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Environment & Development (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

This interdisciplinary MSc explores the inter-dependencies between pressing environmental concerns and development pressures.

This programme focuses on the nexus of poverty, environmental change and livelihood, especially where quality of life is severely compromised by declines in ecosystem function, such as where pollution and habitat loss compromise water and food security. You will develop analytical and professional skills to promote the contribution of wise management of the environment and natural resources, to fair, sustainable development.

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

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:
•Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
•Foundations in Ecological Economics
•Frameworks to Assess Food Security
•Governing Mineral Extraction in Africa
•Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
•Principles of Environmental Sustainability
•Principles of Geographical Information Science
•Research Design in Human Geography
•Marine Systems and Policies
•EU and National Climate Change Law
•International Political Economy
•South Asia: Roots of Poverty and Development
•Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
•Governing Mineral Extraction in Africa
•Introduction To Spatial Analysis
•Principles of Environmental Sustainability
•Project Appraisal
•Soil Protection and Management
•Applications in Ecological Economics
•Energy Policy and Politics
•Environmental Impact Assessment
•Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
•Forests and Environment
•Gender and Development
•Global Environment and Society
•Global Environmental Politics
•International Security
•Land Use/Environmental Interactions
•Participation in Policy and Planning
•Political Ecology
•Sustainability of Food Production
•Waste Reduction and Recycling
•Water Resource Management
•Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change
•Anthropology of Global Health
•Case Studies in Sustainable Development
•Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
•Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law
•Foundations of Science, Technology and Development
•Integrated Resource Planning
•Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices
•Interrelationships in Food Systems
•The International Politics of Money

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.


Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent. A UK 2:2, or its international equivalent, may also be accepted with relevant work experience and a strong personal statement and supportive reference.

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