Course structure

The ECM programme is a 12 months taught masters which runs from October each year. The teaching component of the course is spread across three 8-week terms (starting October, January and April). The teaching comprises seven core modules, electives courses, fieldtrips and hands-on workshops which provide specialist training. The assessment process is by termly essays, three examination papers in the 3rd term linked to the core modules and a summer dissertation project.

course structure

Course aims

The programme has three overarching aims:

Examine the nature, causes and impacts of major types of environmental change. How do these changes operate and interact on global, regional and local scales? How do they relate to critical social and ecological systems?

Examine the economic, legal, cultural, and ethical underpinnings of environmental responsibility and systemic solutions, including mitigation, adaptation, remediation, enhanced resource stewardship and other sustainable responses to environmental change at different scales and within different organisational contexts.

Empower environmental leaders to address the world’s most pressing environmental problems through an understanding of and training in the key analytical and practical skills; and in a broad appreciation of earth systems and societies in relation to environmental change.

Core Modules

Overture: Welcome to the Anthropocene

The Earth system and its fundamental processes
Human systems and environmental change
Economics of the Environment*
Energy systems and climate mitigation
Sustainable responses to environmental change
Governing the anthropocene

Specialist Training, Methods and Skills

Research methods in the social and natural science
Effective communication
Cost-benefit, risk & life cycle analyses
Environmental monitoring and data analysis
Environmental modelling & GIS
Human dimensions and valuation of ecosystems & biodiversity
Other professional transferable skills

Field Trips & Site Visits

Renewable energy technologies
EU Parliament & Ministries
Natural resource management centres
Coastal & marine environmental change sites
Conservation in protected & industrial areas
Climate & local ecosystem interactions

Elective Seminars (24+)

Corporate social and environmental accountability
Community organizing for environmental action
Cities, sustainable transport and mobility
Climate change – science, impacts and adaptation
Energy policy
Environmental governance in China
Environmental publics
Flood risk management
Food systems and food security
Forest governance
Governing protected areas
Geographic Information Systems
Health, environment & development
Indigenous peoples & environments
International climate politics & justice
Politics of oil and gas
Sustainable behaviour change
Water and development
Field Trips & Site Visits


15,000 words, 1-to-1 supervision, 3+month exercise, often undertaken in conjunction with businesses, environmental organisations, and governments

* Economics of the Environment (MT): 8 classes

Module Leader: Dr Dustin Garrick

The 'Environmental Economics and Policy' module has been refined to the 'Economics of the Environment' module. The Economics of the Environment module equips MSc students in SoGE with the foundational concepts, methods and analytical tools to navigate the interface of economics and the environment across a range of contexts, scales and threats. In 2017-18, the module will be organised in two phases during Michaelmas term, leveraging the world-class interdisciplinary economic research and teaching across the School. Phase I covers the foundations of economics and the environment, examining the economic roots of environmental problems and providing a survey of economic approaches to environmental policy ranging from pricing to property rights. The second phase of the module shifts from foundations to applications, organising the students into specialised tracks tailored to each MSc with interactive lectures and exercises. The specialised tracks in phase II are problem-based, fostering critical examination and application of economics to environmental change challenges.

Teaching methods and contact hours

The teaching is concentrated in the first two terms. The course is taught through a combination of lectures for core modules, small group teaching for elective courses (maximum class size 10), practical sessions, fieldtrips and study days. In each week, there are approximately 12-14 hours of formal contact time. For core modules, there are normally 8-10 hours of lectures per week, delivered through two-hour lecture sessions. Electives are normally delivered in 4-6 sessions across the term, each lasting 90 minutes to 2 hours. Individual extended reading is an important part of the course programme and up to 3 hours of reading may be set in preparation for each two-hour class. In weeks with fieldtrips or study days, the number of contact hours will be greater.

Course Handbook

The full course handbook for the 2016/17 academic year.

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Electives Booklet

Summary of the elective modules offered to students in 2016/17.

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Student Profile Booklet

Short profiles and backgrounds of our 2016/17 MSc/MPhil class.

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