This programme is based on a simple premise: understanding global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, energy or biodiversity requires knowledge about the political, moral and societal dimensions of environmental problems and solutions.
The degree is distinct for several reasons:
* It's social science-based. While exploring the scientific basis of environmental issues, its main focus is on the political, moral and social dynamics shaping HOW that science is interpreted and applied.
*It's multi-disciplinary: students will be introduced to a range of perspectives (political, legal, ethical societal). They may choose to focus on one of these perspectives in more depth or may continue to combine these multiple perspectives through a wide and varied suite of courses.
*It's practice-oriented: the programme deals with current problems and proposed solutions. Courses will engage directly with primary sources and events, and incorporate guest speakers form the 'real world'. Students may also apply to complete a work-based project linked to a placement within an NGO, government department, political party, or business.
*It's taught in Edinburgh, one of the most vibrant intellectual centres of the world. The University was recently ranked 32nd in the world for its research and teaching; it features world class scientific and social science research on environmental issues, and is home to Institutes on governance, climate, and low carbon innovation. GEPS will be part of the University's Global Environment and Society Academy which features interdisciplinary events, teaching and collaboration.
What will you learn?
Students on this programme will develop a critical understanding of the key concepts, actors and dynamics characterizing global environmental problems and solutions.
By engaging critically with different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, you'll be able to assess competing claims and make informed judgments about current global environmental problems.
More practically you'll develop their ability to present - in written and verbal form - coherent, balanced arguments, and use a range of research skills to plan and execute a significant project of research on a major global environmental challenge.
Structure and Courses
The GEPS programme consists of four parts:
Part 1. Global Environment: Key Issues. This team taught course will be taken by everybody on the programme. Students will gain a broad-based introduction to the political, normative and social challenges of global environmental change. The course covers core concepts and debates in social science and law, and engages students with key questions from across the disciplines.
Part 2. Students will take at least one of the following three core disciplinary courses: Global Environmental Politics, Global Environment and Society or Climate Change, Justice & Responsibility.
Part 3.Students may choose up to three additional options from a wide range of relevant courses including: Globalization, Human Dimensions of Environmental Change, Sociology of the Environment and Risk, Human Rights, Global Politics and International Law, Ecology, Ethics and Spirit, Management of Sustainable Development, Political Ecology and many more.
Part 4: Students may write an in-depth research dissertation on a topic of their choice related to the degree. The dissertation is an independent piece or work but will be supervised by a academic supervisor. Alternatively, students may apply to complete a project-based report involving close work with practitioners in government, business or NGO sector.
The MSc in Global Environment, Politics and Society opens up a wide variety of career opportunities and scope for further study. This social science-based, multidisciplinary, practice-oriented programme enables students to understand and analyse environmental concerns in their context and prepares them to inhabit spaces that require both academic and practical skills.
Find below a non-exhaustive list of career pathways this programme has opened for our past students:
-development professional (at a UN agency, international environment NGO like Greenpeace, small grassroots NGO)
- corporate social responsibility wing of Renault car company, or development agencies like DFID)
- political or feminist ecologist
- environment activist
- study further to become an environmental lawyer
- civil servant/government official engaging with environment-related concerns
- media professional/writer/blogger with a focus on human ecology (like Fiona Harvey from the Guardian and Richard Black from BBC Online)
- environment expert in trade organisations and professional bodies (at, for instance, British Antarctic Survey)
Fully accredited and internationally recognised
International Student Requirements:
For students whose first language is not English, detailed information about required English language qualifications can be found on our website.
Our website will also inform you which international qualifications meet our general entry requirements.