Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Environmental Protection and Management MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time


Funding opportunities

It was one of the best academic years I have completed. I was immersed in such a wide range of environmental issues. I took my dissertation as an opportunity to do an internship with Scottish Power Energy Networks.

I now work for an international development NGO. In addition, I run the environmental platform "Less Waste Laura" on social media as an ethical influencer.

There is so much opportunity at Edinburgh, make sure to not let it skip you by!

Laura Young MSc Environmental Protection and Management
Laura Young               MSc Environmental Protection and Management

Your chance to play a vital role in protecting and conserving the environment starts here.

We continue to have a significant impact on our planet through actions such as:

  • the use of natural resources
  • deforestation
  • soil erosion
  • the release of pollutants and pathogens
  • invasive species
  • the increase in greenhouse gases

These are the result of human behavior and are all examples of pressures that have potentially severe consequences for humanity and other life on Earth.

The MSc Environmental Protection and Management will give you an in-depth understanding of natural resource management based on a scientific understanding of the issues that is also linked across disciplines.

We will equip you with advanced skills and knowledge about the processes that give rise to environmental degradation and the strategies to affect sustainable change.

Reputation, relevance and employability

Our programme has been successfully delivered for over 25 years and continues to grow from strength to strength.

You will be taught by world-leading experts in key fields and benefit from our excellent relationships with industry and relevant employers.

Is the MSc for me?

This degree is for you if you want to develop or enhance your scientific understanding of environmental issues, but in parallel, learn about complementary and essential disciplinary approaches required for successful environmental management.

You may tailor the content of the degree through assessment, course choices and - most importantly - dissertation choice to develop the skills and knowledge desired for different career paths. As a result, students from a variety of backgrounds are attracted to the program. Our diversity will give you exceptional opportunities to learn from one another and become part of a strong and well-developed alumni network around the globe.

Scotland's Rural College

This programme is delivered in collaboration with Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).

You will benefit from being a fully enrolled student at the University of Edinburgh, as well as access to all of the complementary staff, expertise, and resources at SRUC. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded your degree by the University of Edinburgh.

What is it really like to study with us?

No one knows what it is like to study here better than the students themselves. Our students are sharing their experiences - from studying to living in Edinburgh and everything in between.

Get social with us:

When to apply

Please note: Due to high demand for this programme, we operate on a series of early application deadlines.

We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

For dates and details, please refer to 'Application Deadlines' and 'How to apply ' on the right panel of this page.

You should also avoid applying to more than one degree. Applicants who can demonstrate their understanding and commitment to a specific programme are preferred.

If you plan to apply to more than one programme, you should discuss your choices with us before you submit your application.

Where possible, we may make an alternative programme offer if you have been unsuccessful in your chosen programme.


The MSc Environmental Protection and Management through Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES), allowing students on this programme to become members.

The IES provides access to news about jobs and events, free journal access and free or reduced entry to IES events.

Upon completing our MSc programme, you can upgrade for free to become an Associate of the Institution.

This MSc programme comprises:

  • compulsory and option courses
  • dissertation

Courses are delivered by staff who are active researchers and/or practitioners in each field. Their expertise is supplemented by selected guest speakers, generally from industry or other research organisations.


Your teaching team will work with you throughout the programme to help prepare and develop your dissertation project. It will be your opportunity to explore a topic of your choice. It will also be designed specifically to develop your skill set for your individual interests and career goals.

For example, your bespoke project can be developed from your own idea and/or in collaboration with external organisations or with current ongoing research conducted at SRUC and the University of Edinburgh. We also work with our wide network to find opportunities for dissertation projects with external organisations, enhancing the real-world relevance of your degree.

Your dissertation can incorporate both desk-based and practical skills and methodologies used within the wide-ranging field of environmental protection. It will be something that you can use to showcase your skills and abilities to potential employers.

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. All decisions are made to ensure we can provide 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.

Part-time study

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

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
MScEnvironmental Protection and Management1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScEnvironmental Protection and Management2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25
MScEnvironmental Protection and Management3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

By studying the MSc Environmental Protection and Management, you 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 and the sustainable management of resources
  • develop interdisciplinary skills through learning how other disciplines integrate with a scientific approach and understanding
  • have the opportunity to study the integrated protection and management of particular ecosystems or resources
  • be exposed to cutting-edge technology and data analysis tools
  • develop high-level core skills (such as communication, writing skills) that will be vital in the future job market

Our graduates have a strong record of finding employment in the environmental sector around the world.

Global climate change, our growing population and unprecedented consumption of finite resources are rising higher and higher on the political agenda across the world.

Graduates with the knowledge to apply the principles of effective management of limited resources with the protection of our fragile environment are in high demand to find answers and solutions to problems such as:

  • reducing environmental footprints
  • deforestation
  • pollution
  • soil erosion
  • natural resource management

In particular, addressing such issues requires graduates who can take a holistic and flexible approach to problem-solving, often working with or across other disciplines.

You could be working in roles such as:

  • environmental protection officer
  • lecturer
  • policy officer
  • planning consultant
  • scientific publisher
  • catchment management officer
  • ecological/environmental consultant

There are also many consultancy opportunities with environmental regulators, governments, non-government organisations (NGOs) and private environmental consultancies.


Throughout this MSc, you will engage with a range of environmental professionals and practitioners through things such as:

  • guest speakers on courses
  • field visits
  • careers events and discussions

Alongside your own class and our alumni network, meeting such people is not only an opportunity to learn from them, but also to develop your professional network.

SRUC works closely with colleagues in our consulting division, SAC Consulting. In recent years, several graduates of this programme have obtained consultancy roles. As a result, SAC Consulting aims to offer two positions per year to suitable graduates across the SRUC-run programmes.

Our graduates

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

  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Talisman Energy
  • Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation
  • Vegware
  • Tearfund
  • Global Green Growth Institute
  • Water Witness International
  • IUCN
  • Veolia UK

Further study

You can also progress to further research and academia.

Recent PhD subjects pursued include:

  • water management
  • carbon sequestration by agriculture
  • air pollution modelling
  • human-wildlife conflicts
  • use of UAVs (drones) in environmental monitoring
  • Arctic Ocean circulation systems

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.

Field trips

Field trips are an excellent way to explore the factors and forces that shape our world and enable you to put valuable skills into practice.

You will have a unique opportunity to participate in a residential field trip as part of this programme. This will enable you to refresh the skills you have learned as well as develop new tools and techniques for your dissertation and future career.

On recent trips, students learned a range of field and data collection and analysis techniques, covering topics such as:

  • water quality and biodiversity
  • UAV (drone) surveying and flood modelling
  • carbon footprinting of local agriculture
  • evaluating tourist and local community attitudes to sustainable tourism
  • soils, land use and biodiversity
  • air quality monitoring

You may also take part in a short residential field tour during induction week to give you a chance to get to know your fellow students and staff.

Our compulsory field trips or field courses are free, including travel and accommodation.

Changes to field trips

Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons, including the health and safety of our students, staff and communities, and to ensure we can maintain the highest standards for your educational experience. 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. We will announce any changes as soon as possible.

Accessibility on field trips

We are committed to making our degree as accessible and inclusive as possible. In the event that you cannot attend a fieldwork trip, we will provide alternatives with comparable learning outcomes where necessary.

Where you will study

This programme is delivered in collaboration with Scotland's Rural College (SRUC).

You will have access to student facilities at both:

  • Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
  • University of Edinburgh

As a student of this MSc, you will also have access to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) Masters Hub.

University of Edinburgh

You will have access to the University's facilities across all University sites.

For example:

  • laboratories
  • libraries
  • study spaces (some of which are open 24 hours)
  • computing facilities
  • social spaces
  • leisure facilities

Depending on the option courses you choose, you may study at various campus locations in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

As a student of this MSc, you will also have access to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) Masters Hub. You will have access to the shared 'Masters Hub' study space in ECCI as well as the café and shared working spaces on the ground and first floors. Some of your teaching may take place in the ECCI.

ECCI is also close to many teaching spaces and facilities within the Central Area campus. For example, the Main Library and gym.

King's Buildings campus

The King's Buildings (KB) is the main campus of the College of Science and Engineering.

The King's Buildings campus is around 15 minutes from central Edinburgh. It is easily accessible by bus. You can also cycle (10 minutes) or walk (25 minutes) from the central area.

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)

You will have access to SRUC's student facilities. These include facilities at SRUC Edinburgh, which is located within the University of Edinburgh's King's Buildings campus.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the School of GeoSciences and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site. Discover our city's landmarks, our campuses, accommodation and get video tours - all in one place.

Edinburgh is your ideal base

Edinburgh is ranked 2nd in the UK and 16th in the world in the QS Best Student Cities 2024.

Edinburgh is not only a fantastic city to live in - it is the perfect location to study the subject you're studying. Our vibrant capital is an irresistible blend of history and modern city life. We have rich environmental locations to explore right on our doorstep. Immerse yourself among rugged coastlines, misty mountains, forest glens and sparkling freshwater lochs.

It is no surprise we are regularly voted one of the most desirable places to live in the world!

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

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.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

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. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 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.

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 (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:


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. This may include suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

Living costs

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

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScEnvironmental Protection and Management1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScEnvironmental Protection and Management2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScEnvironmental Protection and Management3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

(Revised 05 February 2024 to add 'ScottishPower Master Scholarships' to the featured funding section)

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.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) alumni discount

The SRUC alumni discount aims to encourage SRUC graduates to take up opportunities to study taught masters (MSc). SRUC may provide a financial contribution towards tuition fees for eligible applicants for SRUC programmes delivered in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh.

SRUC will notify you if you are eligible to receive the discount on tuition fees during the application and admissions process. Please tell us on your application if you are a SRUC graduate, as this will help speed up the process. For further information, please get in touch with the Programme Administrator.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

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

Due to high demand for this programme, we operate on a series of selection deadlines.

We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications may close earlier than the published deadlines if there is exceptionally high demand.

We may make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis. However, the majority of applications will be held until the advertised deadline.

We aim to make the majority of decisions within eight 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
  • your application is still being considered, it will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline, and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

The final deadline may be extended if any places remain on the programme.

Selection Deadlines

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

You must submit one reference with your application.

Please submit a CV/Resume with your application. Find out more about writing a suitable CV:

Failure to submit all required documents will prevent the Admissions team from considering you for a place on the programme. It may also delay the decision on your application beyond the stated deadline.

We advise you do not apply to more than one programme.

Where possible, we may make an alternative programme offer if you have been unsuccessful in your chosen programme.

More details are available on the College website:

School of GeoSciences deadlines

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