School of GeoSciences

About the programme

Our programme focuses on the transition to fairer and cleaner energy.

The world is facing an ‘energy trilemma’. How do we achieve energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability?

Often invisible and intangible, energy drives the availability and affordability of all material resources. It is thus key to human development and the heart of any sustainable debate. With the challenges of global climate change, the world is seeking a fast but fair transition to a low carbon society.

What will I learn?

The MSC in Energy, Society and Sustainability equips you with an understanding of low carbon technologies, policies and markets with a focus on the analysis of the social, societal, and environmental dimensions of energy transitions.

Through the programme, you can explore the scope and risks, costs and benefits of energy transitions in the face of wider societal processes such as demographics, economic trends and shifting political landscapes.

About the programme

You will examine how citizens are involved in, and are affected by changes in energy systems. You will be able to relate supply-side issues to geo-politics and political economy. Energy demand will be studied in relation to the broader challenges of sustainable consumption, inequalities in access to basic energy services and the spatio-temporal distribution of social and environmental impacts of the energy supply chain. You will also gain the practical skills to explore the potential of ‘smart’ information and communications technology (ICT) to affect consumption and inform sustainable living.

Real-world issues

Scotland is a world leader in renewable electricity generation, but is also economically dependent on declining North Sea oil and gas, with high levels of energy poverty. Field trips and guest speakers provide you with unique opportunities to apply theory to practice.

You will benefit from our close access to a high number of insightful case studies, which examine links between global and local issues, explore international best practices and identify pathways to more sustainable energy management.

Is this degree for me?

This MSc attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds, creating unique opportunities for interdisciplinary peer-to-peer learning. Students with a natural science background can seek to understand more about the social factors associated with a transition to a lower carbon economy, whilst social science students can expand their skills and knowledge for a career in low carbon energy.

Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

The MSc programme is housed within the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI)  - a work and learning space designed as a forum through which university academics and other professionals can work with businesses and local government to help develop a low-carbon society. Not only is the building exceptionally well-equipped and sustainable, you will be working and networking alongside professionals and employers within this high-demand field.