Postgraduate study

Ecological Economics MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Ecological Economics

Deciding to study the MSc Ecological Economics was one of the best academic decisions I've ever made. It has been a challenging course which has exposed me to a huge range of topics, whilst allowing me to specialise in particular skills. The teaching has been outstanding, and the work has encouraged critical thought and the development of skills that are useful in academic, policy, consulting and corporate spheres. I could not recommend it more.

Chrissy Corlet MSc in Ecological Economics

The world’s resources are finite. How can we apply economic principals to make sustainability work for a growing population?

The MSC in Ecological Economics prepares you to contribute to solving sustainability problems by focusing on the intersection between the environment, the economy, and economic decision-making.

The interdisciplinary nature of the programme links environmental, social and economic systems together, and focuses on the mutual dependences between them. This gives you a unique understanding of the consequences of human economic activity on the planet’s limited resources.

You will participate in sustainability problem-solving with an emphasis on practical experience and ‘hands on’ learning. You will experience training in a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methodologies and the associated data analysis using real world case studies.

The annual study tour, in which you will implement a small research project designed collaboratively with staff members in response to real-world sustainability problems, gives you first-hand experience conducting the work of an Ecological Economist.

This programme is delivered in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). You will not only benefit from being a fully matriculated student at The University of Edinburgh, but also access to all of complementary staff, expertise, and resources at SRUC. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will be awarded your degree by The University of Edinburgh.

This MSc programme is comprised of:

  • 4 Compulsory courses
  • 2 Option courses
  • Field trip
  • Dissertation

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

You will experience a range of teaching styles while you are studying, depending on the subject matter and courses you are taking. Courses can be delivered through a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, practicals, short field trips and longer field courses.

Part-time study

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

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
MScEcological Economics1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScEcological Economics3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScEcological Economics2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Being able to identify ecological economic problems, and apply economic principles and methods to solve these problems is increasingly valued by employers.

Our graduates are working in a variety of sectors, including environmental consultancies; international and governmental agencies; NGOs; financial institutions; multinationals; environmental education and research.

Additionally around a quarter of our masters students eventually go on to doctoral research programmes.

Examples of the organisations our graduates have gained employment include New Economics Foundation, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Centre for European Policy Studies, Delta Energy and the Environment, Octopus Energy, LTS International, World Wildlife Federation (WWF), Scottish Natural Heritage, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Carbon360, Conservation International , EDF Energy, Scottish Water, Golder Associates Peru, Seafish, University of Leeds, ZALF, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Uganda Carbon Bureau.

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

Through our residential field trip, you will have the unique opportunity to observe and analyse the implementation of ecological economics at a local level. During the trip, you will be faced with a real world challenge that needs to be addressed to improve both human welfare and sustainability, and will conduct real work that is of relevance to this problem.

You will work in teams to design, implement and complete a small research project and will gain invaluable experience with project design, data collection and analysis prior to starting your dissertation.

Locations for the study tour vary, with prior trips taking place in Europe and Africa.

You may also experience a short field tour during induction week, to give you and your fellow students a chance to get to know each other. In recent years, our students have taken part in a two day trip with accommodation provided at a SRUC research farm in the southern highlands of Scotland.

  • We are pleased to advise that we do not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips. Travel and accommodation costs are covered by your programme, though students may be required to fund their own vaccines (beyond a point) if any are required.

  • Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons. In any given academic year, the main destination of the field course will be announced as soon as possible

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 appropriate work 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.

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.

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. Costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence on compulsory field trips will be covered by the programme fees. However incidental/ personal expenses are to be met by the student.

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScEcological Economics1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScEcological Economics3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScEcological Economics2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

SRUC bursary

Students undertaking the MSc Ecological Economics may be eligible for a SRUC bursary. Applicants will be sent information with guidance on eligibility and how to apply. Contact the Programme Administrator for more information.

SRUC alumni discount

The SRUC alumni discount aims to encourage SRUC graduates to take up opportunities to study on taught masters (MSc) degree programmes run by SRUC in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh by providing a financial contribution towards the programme tuition fees to eligible applicants.

We will inform 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 contact the Programme Administrator.

School of GeoSciences Scholarships

Browse funding opportunities

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

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Scotland's Rural College
  • 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.

You must submit one reference with your application.

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

Further information

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