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The University of Edinburgh: Environment and Development

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


Are you ready to explore some of the world's most pressing challenges?

Understand the link between the environment, development agendas, and global inequalities for today and the future.

Our MSc Environment and Development enables you to critically evaluate the multiple dimensions of the inter-relationship between development and the environment, with an abiding concern for social and environmental justice.

What will I learn? Our teaching approach encourages you to reflect upon your role as both researchers and professionals in transformations towards social and environmental justice, considering the ethics of engagement in an unequal world.

You will learn about issues that are inherently transboundary, multi-generational and multi-faceted. Our approach to understanding these issues will centre on questions of justice and inequalities.

Some issues you may explore:

  • gender and social equality

  • environmental justice

  • international development and justice

  • critical sustainability

  • climate justice

  • diminishing natural resources

  • biodiversity conservation

  • disaster vulnerability and adaptation

You can explore other environmental issues through optional courses and your dissertation.

Attempts to understand and address these interconnected issues must pay close attention to their contested, political and ideological nature and how they differ across places and scales.

That is why our MSc foregrounds society and nature as inherently linked, historical contexts as highly relevant to current debates, and global capitalism as an underlying force of change. It will consider the increasingly diverse set of actors, practices and processes driving environment and development issues, and question the power of these to direct agendas and actions.

The MSc has relevance in both the 'Global South' and 'Global North', drawing attention to relationships of inequality and marginalisation as they occur for particular environments and sections of society worldwide.

It will provide you with a unique critical perspective as it draws on expertise from across the University, especially from development geography, social and political sciences, and environmental studies.

You will explore societal and environmental issues through different theoretical and conceptual lenses, examining the interplay of sociocultural perspectives, economics and governance, development debates and ecological dynamics.

There is much diversity in what you can study and conduct research on. Our flexibility enables you to develop your interests at an advanced level in an area you are most passionate about.

Reputation, relevance and employability You will be taught by world-leading researchers and experienced practitioners working in environment and development fields in various sectors from non-government organisations (NGOs), consultancies, or state organisations.

Guest speakers and teaching staff will provide insights into real-world applications.

We will challenge you to cultivate reflective critical thinking that is cross-cutting and globally relevant.

Is the MSc for me? The MSc Environment Development will suit a range of students, including those with practical experience in the broad field of environment and development, either as practitioners, volunteers or activists.

It is suitable for students from various undergraduate disciplines, from the environmental and natural sciences to the social and political sciences and humanities.

The MSc provides a strong basis for engaged citizenship in the world, enabling you to contribute to world debates and actions for reducing inequalities and working towards social and environmental justice and more sustainable practices.

We are fortunate to attract a wide range of students from around the globe, and we celebrate that diversity and the opportunities for learning that it brings.


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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