Architecture Planning & Environmental Policy - Environmental Policy

MSc Environmental Policy
Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

Please note the accredited version of this programme, MSc Environmental Policy (W271) is a 'Specialist Degree' accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in the UK and is only available to UCD internal students progressing from UCD's Planning, Geography and Environmental Policy degree or UCD's City Planning & Environmental Policy degree. All other eligible applicants should apply for the alternative non- accredited version of the programme MSc Environmental Policy (W269).

This one year MSc degree is designed to equip students with essential knowledge about environmental sustainability, and policy and governance frameworks for environmental action, while also developing key professional tools to enable graduates to apply policy-oriented skills creatively in their future careers. The programme takes an international perspective on environmental issues and explores the increasingly complex environmental challenges that societies and governments face across the globe, addressing contemporary environmental debates such as Climate Change, Water Policy, Energy Security and Sustainability, and Urban Resilience. Teaching is focused on areas and skills within environmental policy-making, and an integrated group-project module provides practice-based insights into the policy-making process. Students can enhance their own specialist research interests during the completion of a thesis or internship in the third trimester. Students may gain practical experience in policy analysis, environmental assessment, cost-benefit analysis, public participation, and risk management. Key professional skills for future career development include leadership, problem-solving, communication, media skills, report writing, group work, presentation skills and project management. UCD Environmental Policy has an established international track record as a leading research centre in environmental policy and is in the Top 150 QS World University Rankings by subject area.

Vision and Values Statement
The environment poses some of the most complex and pressing challenges facing individuals, societies and policy-makers across the globe. These challenges range from global to local scale as policy-makers grapple with building more sustainable and resilient societies, while balancing environmental goals with economic and social objectives. The aim of the MSc Environmental Policy is to produce graduates with the professional knowledge, skills and tools necessary to address these pressing issues and to pursue careers in the environmental field where they will contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future. We want to create critical thinkers and evidence-based policy practitioners that are instilled with a strong theoretical understanding and research capability. The interdisciplinary nature of the MSc Environmental Policy programme fosters these values. While having a core focus on environmental policy, it also includes a solid foundation in technical skills and an understanding of sustainable development. The program balances all of these branches of education including core skills (e.g. GIS and Environmental Assessment), core knowledge (e.g. Environmental Economics and European Environmental Policy) and sustainable development tools. The programme fosters a learning environment that draws on the research and expertise of our academic staff, combined with insights from innovative practitioners in the environmental field. The primary teaching space for this programme is the existing facilities in the Planning and Environmental Policy Buildings in UCD Richview, including lecturing and studio facilities, and GIS laboratories. The program provides a blended-learning experience, including traditional lectures but also interactive studio based learning. Assessment includes continuous assessment, unseen exams and evaluation of non-traditional student work (e.g. presentations).

Programme Outcomes
Acknowledge the spatial consequences of policy approaches, and recognize the importance of fairness in environmental policy processes and outcomes.

Apply their professional knowledge using tools and transferable skills to generate integrated and evidence-based responses to environmental challenges, including climate change, to achieve a more resilient and sustainable future.

Communicate effectively verbally, graphically and through written documents and to communicate concepts, knowledge and conclusions to peers, specialist and non-specialist audiences within an interdisciplinary environment.

Demonstrate effective research, policy analysis tools and evaluation skills and the ability to develop evidence-based policy proposals.
On successful completion of the programme students should be able to:

Appreciate environmental policy research, develop skills as autonomous researchers, and recognize the value of research as an input into improved policy making and policy implementation.

Understand how environmental policy is operationalised within the wider political, institutional and legal frameworks, and understand the social, economic and political context that informs approaches to achieve sustainable development.

Understand the challenges and responsibilities of assessing tradeoffs in their response to environmental challenges and be open to critically assessing, debating and reflecting on these, and acting in the interests of the common good.

Work effectively both on their own and as part of a team in an interdisciplinary context.

Subjects taught

All students undertake 90 credits across a range of modules that help them develop foundational knowledge and skills in policymaking, and equip them to employ these new skills to manage a diverse range of contemporary environmental challenges. In addition to taught modules, students undertake a practice-based studio module, and can also pursue their own specialist interest through completion of a thesis, an internship, or an academic research project.

Entry requirements

This programme is intended for applicants with a degree in any discipline such as social sciences and arts, environmental sciences, law, business studies or engineering.

An honours undergraduate degree (NFQ Level 8) with a minimum upper second class honours or international equivalence is required
Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

Students meeting the programme's academic entry requirements but not the English language requirements, may enter the programme upon successful completion of UCD's Pre-Sessional or International Pre-Master's Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes

Application dates

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Environmental Policy (Accredited) FT (W271)


MSc Environmental Policy FT (W269)


* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised


1 year full-time.

Post Course Info

Career & Graduate Study Opportunity
To date, our graduates have been very successful in gaining employment in environment related fields in a diverse range of public, private and NGO organisations. Past graduates are now working for a number of agencies both nationally and internationally including private (e.g. Samsung Electronics; Wisetek; Citi Bank; AWN Consulting; EnvEcon; Irish Water), public bodies (e.g. Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs) and NGO organisations (e.g. Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice; Plant life Economy Foundation; Amazon Environmental Research Institute Brazil;; Global Action plan Ireland), in a range of environmental positions (e.g. environmental consultants; policy officers; researchers; climate officers; environmental justice officers). Our graduates have also gone on to pursue further study (PhDs).

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time

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    Course provider