Course Overview

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Do you want to contribute to address major environmental challenges? Do you have an interest in economics? Then this course is for you! It will help you to make a career out of your interests.

Many of the greatest challenges facing societies around the world today relate to environmental concerns—from climate change to food and energy security, the need to achieve sustainable and resilient forms of economic development, sustainable use of natural resources, pollution or biodiversity loss. The discipline of environmental economics is central to our understanding of these challenges and to the framing and evaluation of appropriate policy responses.

This course will equip students with the skills to address these challenges through a unique combination of theoretical and applied subjects.  These are delivered through small group teaching by academics as well as industry and policy experts. This guarantees a practical focus that is further strengthened through work placements in related companies or research institutes in Ireland or abroad, including for example with the UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme.

The programme is specifically targeted to provide students with employability skills that are relevant to shape and influence future public policy, conduct environmental evaluations, lead research projects, work in a business or consultancy role, with international development and aid agencies or continue education through further academic study.

The aims of the MSc in Global Environmental Economics are to equip graduates with the following skills:

  1. Understand and analyse global environmental issues from an economic perspective
  2. Critically evaluate and inform future public policy in relation to the environment
  3. Advanced knowledge of economic methods used to analyse environmental problems
  4. Understand global interlinkages of environmental problems and how these differ around the world
  5. Effective communication skills and be proficient with various media 

Key Descriptors


Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Dr Doris Laepple
Ph.D, Dipl.-Ing. Agr. (Univ.)
Senior Lecturer
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Prof Stephen Hynes
B.Comm., M.Econ.Sc., PhD.
Director SEMRU
Cairnes Building
National University of Ireland Galway
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Dr John Cullinan
School of Business & Economics
NUI Galway
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Dr Ashley James Piggins
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Requirements and Assessment

Each module comprises of a combination of continuous assessment and an end-of-semester exam. In line with employer needs, communication and presentations skills are implemented in the assessment structure. 

The dissertation of approximately 10,000 words in length is submitted in autumn and involves a series of discussions, meetings and progress reporting to supervisors within an agreed timeframe. The dissertation is usually closely linked to the work placement. 

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Normally a H2.1 degree (NFQ Level 8 or equivalent) with Economics. However, candidates with a significantly high H2.2 honours degree and who have achieved a 2.1 average in relevant Economics modules in a business degree, will also be considered. Students without an economic background are also encouraged to apply and will be accepted subject to successful completion of an online preparatory Economics course. These students are advised to get in touch with the course coordinator as early as possible for more details. IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent, if applicable.

Additional Requirements


1 year (full-time); 2 years (part-time)

Next start date

September 2023

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Please refer to the offer rounds/closing date webpage.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Course code


Course Outline

Course Outline (Links to module descriptors available below)
The course consists of taught modules, an internship, and a minor dissertation which is usually closely linked to the internship.
The programme includes the following core modules and one optional module:
Core Modules:
Microeconomic Theory
Natural Resource Governance and Sustainability
Climate Change Economics
Cost-Benefit Analysis and Evaluation
Environmental Economic Modelling
Global Issues in Agricultural, Marine and Renewable Energy Economics
Optional Modules:
Renewable Energy Economics and Policy
Innovation and Management
Social Marketing and Environmental Sustainability
Business Analytics with SAP
Click Here: Module details for Full-Time option
Click Here: Module details for Part-Time option

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Future employment

Graduates have found employment in international development and aid agencies, the European Commission, utility companies, government departments, investment banks, corporate environmental investment funds, United Nations organisations, consultancy firms and local authorities, and many of our graduates have gone to undertake PhDs.

Graduate Employers include: Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) Marine Institute, Galway County Council, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Bord na Mona, Coillte, Teagasc, Environment Agency (UK), Electricity Supply Board (ESB), Bord Iascaigh Mhara. 

Work placement

This programme guarantees a practical focus that is further strengthened through work placements in related companies or research institutes in Ireland or abroad. Placement partners include: Marine Institute, BIM, Tipperary Energy Agency, SEAI, Irish Wind Energy Agency (IWEA), Coillte, Teagasc, ESB, ESRI.

Partnerhsip with United Nations (UN) on Climate Change Adaptation

The MSc Global Environmental Economics at the University of Galway has recently partnered with the UN Climate Change and Universities Partnership Programme. The Partnership offers opportunities for graduate students to work closely with local, national, and regional partners and international experts to carry out research projects aimed at addressing identified knowledge gaps related to the challenges of adapting to climate change.

Students from the MSc Global Environmental Economics class of 2022 are currently on a project on developing a better understanding of the limits to ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) for coastal flood risk in the Pacific Islands. The project will form the basis of the students’ Masters Dissertations, and is supervised by Dr Thomas K.J. McDermott, programme director for the MSc Global Environmental Economics at NUI Galway. The UN Partnership programme is part of the Nairobi work programme: The UNFCCC Knowledge-to-Action Hub for Climate Adaptation and Resilience.

Three students from last year’s MSc class, Alfred Afeku, Brenda Daly and Jack Flannery (cc’d), worked on a research project over the summer in partnership with the UNFCCC. Brenda and Alfred recently visited the UNFCCC headquarters in Bonn. For more information on this project, follow relevant links included in this blog post and read the UN University of Galway Partnership Student Report


Field Research Day

The seagoing training for the programme is held in Cork, Ireland each year on board the RV Celtic Voyager. This training provide students with invaluable skills for future employment, as it involves students responding to a virtual company request to conduct a cost benefit analysis for a new environmental project.

This training is a collaboration between the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training and the Social and Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at NUIG. This is a unique opportunity for students to experience the multidisciplinary scientific research methods used to survey the marine environment through the core disciplines of oceanography, fisheries biology, benthic ecology and geosciences.

Niamh Burke Renewable Energy Bursary - Arthur Cox/ IWEA

The bursary is open to students wishing to study in the renewable energy field in Ireland, at Postgraduate level. All relevant disciplines are open for application - law, economics, engineering, modelling, policy and others. The closing date is the 6th of March. Apply here.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,990 Full Time, €3,555 Part Time p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Tuition

€6,850 full-time; €3,450 part-time p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2023/24

Fees: Non EU

€17,590 p.a. 2023/24

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €4,000 towards your tuition (2023/24).  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay tuition up to a maximum of €6,270. SUSI will not cover the student levy of €140.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = Tuition (EU or NON EU) + Student levy as outlined above.

Note to non-EU students: learn about the 24-month Stayback Visa here

Find out More

Dr Thomas McDermott,
Room 221,
Aras Cairnes,
North Campus,
NUI Galway. 
T: +353 91 494 327  


Quick Links

What Our Students Say


Aisling Sealy Phelan |   MSc Global & Environmental Economics scholar 2020-21

I have always had a keen interest in the Environment and tackling climate change and this, alongside my interest in economics is what led me to choose to study the MSc in Global Environmental Economics, and I couldn’t be happier. I was also very interested by the placement opportunities offered, and I hope to complete my placement later this year. I find the course has a great mix of subjects, both quantitative, theoretical, and practical, all with a focus on the economic issues of climate change and the potential solutions. It is a really interesting and extremely relevant course and I have thoroughly enjoyed my first semester albeit online. The lecturers have really adapted well to online delivery and although it is not the same as in person, they have provided great support throughout. I think the material covered in this course has been well thought out and planned, and I have learned so much over the last few months. Galway is an amazing city, full of friendly faces, culture, and craic - I could not recommend it more to any potential students. I think the course is a perfect balance between the interrelated issues of policy, economics, and the natural environment.

Jack Byrne |   MSc Global Environmental Economics Scholar 2020-21

I was delighted to receive the NUIG Business postgraduate scholarship to study a Masters in Global Environmental Economics. I came home from New Zealand at the height of the pandemic in 2020, and it was great to have the opportunity to get a world-class education at my hometown university. I had studied Law and Accounting in the University of Limerick for my undergraduate degree, then travelled and worked in South America, Australia and New Zealand for a few years. 2020 was a year of change for everyone so I chose to pursue a new direction in my career. I've really enjoyed the Msc in Global Environmental Economics so far. Our lecturers have done a great job in adapting to the online environment and the modules we have taken are very interesting. My favourites so far were Climate Change Economics and Econometrics, it's great to get an in-depth knowledge of what humanity needs to do to meet the challenges of climate change. The scholarships NUIG provide are a great help as a student as it eases some of the financial burden of making the decision to study a Masters. 

What Our Graduates Say


Daniel Vila |   Researcher in the field of renewable energy technology

I cannot speak highly enough about my time studying Global Environmental Economics at NUI Galway (now University of Galway). The breadth of courses and experienced lecturers provided me with a great opportunity to further develop techniques in quantitative research that I routinely use in my current position as a researcher in the field of renewable energy technology. My time there opened many doors for me; if you are interested in studying the effects of agriculture, health, and/or renewable energy policy (and their dynamic interaction in Ireland and abroad) I highly recommend this course!


I truly enjoyed my year studying Environmental Economics at NUI Galway. I had the opportunity to work closely with instructors from the University and external research centres, gain student teaching experience and work in paid research placements. After completing this programme I was offered a position with a Galway consulting firm, but ultimately chose to begin a PhD fellowship in Galway. Other students in our class have gone on to positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. I strongly recommend Galway to prospective students. NUI Galway is a particularly welcoming and valuable experience for international students like myself.

Nalumu Elizabeth Eleiton |   SEMRU

Studying Economics at NUIG is an excellent choice for students with an interest in environmental economics and I highly recommend it for international students.The course was very practical and included a field trip aboard the RV Celtic Voyager aimed at enhancing knowledge and appreciation of marine science that is also incorporated into marine policy formulation.

Robert English |   Consultant Economist at AECOM

"I would highly recommend this course to other students. One of my favorite aspects of the course was how topical the information we were learning was. The work placement option really sets this course apart and it has allowed me to apply everything I have learned over the past 8 months. This course offers its students some amazing opportunities, my advice would be to not let them pass you by!"
in Connect with Robert

Gavin Landgraf |   J.D. Candidate at Yale Law School

In 2015, the US-Ireland Alliance offered me a George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study for a year in Ireland. NUI Galway's program stood out among other postgraduate economics programs because of its particular focus on environmental and natural resource economics. The course is remarkably strong in its quantitative training. In the fall, students complete rigorous modules in econometrics and statistics, learning skills which they are then required to put into practice in the spring. I found it easy to develop strong working relationships with my lecturers, one of whom arranged a summer placement for me at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Dublin. At ESRI, I am working on a project with one of Ireland’s top environmental economists to value two salmon fisheries on the West Coast. My dissertation, which is based on the project, will be presented to a government client and published in an academic journal.

Noreen Brennan |   Post Doctoral Researcher at NUI Galway

I found studying Economics to be a thorough, well-organised course which covered a range of issues such as resource sustainability, renewable energy and marine resource economics. The courses were interesting and topical and also provided students with lectures from various industry experts and research field leaders throughout the year. The work placement was a fantastic experience, allowing me to work with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. This, as well as the course work and research conducted through my dissertation enabled me to pursue a PhD in environmental economics.
in Connect with Noreen

Annemiek Eweg |   Research trainee at Wageningen Economic Research The Hague

I would recommend Global Environmental Economics to other students because the topics covered are highly relevant and the teachers are committed to their subjects. The size of the class is small, which allows for active participation, discussions and a great atmosphere. The work placement as part of the course is a nice opportunity to apply the skills I have learned throughout the course.

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  • Postgraduate Prospectus 2023

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