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The University of Edinburgh: Global Environment, Politics and Society

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Social and Political Science
Study type Taught


The Global Environment, Politics and Society (GEPS) programme offers interdisciplinary exploration and immersion in social scientific inquiry used to understand and address environmental issues. Students have a great amount of latitude to design their own course of interest, and can take many methodological, disciplinary, and integrative approaches. The core coursework combines the following:

  • environmental politics

  • environmental sociology

  • normative philosophy

But many students engage with a range of other social science disciplines as well. Students take coursework from fields across the University.

Understanding issues such as climate change, sustainable development and biodiversity requires knowledge about the political, moral and societal dimensions of environmental problems and solutions. The Global Environment, Politics and Society degree provides a social science-based, practice-oriented exploration of these global environmental challenges and solutions. Prospective applicants should note that whilst we broadly focus on social sciences, and this can stretch beyond the disciplines listed above, our particular programme does not focus on economics, business, or finance. There are other strong programmes in these areas at the University of Edinburgh.

In the GEPS programme, students will develop the knowledge and analytical tools to address questions such as:

  • Are meaningful environmental agreements possible in a system of sovereign states?

  • Is the environment more than an economic resource for human exploitation?

  • What drives groups, individuals or institutions to take action on environmental issues?

  • What is the effect of such mobilisation?

  • What does environmental justice look like and to what extent is it achievable, and how?

Students on this programme can also take advantage of the many climate and sustainability activities offered by the University's Social Responsibility and Sustainability Department and new Earth Initiative.


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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