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Course content

Programme description

Ecological Economics focuses on how to make sustainability and environmental management work in practice by applying economic principles.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Graduates with postgraduate training in this area are in greater demand than ever before in business, industry and government.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

Programme structure

You will learn through lectures, group work, informal group discussion and individual study, as well as the spring study tour. After two semesters of taught courses, you will begin work on your individual dissertations. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of option courses to suit individual interests and career goals.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses^. We particularly recommend:

  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Project Appraisal
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Encountering Cities
  • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Introduction To Spatial Analysis
  • Principles of GIS
  • Society and Development
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Water Resource Management
  • Political Ecology
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Management of Sustainable Development
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Forests and Environment
  • Further Spatial Analysis
  • Integrated Resource Planning
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Introduction to Environmental Modelling
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Understanding the City

Courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change

Field trip

To experience and understand conflict between ecosystem conservation and human development needs at ground level, this programme typically includes a unique 7-10-day study tour, usually overseas and in the developing world (previous destinations have included South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania).

Career opportunities

Being able to identify ecological economic problems, and apply economic principles and methods to solve these problems is increasingly valued by employers.

Our graduates are working in a variety of sectors, including environmental consultancies; international and governmental agencies; NGOs; financial institutions; multinationals; environmental education and research.

Additionally around a quarter of our masters students go on to doctoral research programmes.

Student experience

Would you like to know what it’s really like to study at the School of GeoSciences?

Visit our student experience blog where you can find articles, advice, videos and ask current students your questions.


Visit the Ecological Economics - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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