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Environment & Development - MSc


Course Description

Programme description

The MSc in Environment and Development (E&D) is an interdisciplinary programme exploring the inter-dependencies between pressing environmental concerns and development pressures. It explores these themes, the disputes around it and practical issues from an informed theoretical perspective, with an abiding concern for social justice claims. Conventional academic approaches focus on development or the environment as separate categories, while this programme looks at socioeconomic development as a socio-ecological and politicoecological process.

In particular this E&D programme focuses on:

  • grounding students in an awareness of the contested development paradigm;
  • inculcating an awareness of economic, political and cultural links between environmental change and social inclusion.

Those issues will be studied at the local and national level, but also taking into account the global scale of environmental and development agendas. In many cases the root causes of inequality and poverty, both in the Global South and in the Global North, are driven by regional or global economics far beyond the borders of a particular country, village or region.

The programme will teach you to critically evaluate the multiple dimensions of the relationship between development and the environment. Teaching, fieldwork, group and practical exercises will use examples of relevance to Northern and Southern countries.

The breadth and depth of the School of GeoSciences enables students to explore a variety of environment and development issues relevant to the programme: e.g. biophysical dynamics, food insecurity, environmental governance, river basin management, cultural studies, climate change, multiple scarcities and inequalities, gender and development,etc. Students are challenged to cultivate research thinking that is cross-cutting and globally relevant, but also grounded in cases that focus on particular issues, places or systems, providing insights to effective solutions.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Development Academy.

Programme structure

This MSc consists of two semesters of taught courses. Students take two compulsory and four option courses, each a balance of lectures, seminars, workshops and visits, followed by an individual dissertation.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Development: Principles and Practices
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

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

  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Energy & Society
  • Energy Policy and Politics
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Forests and Environment
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Gender and Development
  • Global Environment and Society
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Governing Mineral Extraction in Africa
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Integrated Resource Planning
  • International Political Economy
  • Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices
  • Interrelationships in Food Systems
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Political Ecology
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of Geographical Information Science
  • Research Design in Human Geography
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • South Asia: Roots of Poverty and Development
  • The International Politics of Money
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Water Resource Management

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

Career opportunities

This programme is suitable for students seeking roles within international and national development agencies, thinktanks, NGOs, environmental consultancies or the private sector, or those going on to PhD research.

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 Environment & Development - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Felicity Tolley

I graduated from University of Bristol in 2013 with a BSc in Environmental Geoscience, where I also worked as a researcher within the Ocean Acidification group in the Palaeontology department. My undergraduate degree provided me with an extensive understanding of the physical processes and changes that can occur in the environment, while also giving me the opportunity to travel to some stunning geological locations. As I approached graduation I realised that the Environment and Development programme would be an ideal way to set my scientific knowledge into a more social and political context. I was especially glad to be offered a place at Edinburgh as it allowed me to return to my home town.

I hope that this postgraduate degree will expand my knowledge of development practices while introducing me to new topics and providing me with the skills to pursue a career in the development sector. I am especially interested in the ways in which climate change may impact the development of the energy industry. I am also very interested in the gendered aspects of development, at both local and global scale. I am a member of the Hollaback! Edinburgh committee, where I work to raise awareness of the dangers of street harassment, another global issue.


Scholarships

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent.

We may also consider a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with relevant work experience, a strong personal statement and supportive reference.

All applicants must also meet our English language requirements.

Last Updated

15 May 2017

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