Postgraduate study

Environment & Development

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Environment & Development

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.

Proposed new programmes

We would like to hear your views on potential new masters programmes in Sustainable Energy Management and Landscape & Wellbeing.

Our surveys will only take about 5 minutes to complete, and your answers will help inform the development of these exciting new programmes.

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
  • Dissertation

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
  • Swahili
  • 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

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.

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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.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the 'Enabling Skills' sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Programme Director, Dr Antonio Ioris
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 9090
  • Email:
  • School of GeoSciences
  • Georgaphy Building
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Antonio Ioris
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 9090
  • Email:
  • School of GeoSciences
  • Georgaphy Building
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP