Postgraduate study

Environmental Protection & Management

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

This programme will give you a fundamental understanding of the issues affecting the Earth enabling you to play a vital role in devising and enacting strategies to protect and conserve the environment, both in Europe and beyond.

Human activities are recognised as having an increasingly significant effect on the Earth’s biosphere. Our use of natural resources, deforestation, soil erosion, the release of potentially toxic compounds and pathogens, and the increase in greenhouse gases are all examples of pressures that have potentially serious consequences for humanity and other life on Earth.

On this programme you will learn about the issues that face the Earth and gain an in-depth understanding of natural resource management and the processes that give rise to environmental degradation and pollution problems.

It will allow you to play a vital role in planning and putting into action strategies to protect and conserve the environment.

This programme is run in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

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

This programme involves two semesters of taught courses, which are a balance of lectures, seminars, workshops and visits, plus a research dissertation project of about 16,000 words.

Compulsory courses typically will be:

  • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
  • Analysing the Environment
  • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
  • Analysing the Environment Study Tour
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

You will also choose four optional courses^. We particularly recommend the following:

  • Soil Protection and Management
  • Integrated Resource Management
  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Archives: History, Geography, Politics
  • Carbon Capture and Transport
  • Culture, Ethics & Environment
  • Encountering Cities
  • Environmental Geochemistry
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
  • Principles of GIS
  • Project Appraisal
  • Understanding Environment and Development
  • Values and the Environment
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Sustainability of Food Production
  • Participation in Policy and Planning
  • Forests and Environment
  • Carbonate Sequence Stratigraphy
  • Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
  • Hyperspectral Remote Sensing
  • Integrated Resource Planning
  • Introduction to Environmental Modelling
  • Political Ecology
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Soil Science Concepts and Application
  • Water Resource Management

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

Field trip

Part of this programme is a week-long study tour in spring. Past study tours have been held in France, Greece, Portugal, Israel and Morocco.

Students will:

  • develop a scientific understanding of some of the major processes which influence the quality of land, air and water resources
  • acquire knowledge of the most effective methods of environmental protection
  • develop expertise in the design and implementation of programmes of environmental protection
  • have the opportunity to study the integrated protection and management of particular ecosystems or resources

Our graduates have a solid record in finding employment in the environmental sector while some choose to further their studies through a PhD.

There are also opportunities in consultancy positions and with environmental regulators, government and NGOs.

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.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in biological science, environmental science, physical science, geography, engineering, economics or other relevant subject.

We may also consider a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, with relevant industry experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • UKVI list of majority English speaking countries
  • 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)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 to secure their place on the programme.

This has to be paid within 28 days for offers made before 30th June and 14 days for those offers made from 1st July onwards.

  • Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
  • Peter Wilson Building
  • West Mains Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JG

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

  • Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
  • Peter Wilson Building
  • West Mains Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JG