Britain seeks to be a world leader in renewable energies and its generating potential is recognised globally, but it is equally renowned for the quality of its natural environment. This creates the potential for conflict and a need to better understand the various environmental costs associated with 21st century energy technologies, whether renewable or non-renewable, and how these costs can be evaluated, managed and mitigated. The course draws on the University’s existing expertise or research strengths in environmental impact assessment, carbon trading, planning and impacts of wind, hydro and nuclear power as well as its expertise in energy management and environmental economics. The University also has long established links with regulators, consultancy and the energy industry. We work closely with a variety of relevant organisations including SEPA, Environment Agency, the nuclear industry, Scottish Coal and Scottish Renewables.
The MSc Energy and the Environment builds on the success of our respected and long-running Environmental Management course (600 graduates). It utilises new and existing expertise or research strengths in Environmental Impact Assessment, carbon trading, planning and impacts of wind, hydro and nuclear power within Biological and Environmental Science, and expertise in Energy Management and Environmental Economics within the School of Management with which Biological and Environmental Science have an established teaching link.
Our course gives students:
- an understanding of the scientific principles (atmospheric, hydrological, geomorphological and ecological) that underpin current environmental issues
- an understanding of the economic, political, social and legal frameworks for managing the environment
- a sound training in relevant practical, investigative, research and generic skills that managers in the energy and environment sector should possess.
A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
English language requirements
English Language Requirements: If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (5.5 in all bands).
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Modes of study
Full-time, one year; part-time, 27 months
Course start date
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Structure and content
The basic structure is four modules in each of the Autumn and Spring semesters followed by a dissertation, with each module worth 15 SCQF credits at level 11:
In the Autumn Semester students will take:
- Environmental Impact Assessment,
- Energy and Resource Economics and/or
- Environmental Economics
plus one or two from the following:
- Field Techniques for Environmental Managers
- Analysis of Environmental data
In the Spring Semester students take:
- Environmental Impacts of Energy Production
- Energy Markets and Policy
plus two from:
- Economics of Climate Change
- Environmental Law and Management Systems
- Ecosytem Services
- Environmental Geomatics
- Soil and Water Management
- Conserving Biodiversity
Students who successfully complete the taught course over two semesters will qualify for the Diploma and may proceed to the MSc. This involves completion of a three-month Research Project, often in collaboration with an outside agency. Students frequently choose a topic complementary to their option selection, allowing them to develop a high level of competence in aspects of environmental management relevant to their future employment.
Delivery and assessment
Contact hours in all modules will be 24-27 hours. Delivery will include a mixture of conventional lectures, workshop sessions, field excursions, critique of environmental statements, student-led debates and oral presentations.
Both examinations and coursework will be used with a focus on the use of case studies on different aspects of environmental impact, assessment and monitoring in relation to energy production. Modules will be assessed either by examination and coursework (typically 50:50 weighting) or, where appropriate, by coursework alone. Coursework will be based on written work and/or oral presentation.
David MacKay: Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air
This can be downloaded for free from:
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
Full-time students are expected to be at the University on most days of the week, and part-time students should be able to set aside two to three days for study.
For students who choose the Field Techniques module, this includes a six-day residential course in the Cairngorm National Park in early October.
Dr David Copplestone
In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), 40 percent of research in Biological & Environmental Sciences at Stirling was graded as 'Internationally Excellent' or 'World Class' and a further 50 percent 'Internationally Recognised'.
Stirling has strong links with a variety of relevant organisations including SEPA, Environment Agency, the nuclear industry, Scottish Coal and Scottish Renewables. This is therefore a sector that we know well. The public sector is likely to contract significantly as a potential source of employment for students on our current ‘environment-based’ taught postgraduate courses during the next few years whilst it is expected that growth will continue in the commercial sector, especially in relation to energy-based projects.
Biological and Environmental Sciences at Stirling specialises in studies of man’s interactions with the environment and environmental assessment and management is one of our key strengths. We have long established links with regulators, consultancy and the energy industry and leading researchers working on various aspects of energy and environmental management including Environmental Impact Assessment, carbon trading, and planning and the impacts of wind, hydro and nuclear power.
Already a significant proportion of our recent graduates are working within energy companies and engineering consultancies that focus on large energy-related projects. We therefore consider this course to be integral in maintaining the employability of Stirling postgraduates.
Dr David Copplestone (Course Director)
David has over 19 years’ experience directing, leading research and modelling the fate, behaviour and impact of radionuclides in the environment. He is particularly interested in understanding how ecological systems adapt to environmental stresses caused by exposure to ionising radiation and modelling the transfer and behaviour of radionuclides.