The EEP option is designed for students from all backgrounds with an interest in environmental economics and public policy.
It provides students with an ability to employ economic reasoning and an understanding of the importance of institutions and policy processes to the analysis of a broad range of national and international policy issues such as biodiversity protection, climate change, poverty/environment linkages and the management of renewable resources; an awareness of the institutional and policy context in which environmental economic solutions might be applied; working knowledge of a wide range of economic tools and project and policy evaluation methods; and a sound but critical understanding of environmental economics as a discipline including knowledge of the different paradigms of analysis in the field.
Environmental economics is now an indispensable part of the education of anyone dealing with environmental issues. As one of the fastest growing areas of research and study, its influence over environmental policymaking and practice is already widely recognised. For example, it has become commonplace to speak about green taxes, carbon trading mechanisms, environmental valuation and incentive design for sustainable development.
What are the underlying causes of tropical deforestation? How rapidly should we take action to deal with global warming? What is the most efficient way to tackle air pollution? Are consumers willing to pay more for cleaner fuels and technologies? These are some of the questions which environmental economics attempts to address, pointing to the need to link individual choices and patterns of behaviour to the underlying structure of the economy and its institutions. A central insight is that environmental degradation, far from being an incidental consequence of economic activity, is in many ways a central feature of the way production and consumption is currently organised. Economists are uniquely well placed to comment on, and offer analysis of, these linkages. At the same time, economists argue that solutions require systematic changes to the economic incentives which drive human behaviour in these domains, bringing about the shifts in production and consumption that are necessary for sustainable development.
The demand for individuals with a good grounding in environmental economics continues to grow. There are promising career opportunities in government, industry, consultancy and research for people able to apply economic ideas, concepts and methodologies to environmental problem-solving and policymaking. In drawing up this new Option, we have been concerned to offer a course which will educate and inspire individuals interested in a career in these fields. It aims to provide a broad but integrated survey of environmental economics as a field of study and assist students in developing an ability to think about and analyse environmental problems in economically-literate terms. By the conclusion of the course, students will have a sound understanding of the economic and institutional context for environmental policymaking and will be able to apply economic concepts to understanding, and prescribing solutions for, a wide range of environmental problems
The Option has been designed for students from all backgrounds with an interest in environmental economics and its applications. In terms of structure, it is divided into eleven thematic modules covering basic theory, tools and a range of applications:
Concepts: Initial lectures and small group sessions focus on the microeconomic foundations of environmental economics, looking at market processes and market failure, the theory of externalities and the concepts of public goods and open property resources.
Tools: The Option then goes on to examine the use of a range of economic tools and introduces students to some key techniques for data analysis. Topics covered in these modules include the design and implementation of market-based instruments, project appraisal and environmental valuation and the use of sustainable development indicators and green accounting. Students also receive training in quantitative and qualitative data analysis and in international environmental law.
Applications: The final set of teaching modules applies these economic concepts and tools to a series of environmental case studies in the fields of:
An essential feature of the Option, complementing, integrating and applying this lecture material, is small group project work. This is designed to develop a wide range of technical and analytical skills (project evaluation, data analysis, environmental valuation) and also organisational and communication skills (technical writing, oral presentations, team work). Finally, there is a series of specialist talks and seminars running through the term, in which invited speakers working in policymaking, industry and research give presentations on environmental economic and policy issues in the news.
There are excellent career opportunities for graduates who can combine training in environmental economics, good policy knowledge, proficiency in quantitative and qualitative methods and an ability to develop applications. Graduates from this Option are likely to find employment across a wide field, including environmental consultancy, advisory positions in commercial business and industry and careers as expert advisors in government, international institutions and environmental NGOs.
Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).
The MSc in Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change course places particular emphasis on recent global and regional environmental and climatic change, the scientific basis and limitations of models and data collection techniques. It combines the international research strengths of staff within the Departments of Geography and Biosciences around environmental and climate dynamics (processes and mechanisms involved in stability and change), marine and ecosystem biology, and environmental management and sustainable development.
Graduates from the Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change course will have extensive knowledge of the current scientific issues underpinning climate change and environmental and ecosystem dynamics, and the practical problem solving, ICT and communication skills required for a successful career in the environmental service industry, regulating bodies or academia.
Students of the MSc Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change at Swansea will benefit from exceptional computing facilities that include fifteen dual-processor workstations for Earth Observation, a 20-node multiprocessor Beowulf cluster, and the Department’s IBM ‘Blue Ice’ supercomputer, used mainly for climate and glaciological modelling.
The aims of the Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change programme are:
To provide advanced training in understanding the scientific issues associated with environmental dynamics and climatic change,
To provide graduates entering the environmental service industry or a regulating body with the required practical problem solving, ICT and communication skills; as well as a basic knowledge of current climate policy and environmental management,
To provide graduates continuing their academic career with the required subject specific and transferable skills.
Modules of the MSc Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change programme include:
Core Science Skills
Satellite Remote Sensing
Principles of Environmental Dynamics and Climatic Change
Please visit our website for a full description of modules for the Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change MSc.
The Stackpole residential field course introduces Environmental Dynamics and Climatic Change programme students taking the “Principles of Environmental Dynamics” to some of the major themes of the module: environmental systems, sea-level change and human impact on the environment, in a congenial setting in Pembrokeshire. The environmental issues facing the Stackpole Estate are discussed and placed into a historical perspective through lectures and the analysis of long term environmental records.
The Department of Geography aima to be one of the foremost international centres for research in human and physical geography, and to provide our students with excellent teaching and superb facilities in a friendly atmosphere.
The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 show that Geography at Swansea University is ranked joint 9th in the UK for research impact and 11th in the UK for research environment.
Research groups include:
Global Environmental Modelling and Earth Observation
Migration, Boundaries and Identity
Social Theory and Urban Space
We host a large community of postgraduate researchers studying for PhD degrees, and run one-year MRes, MSc and MA courses.
The Department of Geography is well-resourced to support research: there are two dedicated computer laboratories: One of 24 computers in conjunction with Library and Information Services (LIS) providing general IT software and programmes dedicated to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing; One of 10 high-performance Linux workstations delivering software tools for advanced GIS and remote sensing applications.
We have specialist laboratory suites for: stable-isotope ratio analysis; tree ring analysis; extraction and identification of organic compounds; pollen extraction and analysis; rainfall simulation; tephra analysis; soil and sediment characterisation.
In addition, we have recently spent £1.8million on state-of-the-art teaching spaces, including IT facilities, laboratories and flexible teaching spaces.
I originally came to Swansea University to study for a BSc in Geography. Although this course covered a wide range of both human and physical topics that were all very interesting and provided a broad spectrum of skills from GIS and remote sensing to environmental modelling, my main interest was in the physical aspects. I graduated in 2007 with a 1st Class BSc (Hons) in Geography and wanted to continue my studies into the field of climate change. I decided that the MSc in Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change would be an appropriate route to take in order to pursue this field. The MSc in Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change focused on many characteristics of the global environment, like impacts on ecosystems, and how the varying processes associated with climate change can be monitored, measured and modelled. This choice of topics was complimented by the fact that the modules were run by lecturers working at the cutting-edge of global environmental change. The culmination of what I learned over the course of the year was put into practice with the dissertation, which allowed me to focus on an area of particular interest. The group of friends that I had on the course were brilliant and I will take away a lot of fond memories of our time together at Swansea. Now, after finishing the MSc in Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change I have a job working for the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton".
David Hamersley, MSc Environmental Dynamics and Climate Change
This programme gives you a solid grounding in issues key to the sustainable development debate. The views of stakeholders such as business groups, environmentalists, government agencies and development institutions will be considered.
You will acquire the necessary skills to evaluate existing frameworks, inquire into environmental issues in organisations and industries, and develop sensitive business practices.
The programme provides excellent preparation for any corporate-focused environmental career. It provides a route to graduate membership of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment. We encourage you to read about the past and present student experiences of our environment and sustainability programmes.
This programme is studied full-time over 12 months and part-time for up to 60 months. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Professional practical skills
Key / transferable skills
Several high-profile guest lecturers have assisted with the delivery of some of the modules. CES modules make maximum use of guest lecturers, drawing on the practical skills and experience of key experts from government and industry to complement the theoretical components of the modules offered.
For example, Jonathon Porritt, former chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, gives a guest lecture on the Sustainable Development Applications module, analysing the standing of sustainable development in business and policy making.
The extensive expertise of CES academics and researchers is also drawn upon in modules. Professor Tim Jackson, advisor to the government and international bodies and author of the seminal book, Prosperity without Growth – economics for a finite planet–also lectures on some CES modules.
Full-time students are able to undertake an industrial placement module which enables them to spend six to twelve weeks working for a company or NGO, doing the type of work they will aim to find on graduation.
Examples of organisations at which recent industrial placements have taken place include:
Graduates go on to a diverse range of careers implementing sustainable development and dealing with the real environmental challenges facing humanity.
Recent examples include working as an energy efficiency officer for a local government, an environmental officer in multi-national chemical company, a sustainability advisor for a national television / radio station, an environmental consultant for an engineering consultancy, and a programme officer with a sustainability charity.
Other graduates use the research skills they developed to go on and do PhDs.
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
The Pollution Management option focuses on the interface and interaction between science, technology, and policy in the environment. There is an emphasis on local issues, but these are inescapably set within the context of regional and global developments. We draw on best practice in the UK and Western Europe, applied not only here but also in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.
In Western Europe and North America, many short-range pollution problems of past decades have been solved, but business and industry find themselves operating in an environment where the public and government demand ever more stringent environmental standards. Other parts of the world might be seen as following some way behind this trend and learning from it, including where examples of acute local and regional pollution remain in a context of a pressing need for rapid socio-economic development. Globalisation is an additional, external source of pressure on every nation to meet the highest environmental standards that are increasingly prevalent elsewhere. In many cases, however, developing countries have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. In particular, the trend of the past was for environmental protection to be an expensive luxury. Today, it is possible to find a different and more efficient path to a better quality of life for everyone, now and in the future, by protecting the environment in a way that leads simultaneously to an increase in economic prosperity. There is therefore continued growth in demand for graduates with expertise in pollution management:
Responses to pollution at least must reassure the public it is safe, or allow adaptation to or protection from its effects. A better approach is to control concentrations of a pollutant in the environment, but the best solution is to prevent its formation in the first place.
Integrated Pollution, Prevention and Control is a major development in this area, pioneered in the UK and now led by the European Union, bringing together management, planning, and communication as well as end-of-pipe technological solutions. But this needs to mesh with other kinds of regulatory and voluntary initiatives, especially where non-industrial sources of pollution including transport and agriculture make an important contribution, in more and less developed countries alike.
The Option is divided into six modules, covering all the major areas of environmental concern, and there is a significant interdisciplinary element throughout, reflecting the philosophy of the MSc as a whole. They should not be considered as stand-alone, but should be seen as a closely integrated whole:
Environment and Health
Air Pollution and Climate Control
Waste and Resource Management
Environmental Decision Making and Tools
Environmental Pollution and Assessment
Water Technology and Pollution
The majority of the graduates enter environmental consultancy both in the UK and abroad usually within the risk assessment and contaminated land areas. A second path of graduates is to regulatory agencies/government bodies such as the Environment Agency of England & Wales and the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Other paths have included further study, the retail sector and banking. To date, the Option has had an excellent track record of employment with over 90% of graduates employed within 12 months of completing the MSc.
• PhD, Technical University of Athens
• Projects Manager, British Council, Brazil
• Environmental Health Officer, London Borough of Newham
• Assistant Director, Science & Technology Division, Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment Malaysia
• Field Engineer, Schlumberger (Angola)
• Senior Consultant, Arthur D. Little
• General Director, Environmental Management, Environment Ministry, Mexico
• Partner and Director of UK Environmental Services, Price Waterhouse Coopers
• Technical Director, Stanger Science & Technology
• Senior Lecturer, Roehampton University
• Quality Control Engineer, Chiyoda Corporation, Doha, Qatar
• Head of Environmental Audit, Body Shop International
• Head of Solid Waste Control, Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department