School of Social and Political Science

MSc Global Environment, Politics and Society

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The deadline to apply for September 2023 entry is Friday 30 June 2023.

Combine environmental politics and environmental sociology with normative philosophy

This programme provides a social science-based, practice-oriented understanding of global environmental challenges and solutions. Understanding issues such as climate change, sustainable development and biodiversity requires knowledge about the political, moral and societal dimensions of environmental problems and solutions.

This programme will provide you with 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?

Students on this programme will:

  • develop a critical understanding of the key concepts, actors and dynamics characterising global environmental problems and solutions
  • engage critically with different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives on environmental issues
  • assess competing claims and make informed judgements about current global environmental problems
  • develop their ability to present - in written and verbal form - coherent, balanced arguments
  • use a range of research skills to plan and execute a significant project of research on a major global environmental challenge

Teaching methods will include seminars, group work, lectures, presentations and guided independent study.


Students will be assessed through coursework, seminar assessment and presentations.


Students will also undertake a supervised research dissertation, or may apply to complete a project-based report with an NGO, government department, political party, or business over the spring and summer.

Career opportunities

You will acquire an advanced, multidisciplinary understanding of the major contemporary environmental challenges facing the world, and the different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives (from politics, international relations, ethics and sociology) used to explain them.

You will graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to assess competing claims and make informed judgements about current global environmental problems and possible solutions.

Such knowledge and skills are sought after by a wide range of public and private employers in the fields of environmental policy, consultancy and advocacy.

How to apply

Tuition fees

Award Title Duration Study mode  
MSc   1 Year Full-time Tuition fees
MSc   2 Years Part-time Tuition fees
Additional information

NEWS: SPS students recognised for enhancing the reputation of the University

Three students on the MSc Global Environmental Politics and Society programme have been jointly awarded the University of Edinburgh 2021 Sir William Darling Memorial Prize for enhancing the University’s reputation through community building and engagement with global challenges. 

READ: SPS students recognised for enhancing the reputation of the University