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The University of Edinburgh: Ecological Economics

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Taught


From the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis to the question of managing economies during a global pandemic - the topic of sustainability has never been more pressing.

The MSc Ecological Economics prepares you to contribute to solving sustainability problems by focusing on the intersection between:

  • the environment

  • the economy

  • and economic decision-making

This programme aims to equip you with a new way of seeing the world.

We will empower you to analyse how the economy and economic decisions affect our progress towards a more just and sustainable future.

What will I learn?

The interdisciplinary nature of the programme links environmental, social and economic systems together and focuses on the mutual dependences between them.

You will participate in sustainability problem-solving with an emphasis on application, 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.

During your studies, you will implement a small, team-based research project. Designed collaboratively with staff members in response to a real-world sustainability problem, it will provide you with first-hand experience conducting the work of an ecological economist.

Is the MSc for me?

Ecological economics is an interdisciplinary field. We welcome students from a variety of academic backgrounds, including the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts and humanities.

In this MSc programme, you will learn how to critically analyse the root causes of real-world sustainability problems.

This programme will suit you if you're eager to embrace a hands-on learning approach. Our MSc aims to guide you on a journey to help you become a proficient ecological economist.

The curriculum is crafted to cultivate your ability to think and make decisions like an ecological economist when addressing real-world sustainability challenges. To facilitate this, we employ flipped-classroom designs, team-based learning, and problem-based learning methods. These approaches encourage you to grow in confidence as you adopt the perspective of an ecological economist.

If you're ready to engage with peers from diverse backgrounds and perspectives and are willing to actively discuss complex sustainability problems both in teams and in class – then this programme is for you!

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.

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.

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.


Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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