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Course content

Programme description

This exciting MSc gives you the breadth and background to bridge disciplinary divides and tackle the environmental issues that face us all.

This programme provides up-to-date knowledge of the contemporary issues and debates on the relationships between the environment, nature, culture and society.

This interdisciplinary programme draws on expertise from across the University, especially from geography, philosophy, theology, science, technology studies and development studies, providing a unique critical perspective.

You will develop the research skills and abilities to assess the importance and implications of geographical, philosophical and other theoretical debates which shape environmental policy and practice.

Our graduates are equipped to think critically, to generate new knowledge related to the environment, and to use this knowledge effectively to address urgent environmental challenges.

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

Programme structure

This programme consists of six taught courses, including four option courses, studied over two semesters. In addition, students undertake an individual dissertation project.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Values and the Environment
  • Political Ecology
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

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

  • Archives: History, Geography, Politics
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Encountering Cities
  • Ethics in a Technological Society
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Foundations of the Bioeconomy
  • Global Environment: Key Issues
  • Research Design in Human Geography
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Distributed GIS
  • International Development in a Changing World
  • Key Concepts in Global Social Change
  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Principles of GIS
  • Principles of GIS for Archaeologists
  • Society and Development
  • Ecology, Ethics and Spirit
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Climate Change, Justice and Responsibility
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Green Thoughts: Landscape, Environment and Literature
  • Methodological Debates in Human Geography
  • Urban Development
  • Biobusiness
  • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Forests and Environment
  • Global Environment and Society
  • ICT for Development
  • Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Man and the Natural World in the Enlightenment
  • Management of Sustainable Development
  • Sustainability of Food Production

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

Career opportunities

Graduates have pursued careers in environmental policy, conservation, animal welfare, NGOs (environmental charities and development organisations), public consultation and 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, Culture and Society - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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