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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 and development agendas and global inequalities - for today and the future.

The 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? You will learn about issues that are inherently transboundary, multi-generational and multi-faceted, such as:

  • sustainable development

  • climate change

  • diminishing natural resources

  • biodiversity conservation

  • water

  • food

  • 'waste'

  • energy

  • disaster risk

  • vulnerability and adaptation

  • gender and social equality

  • urbanisation

Attempts to understand and address these interconnected issues need to pay close attention to their contested, political and ideological nature.

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.

Issues will be explored across a range of geographical scales, seeing the local and global as necessarily inter-related.

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 can explore society and environment 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.

How will I learn?

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

The programme helps you develop:

  • critical reflective skills

  • strong research and critical analysis capabilities

  • professional skills tailored to environment and development sectors

  • a deep understanding of social and environmental issues

It 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.

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 research 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 who have practical experience in the broad field of environment and development, either as practitioners, volunteers or activists.

It is suitable for students from a wide range of undergraduate disciplines, from the environmental and natural sciences to the social and political sciences and humanities.


University of Edinburgh 


Inspiring the world since 1583 
University of EdinburghThe University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 15th in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts not only students but also staff from some 156 countries, creating a unique Edinburgh experience.

We provide a stimulating working, learning, and teaching environment with access to excellent facilities and attract the world's best, from Nobel Prize winning laureates to future explorers, pioneers and inventors.

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