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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school



This new degree is based on a simple premise: understanding global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, energy or biodiversity requires knowledge about the political, moral and societal dimensions of environmental problems and solutions.

The degree is distinct for several reasons:

  1. It's social science-based. While exploring the scientific basis of environmental issues, its main focus is on the political, moral and social dynamics shaping HOW that science is interpreted and applied.
  2. It's multi-disciplinary: students will be introduced to a range of perspectives (political, legal, ethical societal). They may choose to focus on one of these perspectives in more depth or may continue to combine these multiple perspectives through a wide and varied suite of courses.
  3. It's practice-oriented: the programme deals with current problems and proposed solutions. Courses will engage directly with primary sources and events, and incorporate guest speakers form the 'real world'. Students may also apply to complete a work-based project linked to a placement within an NGO, government department, political party, or business.
  4. It's taught in Edinburgh, one of the most vibrant intellectual centres of the world. The University was recently ranked 32nd in the world for its research and teaching; it features world class scientific and social science research on environmental issues, and is home to Institutes on governance, climate, and low carbon innovation. GEPS will be part of the University's Global Environment and Society Academy which features interdisciplinary events, teaching and collaboration.

What will I learn?

Students on this programme will develop a critical understanding of the key concepts, actors and dynamics characterizing global environmental problems and solutions.

By engaging critically with different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, you'll be able to assess competing claims and make informed judgments about current global environmental problems.

More practically you'll develop their ability to present - in written and verbal form - coherent, balanced arguments, and use a range of research skills to plan and execute a significant project of research on a major global environmental challenge.