The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date



Climate change is recognised as having potentially huge impacts on the environment and on society. The study of the causes and impacts of climate change and the measures required to mitigate the impacts and adapt is complex. It is essential that scientists, engineers and environmental decision-makers understand the fundamentals of the causes, impacts and management measures involved in dealing with such important issues.

Career Prospects

Below are just a few examples of the wide breadth of employment or PhD positions our recent graduates have secured:

  • Natalia González Guido (2012) Was an Environmental manager with Ferrovial and is now working as an Environmental Scientist with responsibilities for outreach and public engagement "Responsible Learn & Green" with AECOC in Barcelona.
  • Brian (Ben) McGonagle (2012) initially worked for the Irish Government in the Climate Change Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and is now Sustainability Development Office at Southwest College, Omagh, County Tyrone. Follow Ben on LinkedIn
  • Amy Spall (2013) is now an environmental supervisor/specialist with Exclis Inc.
  • David Cooper (2011) following on from working with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) as an Associate Microbiologist, David now works in SEPA's Environmental Quality department.
  • David Stirling (2012) has secured a PhD studentship working on Marine Protected Areas at the University of Aberdeen.
  • Ciara Clarke (2012) has secured a position as energy efficiency advisor within the north east Energy Saving Scotland advice centre in Aberdeen.
  • Jordan Grigor (2011) has secured a PhD studentship at the Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, in Arctic Marine Ecology. Follow Jordan's blog or follow him on Twitter. You can also listen to Jordan recounting his experience during his MSc here at Heriot-Watt
  • Megan Jones (2011), is now working as Operations Officer at the Edinburgh Office of Scottish Natural Heritage.

You can find more examples and discuss the programme and the effect it has had on their careers with current students and alumni at our dedicated Facebook site.

Course content

   Detailed course guide

The MSc programme offers one core course to introduce climate change causes and impacts (Semester 1) and reviews the possible mitigation and adaptation measures in a second (Semester 2). The programme structure allows for three optional and relevant courses each semester from amongst the University's postgraduate syllabus so that a 'tailored' programme can be constructed.

Core courses

  • Climate Change: Causes and Impacts
  • Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Measures
  • Research Project (MSc only)

For potential optional courses please refer to the course/subject areas available and listed in other School MSc programmes, specifically those of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, and School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society. Advice will be given on the most appropriate courses available from the different Schools of the University in topics ranging across scientific, engineering, economics and management courses.

Further information concerning optional courses can be found in the Programme Guide Book