School of Earth and Environment

Climate Change and Environmental Policy MSc

(Full time / Part time) 2018 start

Masters in Climate Change and Environmental Policy


Key facts

  • Start date:
    September 2018
  • Duration/Mode:
    12 months full time
    24 months part time
  • UK/EU fees: £8,500 (total)
    International fees: £19,500 (total)
  • Entry requirements:
    A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a related subject
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
  • Course terms and conditions

Climate Change is a growing issue for environmental policy makers at the international, national and sub-national levels, as well as for environmental managers and experts in public, private and non-profit making organisations.

This course provides you with a unique combination of training on the physical, social and policy aspects of climate change and on broader environmental policy and governance.

You’ll receive a solid foundation in the physical and social science of climate change and its impacts, including adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change.

You’ll develop a critical understanding of the policy tools available to promote environmental protection.

This Masters combines modules taught at the School of Earth and Environment, with optional modules from the School of Geography and the School of Politics and International Studies and Leeds University Business School.

Our teaching draws on the latest cutting-edge research and is delivered by experts and world’s leading researchers on climate change policy (e.g. IPCC lead authors, and a DEFRA UK lead advisor) to give you in-depth knowledge and guidance.

No other UK university can offer the same level and breadth of expert teaching in climate change and environmental policy. Hence, this course is ideal if you want to become an interdisciplinary environmental manager, consultant, advisor or policy maker, or if you are looking to improve your career prospects or make a career change.

Student Profile

"I would strongly recommend the MSc course to anyone with an interest in environmental and social issues who is hoping to change the business world for the better. "

James Townsend, Climate Change and Environmental Policy MSc

Read More

Course highlights:

  • Be taught by three lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which advises world governments on the evolving and complex issue of climate change, and a lead advisor to the UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). All academics have won teaching awards.
  • Engage with some of the world's leading researchers from the Priestley International Centre for Climate (PICC), the ESRC-funded Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP), the RCUK-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and Leeds University Business School’s Centre for Decision Research; they have published high profile papers with past students.
  • Attend excellent seminars and talks run by the School and its research centres, where you will access the latest, cutting-edge research delivered by leading climate policy makers and advisors. Plus, attend other seminars run by the School of Geography, School of Politics and International Studies, and Leeds University Business School. Ideal if you want to build, or extend your network to enhance your career.
  • In addition to a free field course to East Yorkshire, choose an optional overseas field course to Tanzania, which provides an opportunity for you to gain practical experience and apply classroom-based learning first-hand in a developing country context. Ideal if you are considering working in an international capacity in this field.

Programme team

Programme Manager

Dr Yim Ling Siu has over 20 years’ work experience in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in the fields of energy, water, transport and the environment.

Her research focuses on environmental risk assessment, and the nexus of energy and water in sustainable development – with a specific interest in bridging the knowledge divide between the 'public's understanding of Science' and 'scientists' understanding of the public' in order to aid informed environmental policy decisions.

Programme Team

You will be taught by a world-leading team of academics and researchers from the School of Earth and Environment, School of Geography, School of Politics and International Studies and Leeds University Business School.

Their research spans physical and social sciences in climate change and its environmental policy issues, including politics and international relations, economics, environmental assessment and planning, and sustainability.

Gain in-depth knowledge, skills and practical experience which enable you to contribute towards achieving solutions in this topical area.

Our team of expert scientists, government advisors and practitioners actively engage in international, national, regional and local climate change research and climate-related policy fora e.g:

They are also members of:

Course terms and conditions

Course content

When completed on a full-time basis, this 12 month Masters is split into 3 semesters.

In your semester 1, you’ll develop a grounding in the physical and social sciences – important for understanding climate mitigation and adaptation.

You’ll also examine the multiple pathways through which human-environment interaction is governed.

You’ll become familiar with appropriate research methods and gain the research skills relevant to your dissertation project.

In semester 2, your studies will give you an overview of climate change impact assessment and predictions, along with key concerns and strategies of adaptation to climate change.

You’ll explore the relative significance of main sources of greenhouse gases and the potential, technologies and strategies for reducing them.

You’ll develop an understanding of the key challenges for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, alongside the critical political issues related to mitigation.

During semester 3, you’ll propose and undertake an extended research project leading to the submission of a 12,000-word dissertation in August.

This dissertation gives you the opportunity to examine the detail of an issue of your choice.

When completed on a part-time basis, the course runs for 24 months, with each year split into 3 semesters. You will take compulsory and optional modules in each semester, followed by an extended research project leading to the submission of a 12,000-word dissertation in semester 3 of your final year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methods 15 credits
  • Research Project 60 credits
  • Environmental Policy and Governance 15 credits
  • Climate Change: Physical Science Basis 15 credits
  • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation 15 credits
  • Climate Change Mitigation 15 credits

Optional modules

  • Environmental Assessment 15 credits
  • Risk Perception and Communication 15 credits
  • International Relations and the Environment 30 credits
  • Business, Environment and Sustainability 15 credits
  • Introduction to Ecological Economics 15 credits
  • Environmental Economics and Policy 15 credits
  • Delivering Sustainability Through Projects 15 credits
  • Introduction to Sustainability 15 credits
  • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development 15 credits
  • Environment & Development International Field Course 30 credits
  • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics 15 credits
  • Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System 15 credits

Learning and teaching

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods to help you develop both generic and subject-specific skills.

This includes lectures, practical workshops, field trips (UK and overseas), computer lab sessions, research seminars and project work (individual and group work).

Practical exercises focus around real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions including familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes that companies and public sector organisations operate within.

The research-intensive environment of the School ensures that your course material is both up-to-date and research led.

You'll also learn the scientific and rational principles lying behind the practical approaches used in the world outside academia, so that your skills keep pace with changes in technology or the regulatory environment.

You also have access to the excellent research seminars and talks run by the School of Earth and Environment and its research centres, plus those organised by School of Geography and School of Politics and International Studies.


The School of Earth and Environment’s £23m building gives you access to world-class research, teaching and facilities.


You will be assessed through a variety of ways including both written and oral assignments, exams and poster presentations.

Student Profile

"The course explores the complexity of the relationship between climate change and environmental policy and governance. It helped me understand the relationship between natural and social science."

Meihui Wang, Climate Change and Environmental Policy MSc

Read More

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in ideally an environmental or social science, management or economics subject. However, we will consider applicants from other disciplines.

If you are a mature applicant without a first degree or with a lower degree classification, you may be considered on the basis of your relevant industry experience and your potential for benefiting from the course.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Earth and Environment admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

If you need to study for longer than 10 weeks, read more about our postgraduate pre-sessional English course.

How to apply

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read School of Earth and Environment advice on how to apply.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Environment Postgraduate Admissions Policy 2018

Visas and Immigration

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Link to admissions policy document


UK/EU fees: £8,500 (total)
International fees: £19,500 (total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

On this course you have the option to attend an overseas field trip in Semester 2, at an additional cost of £1,200-£1,500 (dependent on exchange rates, cost of flights and student demand).

This is paid in two instalments across semesters 1 and 2. A £100 deposit is required when enrolling onto the module in October.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

School Scholarships

The School of Earth and Environment offer a range of scholarships for UK, EU and International students.

Find out more about our School scholarships.

Other funding sources:

Past students have secured funding through a career development loan, for details visit UK Government website.

Career opportunities

There is an increasing demand for professionals with interdisciplinary understanding and knowledge of climate change and its related environmental issues to aid better environmental policy decisions.

Forward-thinking businesses are looking for people with postgraduate skills (knowledge, research and practical experience) in connecting climate change, environmental policy and sustainability.

This Masters is designed to equip you with both a conceptual and applied understanding of critical issues in climate change and environmental policy and governance.

You could become an interdisciplinary environmental manager and/or expert with a strong science, policy and governance foundation, to develop and drive innovative approaches to tackling environmental problems in government, private sector and non-for profit organisations operating from the global to the local level.

This course is ideal if you are looking to improve your career prospects, and would like to progress in your current role, or move into a different field.

It is also ideal if you want to continue your undergraduate studies or you are looking to increase your skill set to progress in your career development in the areas of climate change, environmental policy and sustainability, as well as pursue a research career or go on to a PhD.

Possible career paths you can take are (but not limited to):

  • City or urban development and planning (resilience to climate change)
  • Climate services and environmental risk communication
  • Community and stakeholder participation and consultation
  • Consultancy and project management
  • Environmental and socio-economic impact assessment
  • Environmental information systems development
  • Environmental protection
  • Environmental risk assessment and management
  • Policy and strategy development and evaluation
  • Science and research advisory services
  • Sustainability assessment and strategy development
  • Studying for a PhD.


Careers support

We offer extra support and activities to help you stand out in your chosen field and achieve your career goals.

The School of Earth and Environment has a strong commitment to enhancing student employability and has its own dedicated Employability Officer. Read more about our careers and employability.

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Alumni Profile

"I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and opportunities of my MSc at the School of Earth and Environment. "

Jayne Windeatt, Climate Change and Environmental Policy MSc

Read More

Industry links

We provide a variety of opportunities for you to network with leading researchers, government and private sector institutions.These include public lectures and seminars with external speakers, a variety of employability and career events and industry open days, organised by the Sustainability Research Institute, the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Priestley International Centre for Climate, the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science and Water@Leeds.

Teaching staff conduct research in collaboration with government agencies, the private sector and international research institutes, and maintain extensive networks which you can tap into.

They serve as advisors to Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), routinely provide evidence to government Select Committees, are co-partners of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) which carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems.

You can also be exposed to some of the work researchers at the Sustainability Research Institute are involved in.

For example, not-for-profit projects such as the United Bank of Carbon (UBoC). This is a collaboration of businesses and environmental scientists involved in local action in the rainforest that contributes to global emission reductions.

Private sector actors collaborating in this venture include the management consulting business Deloitte, the technology business Premier Farnell, and the Shepherd Group which includes companies in construction and engineering, manufacturing and property development.

Also, during the field courses in East Yorkshire and Tanzania, there are opportunities for you to network with organisations such as the Tanzanian National Institute of Medical Research, East Usambara Tea Company and WWWf-Tanzania.

We have successful and productive links with many partners such as the UK-based and international charities, governments, universities, research institutes and businesses.

You will also be encouraged to develop links and to collaborate with a variety of these organisations within the field of climate change and environmental policy, and base your dissertation research on real-world environmental projects.

Search site
What interests you?