Postgraduate study

Environment, Culture and Society MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

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.

Applicants receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.

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.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScEnvironment, Culture and Society1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScEnvironment, Culture and Society2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Graduates have pursued careers in environmental policy, conservation, animal welfare, NGOs (environmental charities and development organisations), public consultation and PhD research.

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.

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

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: 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

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fee deposit

If you receive an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, you will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 to secure your place on the programme.

Any applicants who are required to pay will receive an offer with full details. (If there is no information on your offer about the deposit then you are not required to pay.)

  • If you receive an offer before 1 March, you must pay your deposit by 31 March.
  • If you receive an offer between 1 March and 30 June, you must pay your deposit within 28 days.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1 July, you must pay your deposit within 14 days.

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScEnvironment, Culture and Society1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScEnvironment, Culture and Society2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Nina Morris
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2543
  • Contact: N.Morris@ed.ac.uk
  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • 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 one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Nina Morris
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2543
  • Contact: N.Morris@ed.ac.uk
  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP