School of Earth and Environment

Ecological Economics MSc

(Full time / Part time) 2018 start

Masters in (Sustainability) Ecological Economics


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:
  • Language requirements:
    IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
  • Course terms and conditions

We are pleased to announce the creation of our new MSc Ecological Economics. The course is based in the School of Earth and Environment with some of the modules being taught by the Leeds University Business School.

It reflects a new approach to teaching economics that focuses on real-world problems and integrates a wide range of different perspectives.

Many of the most serious environmental and social problems that we face can be traced to root causes in our economic system.

On this course, you'll develop an understanding of how economic activity gives rise to environmental and social problems, and be introduced to the main tools to tackle them.

You'll join one of the largest and most renowned centres of ecological economics research in the world on a course that challenges conventional thinking and introduces a real-world approach to teaching economics.

You can combine modules that help you build strong conceptual foundations in sustainability with specialist modules in ecological, environmental, and heterodox economics.

The course is ideal if you have an interest in economic issues with a focus on their social and environmental consequences, but you don't need to have completed a previous degree in economics.

Course highlights

  • Study topics ranging from the value of ecosystem services to managing an economy without growth.
  • Learn analytical tools such as input-output analysis and dynamic system modelling.
  • Gain skills that are in demand by organisations ranging from government and academia to international NGOs and social enterprises, and have access to career opportunities through our vibrant alumni community.
  • Potentially carry-out your research dissertation project with a partner organisation. This collaborative arrangement is designed to help you to deliver research that generates a real-world impact, while at the same time creating high employment prospects. Please see the Career Opportunities section for a list of organisations you could possibly partner with.

Programme Team

You will be taught by a world-leading team of economists and social scientists from within the School of Earth and Environment and the Leeds University Business School.

Instructors are part of the UK’s most important research centres:

The course is led by Dr Dan O’Neill, an ecological economist whose work on achieving a prosperous economy without growth is known internationally.

Dan is co-author (with Rob Dietz) of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, a best-selling book that has been made into a short film.

Course terms and conditions

Course content

You are expected to complete 8 modules (6 compulsory including the research dissertation project, plus 3 options).

You'll have 3 terms of lectures and seminars followed by approximately 4 four months of individual work leading to the submission of a dissertation in late August.

You can potentially carry-out your research dissertation project with a partner organisation. This collaborative arrangement is designed to help you to deliver research that generates a real-world impact, while at the same time creating high employment prospects.

Please see the Career Opportunities section for a list of organisations you could possibly partner with.

When completed on a full-time basis, this Masters is a 12-month course split into 3 semesters. When undertaken on a part-time basis, the course runs for 2 years with 2 taught modules completed in each semester.

Course structure

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

Year 1 test

Compulsory modules

  • Research Methods 15 credits
  • Research Project 60 credits
  • Introduction to Ecological Economics 15 credits
  • Environmental Economics and Policy 15 credits
  • Introduction to Sustainability 15 credits
  • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics 15 credits

Optional modules

  • Macroeconomics 1 15 credits
  • Economics of Globalisation and the International Economy 15 credits
  • Comparative Economics 15 credits
  • Econometrics 15 credits
  • Global Economics Co-ordination and Governance 15 credits
  • Distributional Analysis in Economic Development 15 credits
  • Understanding the Global Economy: Capitalist Institutions, Growth and Crises 15 credits
  • Business, Environment and Sustainability 15 credits
  • Environmental Policy and Governance 15 credits
  • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development 15 credits
  • Environment-Development International Field Course 15 credits
  • Sustainability and Local Enterprise: Patagonia Field Course 15 credits
  • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation 15 credits
  • Climate Change Mitigation 15 credits
  • Welfare Economics and Cost-Benefit Analysis 15 credits

Learning and teaching

You'll learn through a variety of teaching methods including lectures, discussion seminars, computer-based practicals, presentations, one-to-one supervision, group projects, and self-led study.

Teaching is research-led so that you are learning about and working on real-world problems, using cutting-edge research approaches and data in practical applications.


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


You'll be assessed through a variety of ways including essays, group and individual projects, presentations, computer-based practicals and exams.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) or above in social sciences, natural sciences, environmental studies, economics, management, engineering or a related subject.

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 to benefit from this course. A previous degree in economics is not required.

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

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Science (6 weeks) and Language for Science: General Science (10 weeks)

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.

Or read their advice on how to apply.

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

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

You are encouraged to carry-out your research with a partner organisation. This collaborative arrangement is designed to help you to deliver research that generates a real-world impact, while at the same time creating high employment prospects.

Potential organisations for research partnerships include:

Recent graduates have pursued a research career, either moving on to a PhD, or working for local government or NGOs. While others are now working for consultancy companies.


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.

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