Postgraduate study

Environment, Culture and Society MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The MSc Environment, Culture and Society provides up-to-date knowledge of the contemporary issues and debates on the relationships between the environment, nature, culture and society.

Welcoming students from a variety of backgrounds, this exciting MSc will explore the core perspectives, concepts, and practices from the arts, humanities and social sciences needed to imagine and enact sustainable environmental futures.

You will develop the critical and creative skills and abilities to assess the importance and implications of geographical and other conceptual debates which shape environmental policy and practice.

Reputation and relevance

Taught by world-leading experts, the programme draws on expertise from across the University, especially from:

  • geography
  • social and political studies
  • landscape architecture
  • literature
  • archaeology
  • philosophy
  • theology
  • science and technology studies
  • development studies

It provides you with a unique critical and creative perspective on current environmental issues and possible futures.

You will learn to think critically, engage creatively and generate new knowledge related to the environment. In addition, you will be able to use this knowledge effectively to address urgent environmental challenges across a range of specialities such as policy, conservation, education, public consultation and the arts.

Is the MSc for me?

The programme's interdisciplinary nature is ideal if you have a background in environmental humanities, social sciences, or creative arts.

It is also suitable if you desire to understand the roots of our current environmental emergency and the possibilities for a better future.

There is a lot of flexibility in the programme, enabling you to customise your learning in areas you are most passionate about. For example, philosophy, policy, creative practice and political action.

Networks

This programme is affiliated with a variety of University networks, including:

  • School of GeoSciences Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group
  • Global Environment and Society Academy
  • Energy and Society Network
  • Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

What's it really like to study here?

Visit our blog, where students in the School of GeoSciences share their experiences of postgraduate study, living in Edinburgh and everything in-between.

This MSc programme comprises*:

  • compulsory and option courses
  • dissertation

Throughout your studies, we will work with you to prepare you for the dissertation project. This will be your opportunity to explore a topic of your choice in relation to the programme and prepare a dissertation that you can use to demonstrate your work to potential employers.

Part-time study

As we are committed to helping people into education while continuing to work or managing family and personal commitments, you may study this programme part-time.

How will I learn?

You will experience a range of learning styles while studying, depending on the subject matter and courses you are taking. You can view each relevant course for teaching and assessment methods through the ‘Programme Structure’ link under compulsory and option courses below.

Changes to teaching and learning We are committed to offering high-quality education to all our students. However, please be advised that there may be changes to course options and delivery, including due to Covid-19. Decisions are made to safeguard student, staff, and community health and safety and ensure we can maintain the highest standards for your educational experience.

Although we endeavour to provide a wide range of optional courses to choose from, these can be subject to change or cancellation at short notice. Places on optional courses can be limited due to course capacity and timetabling constraints. It may not be possible to guarantee every offer holder their top choice of optional courses.

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. We will continue to update you on the teaching you can expect throughout your application process.

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
MSc1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
MSc2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

On completing the MSc Environment, Culture and Society, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of ideas in historical, contemporary and future approaches to the environment.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in the environmental literature.
  • Critically assess a range of philosophical and conceptual approaches to the environment from across the humanities, arts and social sciences.
  • Think about environmental problems across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Use concepts, ideas and methods from the environmental literature to address urgent environmental challenges across a range of specialities such as policy, conservation, education, public consultation and the arts.
  • Create and generate new knowledge about the environment through a range of media, including academic and creative forms of text and image.

The MSc Environment, Culture and Society will equip you to think critically across disciplinary divides, generate new knowledge related to the environment and use this knowledge to address urgent environmental challenges.

You will be encouraged and supported to develop your interests at an advanced level in an area you are most passionate about.

Our graduates have been successful in pursuing a variety of careers, including:

  • environmental policy
  • conservation
  • animal welfare
  • corporate social responsibility
  • education
  • business communications
  • research

Due to the diversity of the topics within the programme, you can work in a range of sectors, including government, NGOs (such as environmental charities and development organisations), the private sector and academia.

Our graduates

Examples of the organisations our graduates have gained employment with include:

  • Conservation International
  • National Forestry Commission
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • The Climate Group
  • The Conservation Volunteers
  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre
  • Provincial Ministry of Environmental and Climate Change (Canada)
  • KPMG Sustainability (Japan)
  • Environmental Law Institute (USA)
  • Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability
  • American Sportfishing Association (USA)
  • Clean Up Australia

Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service plays an essential part in your wider student experience at the University, providing:

  • tailored advice
  • individual guidance and personal assistance
  • internships and networking opportunities (with employers from local organisations to top multinationals)
  • access to the experience of our worldwide alumni network

We invest in your future beyond the end of your degree. Studying at the University of Edinburgh will lay the foundations for your future success, whatever shape that takes.

This programme provides several day trips and workshop opportunities in locations across southern Scotland.

Previous locations have included the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Jupiter Artland.

There are no additional charges for compulsory field trips.

Changes to field trips Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons, including due to Covid-19. Where suitable, fieldwork will be relocated or rescheduled. We will also look at alternative arrangements that will ensure you achieve the quality learning outcomes of your degree. Changes will be made to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and communities, and to ensure we can maintain the highest standards for your educational experience. We will announce any changes as soon as possible.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Deposit

If you receive an offer of admission you will need to pay a deposit to secure your place.

  • £1,500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Field trips and field courses

We do not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips or field courses. The programme fees will cover costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence on compulsory field trips. However, you must pay for incidental or personal expenses.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MSc1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MSc2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

School of GeoSciences scholarships

Scholarships and student funding

You can find funding opportunities, tuition fees and costs of living for prospective UK and international postgraduate students on the University website.

You are also encouraged to undertake your own research into the range of potential scholarships and other funding outside the University for which you may be eligible.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline.

We aim to make the majority of decisions within six weeks of the selection deadline.

If we have not made you an offer by a specific selection deadline this means one of two things:

  • your application has been unsuccessful, in which case we will contact you to let you know, or
  • your application is still being considered, will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

Selection Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decisions made or applications rolled to next deadline
1 31 January 15 March
2 31 March 15 May
3 31 May 15 July

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP