect of these changes are likely to be with particular attention on peacekeeping, collective security, and human rights.

International Economics

Learn about the theory of international economics and become familiar with the practice of international economic relations through the study of current policy debates about the workings of the contemporary international economy.

International History and International Relations

You will analyse the major debates in the disciplines of international history and international relations. The course is structured thematically, allowing for an interlinked analytical and narrative account of international studies to be presented.

International Security

Focusing on developments since the end of the Cold War, you will be given the analytical tools to think critically and independently about the nature of contemporary international security. You will consider a range of contemporary security issues including terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq War and the future of the Middle East, and the prospects for peace and security in the 21st century.

Muslim Minorities in a Global Context

This module gives students an insight into the diversity of Muslim minority communities at a time when political shifts in Muslim majority countries – such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and across the MENA region – have put Muslim minorities into the spotlight and impacted upon their relationship with their host countries.

The module traces the emergence and development of Muslim minorities in both Western and non-Western contexts, and examines how Muslims have forged new identities as they have negotiated their places within their host societies. The objective of the module is to enable students to understand the interconnecting variables with respect to class, gender and regional location, as well as religious interpretation and practice, which have resulted in issues arising uniquely within different Muslim minority communities. They will consider the ways in which Muslim minorities impact national policies in non-Muslim states and engage with terms such as ‘integration’, ‘assimilation’, ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘islamophobia’ within different contexts. The course includes an historical overview of Muslim migrations, aspects of civil society, the interaction of Muslim laws and the state laws of various jurisdictions, and the role of the media in shaping Muslims’ relationship with their host environment. 

Sport and Diplomacy

Since the era of the ancient Olympic Games, sporting competition has assisted human societies in mediating estrangements, resolving conflict and sublimating competitive urges. You will analyse how sports and diplomacy interrelate and consider how international sporting institutions have functioned as non-state actors in diplomacy, from antiquity to the present day.

Strategic Studies

The area of strategic studies is increasingly relevant in light of conflicts in the past decade in Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. You will address a range of strategic influences such as power and force, asymmetric/irregular warfare, and the role of security providers such as NATO. The relationship between strategy and policy will be explored through a series of case studies including US involvement in Vietnam and conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Study materials

How you study

This programme is based on a proven model of Distance Learning delivery that places the student experience at the centre of our collective endeavours.

The programme’s design is particularly structured to draw out the relevant working experience of students during their studies on the programme.

Students take one subject module at a time which is studied over a sixteen-week study session.

There will be two sixteen-week study sessions plus two dissertation study sessions during a calendar year. Support and feedback for students will be available from your dedicated Associate Tutor. Your expectation should be to graduate within a 2-year time period.

The programme will employ a range of innovative and engaging student-focused assessments appropriate to the distance learning mode of delivery.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

You will be able to access all learning materials through the VLE including:
  • Current module materials
  • Learning activities (E-tivities) specifically designed to meet the module learning outcomes
  • The University of London Online Library
  • A dedicated Associate Tutor to facilitate student learning.


Fees may be paid in one of two ways:

  • Either, pay the total fee on registration by making a single payment for all the module fees.
  • Or, if you prefer to spread out your payments, pay the fee for each module you want to take in the first year, and then in subsequent years pay the fee for each new module you take.

Fees are subject to annual review. The 2017-18 fees take effect from 1 August 2017.

Fee per module£ 2,500
Total MSc£ 10,000
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Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for

  • the fee charged to your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.


If you are a UK or EU national and you have lived in England for three years, you could be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan.


Fees are subject to annual revision and typically may be increased by up to 5% per annum. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.


Student learning is intimately linked to assessment in the programme to ensure students do as well as they can.

Each module with the exception of the Dissertation module, will be assessed by the completion of six e-tivities*.

The tasks and weightings for each e-tivity for a module are as follows:

  • E-tivity 1: Access and socialisation – 0%
  • E-tivity 2: Library information retrieval – 5%
  • E-tivity 3: Literature critique (directed) – 5%
  • E-tivity 4: Essay proposal – 15%
  • E-tivity 5: Literature critique (bespoke) – 5%
The sixth e-tivity in each module will be assessed in the form of  a 4000 – 5000 word  coursework essay submitted via Turnitin.
The grade awarded for the module is based on the mark obtained in the written coursework submission (e-tivity 6) and on the combined mark for the e-tivities on the module. The ratio of the written coursework to continuous assessment (e-tivities 1-5) is 70:30.
The assessment for all modules is progressive and designed to be completed in sequence.
The Dissertation is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of not more than 15,000 words which will account for 85% of the grade awarded for the module. The remaining 15% of the module grade will be based on the mark obtained for a 1,500 word research proposal.
*an 'E-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format which states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' - Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.

Academic Requirements

In order to be considered for admission as an International Programmes student, applicants must also submit an application that is in accordance with the procedures and deadlines set out on the CISD website

To be registered for the MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy, an applicant must have, either:

• in a relevant discipline, a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree from a UK university or other institution

acceptable to the University, or an equivalent international qualification (qualifications in other subjects will be assessed on their merits)


• in a relevant discipline, previous education and experience without a UK Bachelor’s degree, or international equivalent, that satisfies the University and has included suitable preliminary training.

Applications will be welcome from applicants with unconventional career paths and consideration will be given to work experience.

Language Requirements

For all of our modules you are required to have a high level of English language ability in reading and writing and in study skills.

If your first degree was not taught in English, you will need to provide evidence of language ability as tested by the British Council or another registered body. This is equivalent to a score of 7.0 overall in the IELTS test, or 7.0 in both reading and writing.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities, and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: 

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader.

Certain courses may have addtional requirements, such as:

  • Microphone and speakers
  • software to manage spreadsheets and run macros
  • software for playing mp3 and mp4 files.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Academic leaders

Global Energy and Climate - Academic leadership

Lead College

The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at SOAS, University of London, is committed to the promotion of excellence in teaching, scholarship and research, the development of applied international studies and to ensuring that its work impacts key international debates.

The mission of CISD is to promote cross-disciplinary teaching that combines the distinctive expertise of SOAS with cutting-edge research and public discussion of international politics in a globalising world. The Centre's research on corporate governance, on disarmament and globalisation and on the origins and future of the United Nations exemplify this approach.

SOAS offers an education that goes beyond the Euro-centre approach that has dominated such programmes in the past. It is able to do this because the width and depth of its scholarly resources make it the leading centre for the study of Asia and Africa in Europe.

If you are interested in developing an international career and are seeking a professionally relevant postgraduate programme, we hope what we offer will be of value.

Your Academic and Support staff

You will have a dedicated Associate Tutor who will work with you and your fellow students throughout the modules you take. At no point will you be without someone to assist you on your learning journey.

The Programme Director, Dr Harald Heubaum, will act as your Personal Tutor throughout your studies.

For more information about Dr Heubaum, please visit the CISD website.

Academic leaders

Dr Harald Heubaum

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)

Dr Heubaum is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Global Energy and Climate Policy at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD), SOAS, University of London. His research focuses on organizational change and innovation in global energy and climate governance, energy and climate policy in the Asia-Pacific and Europe, low-carbon cities and urban resource management, and low-carbon finance. He convenes CISD’s MSc degree in Global Energy and Climate Policy both online and on-campus.


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