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Full time & Part time September MSc 1 year full-time or 2-3 years part-time

About the course

Programme description

From the biodiversity crisis to the climate crisis, to the question of managing economies during a global pandemic - the topic of sustainability has never been more pressing.

The MSc Ecological Economics prepares you to contribute to solving sustainability problems by focusing on the intersection between the environment, the economy and economic decision-making. The programme aims to equip you with a new way of seeing the world, and to empower you to analyse how the economy and economic decisions affect our ability to progress towards a more sustainable future.

What will I learn?

The interdisciplinary nature of the programme links environmental, social and economic systems together, and focuses on the mutual dependences between them.

You will participate in sustainability

Read more about this course

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for individual programmes vary, so please check the details for the specific programme you wish to apply for on our website. You will also need to meet the University’s language requirements.


Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

Course Content

Where is University of Edinburgh


Student Profile(s)

Tillem Burlace

Nationality: Australian/Dutch

Profile: Experience in environment and climate change policy and programs, including nearly four years working as an economist and policy adviser with the Victorian Government (Australia) and one year working with a Vietnamese civil society organisation on sustainable forest management, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

I had the opportunity to work with Australia's Victorian Government developing climate change policy and helping to develop and implement an offset program for native vegetation. To broaden my understanding in this field, and to satisfy my desire to apply my skills more directly, I spent 12 months in Hanoi working with a Vietnamese civil society organisation. My primary role was to work with local communities to help them adapt and become more resilient to the changing climate - in particular, to more frequent and severe natural disasters. I also participated in a number of Vietnamese networks working to address climate change and develop the UN REDD+ (reduction in emissions in deforestation and forest degradation) pilot in Vietnam, and helped my organisation coordinate the Vietnamese non-government organisations’ Forest Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) network.

I decided to return to study because of my desire to spend time in an environment where I can learn and be mentored by experts with experience in my field who will challenge my approach and help me to focus in more detail on developing solutions to some of the issues I have come across. My deep desire to concentrate on the technical aspects of developing environmental policy led me to the decision to go back to university to study in more detail the economic mechanisms to create the right incentives for environmental and climate protection.

I believe that ecological economics offers a way to balance competing social, economic and environmental demands. Through environmental assessments, innovative cost-benefit analysis and by considering policy tools such as market-based instruments, it is possible to reveal the true trade-offs of our actions, helping to change the decision-making equation. I believe that by fully accounting for environmental costs and benefits we can create a system with the correct incentives where people are driven to do the right thing.

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