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 City Planning & Environmental Policy degree. All other eligible applicants should apply for the alternative non- accredited version of the programme MSc Environmental Policy (W269).

Societies, governments, and businesses across the globe are faced with increasingly complex environmental challenges, in areas such as climate change and adaptation and local environmental quality in our cities and regions. The UCD MSc in Environmental Policy arms graduates with the capacity to develop environmental policy choices, analyse them critically, and to provide guidance in regard to their implementation and evaluation. The programme introduces graduates to research-based economic and environmental tools and insights to enable graduates to be effective change management leaders and management leaders and environmental and sustainability experts in both the public and private sectors.

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. Students may also chose to undertake either a thesis, an internship, or an academic research project during the Summer trimester. 

Also for professionals who want to balance their passion for the environment while advancing their career this programme is offered as a two-year part-time degree (W580). The part-time program is scheduled to be completed over two years with one or two modules (10 credits per module) per semester. Part-time students join the full-time students for the classes and hence can meet two cohorts of the full-time MSc programme.

Module Information:

Under the "What modules can I take?" section below you will see general module information, for a more detailed description including module selection rules click here.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

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. 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).

  • 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.

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).

View All Modules Here

This section links to general module information, for a more detailed description including module selection rules click here.

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.

Part-time students have 4 trimesters to complete the 6 taught modules and complete their Thesis/internship/Research Project in the summer of the second year.

GradCert Environmental Policy (T312) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 3010
nonEU    fee per year - € 9690

GradDip Environmental Policy (T313) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 6140
nonEU    fee per year - € 15140

MSc Environmental Policy (W269) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 9300
nonEU    fee per year - € 22600

MSc Environmental Policy (W271) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 10300
nonEU    fee per year - € 29100

MSc Environmental Policy (W580) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4520
nonEU    fee per year - € 11300

***Fees are subject to change

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see

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 

Graduate Profile - Tiago Reis, Brazil

"I chose the UCD Masters in Environmental Policy because I wanted to make a career shift from running my own small business in logistics to a qualified socio-environmental career. The UCD programme prepared me for that career shift by providing me with the knowledge and important ideas in the field of environmental sciences and policy, and by giving me transferrable skills that later would be invaluable in my professional life as a NGO researcher, project manager and activist. In the Environmental Policy programme, the balance between scientific overview, policy application and the development of transferrable skills really impressed me. I would recommend UCD for other international students because it is a lively university, with an excellent infrastructure, professors and staff. Moreover, Dublin is an awesome place to live, where you can have services and cultural life close by and at the same time the UCD campus is quiet and peaceful to concentrate on studies."

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Environmental Policy (Accredited) FT (W271)
1 Years
Full Time
MSc Environmental Policy FT (W269)
1 Years
Full Time
MSc Environmental Policy PT (W580)
2 Years
Part Time

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