University of Edinburgh: Energy, Society and Sustainability

InstitutionUniversity of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Taught


The world is facing an ‘energy trilemma’. How do we achieve energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability?

Often invisible and intangible, energy drives the availability and affordability of all material resources. It is thus key to human development and the heart of any sustainable debate. With the challenges of global climate change, the world is seeking a fast but fair transition to a low carbon society.

The MSC in Energy, Society and Sustainability equips you with an understanding of low carbon technologies, policies and markets with a focus on the analysis of the social, societal, and environmental dimensions of energy transitions.

Through the programme, you can explore the scope and risks, costs and benefits of energy transitions in the face of wider societal processes such as demographics, economic trends and shifting political landscapes.

You will examine how citizens are involved in, and are affected by changes in energy systems. You will be able to relate supply-side issues to geo-politics and political economy. Energy demand will be studied in relation to the broader challenges of sustainable consumption, inequalities in access to basic energy services and the spatio-temporal distribution of social and environmental impacts of the energy supply chain. You will also gain the practical skills to explore the potential of ‘smart’ information and communications technology (ICT) to affect consumption and inform sustainable living.

Scotland is a world leader in renewable electricity generation, but is also economically dependent on declining North Sea oil and gas, with high levels of energy poverty. Field trips and guest speakers provide you with unique opportunities to apply theory to practice. This MSc programme is delivered within the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) an award-winning contemporary study space that brings together experts in law, business, technology and policy making.

You will benefit from our close access to a high number of insightful case studies, which examine links between global and local issues, explore international best practices and identify pathways to more sustainable energy management.

This MSc attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds, creating unique opportunities for interdisciplinary peer-to-peer learning. Students with a natural science background can seek to understand more about the social factors associated with a transition to a lower carbon economy, whilst social science students can expand their skills and knowledge for a career in low carbon energy.


University of Edinburgh 

 University of Edinburgh Influencing the world since 1583 
The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and ranked 20th in the 2020 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.

Study with us
As host to more than 40,000 ...

View Profile

Not what you are looking for?

Browse other courses in Energy, Natural science or Social sciences, or search our comprehensive database of postgrad programs.

Scholarship Opportunity with

Are you a PG student at this University or have you applied to study a postgraduate program at a university in Europe? Tell us your plans and qualify for a £500.00 PGS Scholarship.

Click here

Register with

  • Exclusive bursaries
  • Open day alerts
  • Latest PG news
Register Now!