MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change – London School of Economics and Political Science

by Trine Kranold Carlsen

Course name: MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change

Level: Postgraduate, Master of Science (MSc)

University: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Length: 12 months full-time, 24-months part-time

Location: London (UK)

Language: English

Summary of the course

The MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change offers the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of the economics, politics, and science of climate change. The programme provides a theoretical foundation in environmental and resource economics, and the quantitative tools to apply the theory to real-world environmental and political problems. 

The programme consists of three compulsory/core modules; Environmental and Resource Economics, Climate Change: Science, Economics and Politics, and Applied Quantitative Methods. It further includes one unit for optional modules, which can be split between two half unit modules or a single full unit module. The optional modules allow specialisation in topics that are of interest to you. If you want to improve your quantitative skills, modules such as Economic Valuation and Appraisal or Techniques in Spatial Economic Analysis could be of interest. If you prefer more qualitative analysis, Concepts in Environmental Regulation or Politics of Environment and Development might be moreappealing. The programme concludes with a written Dissertation, completed during the summer. 

1. What did you like most about the course?

The content of the programme has so far been exciting and engaging. Throughout the teaching, there has been a special emphasis on the applicability of the theoretical tools, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. This focus highlights the relevance of the issues discussed and the importance of the application of these tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

Aside from the academic aspect of the programme, I have met some passionate and inspiring people at LSE. This has probably been the best part of the programme. 

2. What did you do before this course? Are there any specific requirements for being able to apply to and take this course?  

Before the masters, I did an undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Copenhagen. As part of this, I did a module abroad in Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development at LSE. This was how I first got engaged in environmental economics.

To qualify for this programme you need a 2:1 degree or equivalent, in any discipline. While any degree qualifies, a background in social science is preferred and can be an advantage for the coursework. Any relevant professional experience and extracurricular activities are taken into consideration when the applications are evaluated, so make sure to include any of these that you might have in your application. The English requirements are specified on here

3. What sort of work are you doing?

Most compulsory coursework is conducted individually, with the occasional group assignment. However, when possible we have collaborated in solving problem sets and created study groups to divide the readings among us.  The work and assignments for the core modules primarily consist of readings, essay writing, and problem sets. For those who prefer working in groups, several optional modules offer opportunities for this. An example is the module Planning for Sustainable Cities, where we work in groups on presentations and term-length projects. 

4. Is there anything you would change about the course?

The programme has been great, but if there is one thing I might change, it would be to increase the length of seminars. The seminars allow for in-depth discussions of the course materials. However, because there is so much material to cover, we sometimes have to cut the discussions short. Due to COVID, we don’t have much opportunity to continue the conversations outside of class, leaving debates unresolved.

5. Why did you choose this course over other courses you may have been considering?

The programme offers a unique focus on environmental economics and the application of theoretical insights from this discipline to real-world problems, which no other programmes do.

It further introduces scientific and political aspects of climate change, such as the science of global warming or problems in international environmental politics. I find this combination very fascinating and this is the reason I chose this programme over alternative programmes.  

6. What is life at this university like?

COVID has had an enormous impact. This year has been unusual in every way. Unfortunately, this has not left many opportunities to experience university life. However, LSE has done everything in their power to get the best out of a bad situation by hosting online external lectures, career and social events, etc. The many student-led societies and clubs have adapted to the circumstances and offered various opportunities to socialize online and attend interesting events. Despite this adversity, I have met some fascinating people, which I believe is characteristic of life at LSE. You can expect to meet some passionate people who share your interests. 

7. What are you planning on doing after you’ve graduated/what are you currently doing if you have graduated? What are typical jobs graduates do after completing the course?

The alumni of this course have pursued various career paths. Some go on to work for consultancies such as McKinsey, Vivid Economics, and South Pole. Others now work for the UK Civil Service or international organizations such as the OECD. If one is interested in an academic career, there are plenty of opportunities to study for a Ph.D. after the masters. I am personally considering pursuing a career in sustainable investment or consulting.

Trine Kranold Carlsen is an MSc Environmental Economics and Climate Change student at LSE. She has an educational background in Economics and has worked part-time for a Venture Capital Fund in Denmark. She has a particular interest in sustainable innovation and impact investment and enjoys keeping a finger on the pulse of the sustainable start-up environment.

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