MSc Climate Change and Environmental Policy

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

Program Description

MSc Climate Change and Environmental Policy

University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

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 organisation. This programme 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. 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.

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 School's ESRC-funded Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) and the RCUK-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC). 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 and School of Politics and International Studies. 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, 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.

Course Content

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

In your first semester, 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 two, 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 the third semester, 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 programme runs for 24 months, with each year split into three semesters. You will take complusory and optional modules in each semester, followed by an extended research project leading to the submission of a 12,000-word dissertation in semester three 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.

You’ll study modules totalling 180 credits, including the compulsory modules below and up to four optional modules. Each module is worth 15 credits unless otherwise stated:

  • Compulsory modules
    • Climate Change: Physical Science Basis
    • Research Methods
    • Environmental Policy and Governance
    • Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation
    • Climate Change Mitigation
    • Research Project (60 credits)
  • Optional modules
    • Introduction to Sustainability
    • Business, Environment and Sustainability
    • Introduction to Ecological and Environmental Economics
    • Standards and Tools for Business, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development
    • Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics
    • Environment-Development Overseas Field Course – read additional costs
    • Terrestrial Biosphere in the Earth System
    • International Relations and the Environment (30 credits)
    • Environmental Assessment

Learning and teaching

We deliver a variety of teaching methods, as well as conventional lectures, to allow you to develop both generic and subject-specific skills. This includes team work and individual practical exercises focused around real-world scenarios and case studies to produce optimal solutions; and it includes familiarisation with state-of-the-art technical approaches, software and the regulatory regimes within which companies and public sector organisations operate.

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

A range of learning and teaching methods are used including lectures, practical workshops, field trips (UK and overseas), computer lab sessions, research seminars and project work.

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 £23 million building provides world class research, teaching and facilities.


To complement teaching, assessment is varied and includes both written and oral assignments, exams and poster presentations.

Applying, fees and funding

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.

Mature applicants without a first degree or with a lower degree classification may be considered on the basis of their relevant industry experience and their potential for benefiting from the programme.

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.


UK/EU: £7,000

International: £16,000

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 programme 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.

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 is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

School Scholarships

Four full-fee scholarships are available to UK/EU applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Two full-fee scholarships are available to International applicants with an offer on this programme. Applications must be received by Sunday 1st May 2016.

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 to form interdisciplinary environmental managers and experts 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 partiicularly suitable 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.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 16, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
12 - 24 months
Part time
Full time
7,000 GBP
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Leeds, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 12 - 24 months
Price 7,000 GBP
UK / EU £7,000; International £16,000