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The University of Edinburgh: Environmental Sustainability

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


Ensuring environmental sustainability and achieving it, is one of the most significant challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

  • What is sustainability?

  • What are the debates and challenges surrounding different models of sustainable development?

  • How can economic and energy systems be restructured to combat climate change?

  • What policies foster sustainability? What are the challenges and implications of implementing these in the ‘Global South’ and the ‘Global North’?

With the MSc Environmental Sustainability, you can explore these questions and other significant challenges affecting our world today and in the future.

What will I learn? You will be encouraged to think across different disciplines and consider scientific, socio-economic, and policy perspectives to better understand sustainability and how it can be achieved in different geographical contexts.

You can explore critical social and global issues and ways to address these to benefit individuals, communities, societies and nature.

Our programme gives you an international perspective, focusing on regions in both the ‘Global South’ and ‘Global North’.

Reputation, relevance and employability Our world faces significant and complex challenges, from rising inequality to environmental issues. Global climate change is now affecting everyone on the planet.

At this critical moment, more organisations are working to promote sustainable development, reduce human impacts on the environment, and achieve economic equity. These initiatives include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Edinburgh is a hub for organisations seeking to influence national and international environmental sustainability debates, giving you access to exciting case studies and opportunities for networking.

We also have excellent relationships with a variety of organisations, providing access to potential employers and opportunities to collaborate on dissertation projects that provide valuable real-world experience.

Edinburgh Climate Change Institute This degree is associated with the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI).

The ECCI brings together consultancy, law, business, social science, technology, and policy experts to help develop a low-carbon society.

Through ECCI, you will have the opportunity to work and network alongside professionals and potential employers within this high-demand field.

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.

Get social with us:

  • Student experience blog

  • School of GeoSciences Instagram

  • School of GeoSciences Tiktok

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. For dates and details, please refer to 'Application Deadlines' on the right panel of this page.

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.

Our …

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