Political Economy of the Environment (802AF)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This module explores a series of key environmental issues and challenges through the lens of different political economy and political ecology approaches.

Early sessions survey different ways of thinking about the environment in political economy terms of who wins, who loses, how and why from the prevailing distribution of benefits and burdens of resource use and allocation.

Concepts from political economy, political ecology and ecological economics are then drawn on to make sense of the actors, institutions and politics at work in a range of key issue areas such as:

  • climate change
  • energy
  • food
  • water.

We explore key contemporary debates within each of these areas and encourage you to develop your own critical thinking on these issues.


33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.