Ecological Economics MSc

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
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
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£13,250 (Total)
International fees
£29,500 (Total)

Course overview

Masters in (Sustainability) Ecological Economics

Many of the most serious environmental and social problems we face can be traced to root causes in our economic system. Experts in ecological economics are in huge demand to help solve these problems, which range from the climate emergency to deforestation, from rising inequality to declining public services.

Our Ecological Economics MSc will equip you with the expertise and skills in understanding how economic activity gives rise to environmental and social problems and be introduced to the main tools to tackle them. This course challenges conventional thinking and introduces a real-world approach to teaching economics, focusing on critical problems whilst integrating a wide range of different perspectives.

You’ll be taught by leading experts and academics from the School of Earth and Environment with some modules being delivered by the Leeds University Business School — both of which conduct internationally excellent research that feeds directly into the course.

This means you’ll be learning knowledge and developing a specialist skill set sought after by employers worldwide, opening the door to many career paths in areas like sustainability, policymaking, research, resource management — and beyond.

Why study at Leeds:

  • Our globally-renowned research conducted right here in our School of Earth and Environment and Leeds University Business School feeds directly into the course, shaping your learning with the latest thinking in ecological economics.
  • Advance your knowledge and skills in critical areas in ecological economics including policies to achieve sustainability and how to manage an economy without growth.
  • Tailor your degree to suit your career interests with a broad selection of optional modules available in topics like macroeconomics, environmental policy, global economic coordination, human wellbeing, the biosphere and behavioural economics.
  • Conduct your own individual research project as part of your course and gain experience in researching and delivering a project that focuses on a real-world problem and allows you to explore your specific interests.
  • Experience excellent practical and theoretical teaching delivered by a programme team who are leading economists and social scientists from within the School of Earth and Environment and the Leeds University Business School.
  • Enhance your career prospects and gain skills that are in demand by organisations ranging from government and academia to international NGOs and social enterprises.

Join our online taster courses

Our five-part series of courses will show you how environmental management policies are developed and help you understand the challenges surrounding their formulation.

Course details

On this programme, you’ll learn the main concepts and tools of ecological economics – a transdisciplinary field that seeks to understand and manage the environmental and social dimensions of economic activity.

This programme combines modules that deliver strong foundations in ecological and environmental economics, with a range of options in sustainability and heterodox economics. You’ll study ideas ranging from how to value ecosystem services to how to achieve a post-growth economy. You’ll learn tools such as input-output analysis and system dynamics modelling to understand the relationships between the economy, society, and environment. You’ll also have the chance to tailor your course to suit your interests, choosing four of the optional modules we offer.

Project work

The research project you’ll undertake for your dissertation will allow you to apply the knowledge you’ve learned throughout the course to a real-world problem that reflects your interests or career ambitions. This independent project will give you experience in planning, conducting, and reporting your chosen subject, whilst building skills in data collection and analysis.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Ecological Economics MSc in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Global Economic Coordination and Governance 15
Research Methods 15
Research Project 60
Introduction to Ecological Economics 15
Environmental Economics and Policy 15
Tools and Techniques in Ecological Economics 15

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Macroeconomics 15
Econometrics 15
Behavioural Economics 15
Money, Monetary Policy and the Global Financial Crisis 15
Economics of Wellbeing 15
Issues and Cases in Corporate Social Responsibility 15
Climate and Environmental Policy and Governance 15
Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development 15
Green Logistics 15

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.

You'll be assigned a personal tutor, who will maintain contact with you throughout the year and offer pastoral guidance. They will help you to settle into the university and clarify any procedures, as well as helping you prepare for employment upon graduation.

Programme team

The programme team is made up of leading economists and social scientists from within the School of Earth and Environment and the Leeds University Business School. Many are members of the UK’s most important research centres, such as:

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


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) in social sciences, natural sciences, environmental studies, economics, management, engineering or a related subject.

Applicants with a 2:2 will be considered on a case by case basis where applicants can demonstrate relevant work experience or aptitude in a relevant specialist field. Graduates from other disciplines and those with professional experience in the sector will also be considered.

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information please contact the 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)

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Application deadlines

We operate a staged admissions process for this course with selection deadlines throughout the year.

Please read our How to Apply page for full details, including application deadlines and what to include with your application.

Click below to access the University’s online application system and find out more about the application process.

If you're still unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

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

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Earth and Environment
Leeds University Business School

Contact us

School of Earth and Environment Postgraduate Admissions Team



UK: £13,250 (Total)

International: £29,500 (Total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

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

Additional cost information

Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs associated with compulsory field trips are covered by the university.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.

Career opportunities

There is an increasing demand for professionals with an interdisciplinary understanding of economics as it applies to real-world environmental and social problems.

This Master’s degree is ideal if you are looking to build upon a previous degree in the social or natural sciences, by developing an understanding of economics. It’s designed to equip you with both a conceptual and applied understanding of critical issues in economics and sustainability.

You’ll learn the skills to pursue a successful career in government, business, or in a non-governmental organisation. Many of our graduates also pursue a research career and continue on to a PhD.

Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 5 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2024, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.

Here are examples of job positions and organisations graduates from our School worked in after graduation:

  • Consultant, Carbon Intelligence
  • Local Transport Solutions Officer, Development Trust Association Scotland
  • Economist, Natural England
  • Assistant Project Manager, Network Rail
  • Business Development Manager, Cofely UK – GDF SUEZ
  • Senior Policy Analyst, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

Careers support

At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one — that’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers. The University's Careers Service is one of the largest in the country, providing a wide range of resources to ensure you are prepared to take your next steps after graduation and get you where you want to be.

  • Dedicated Employability Officer — gain quality advice, guidance and information to help you choose a career path. From CV and cover letter writing to supporting you with job applications, our School’s dedicated Employability Officer is on hand to help maximise your capabilities through a process of personal development and career planning.
  • Employability and networking events — we run a full range of events, including careers fairs and industry talks in specialist areas and across broader industries, with employers who are actively recruiting for roles, giving you the opportunity to network and engage with industry sponsors. 
  • Employability skills training – to support your transition to the workplace, we embed training in a range of key transferable skills valued by employers such as research and data analysis in all our programmes.
  • MyCareer system — on your course and after you graduate you’ll have access to a dedicated careers portal where you can book appointments with our team, get information on careers and see job vacancies and upcoming events.
  • Opportunities at Leeds — there are plenty of exciting opportunities offered by our Leeds University Union, including volunteering and over 300 clubs and societies to get involved in.

Find out more at the Careers website.

Student profile: Richard Dowling

If you’re an individual who cares about ecology and economics, then this course is a really good option. Those studying the course were really nice people from a diverse set of backgrounds.
Find out more about Richard Dowling 's time at Leeds