Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 15.8 k / Year(s)  
84 place StudyQA ranking:11776 Duration:24 months

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The MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics is a social science programme where you study economics, the environment and natural resources in a national as well as a global context. The overarching theme is: How do we make the most of the environmental and natural resources that are available to us?

The programme is offered in English.

With an MSc degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, you will know how to deal with environmental and natural resource problems from an economic perspective and with a solid understanding of basic bio-physical relationships relevant for the practical implementation of solutions to these problems. Climate change, environmental changes and the use of the world’s natural resources have an impact on all of us. Both globally and locally. The future challenges are huge and numerous – after graduation from the MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, you can help solve them.

For instance, you will know how best to limit pollution using economic instruments, such as for instance green taxes. And you will have an insight into how a country meets its international undertakings concerning CO2 emissions in the least expensive way. And you will be able to assess the economic value of the environment in order to include it in economic decision making.

Profile and Career

The MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics is a social science programme where you study economics, the environment and natural resources in both a national and global context.
The recurring theme of the programme is how we make the most of the available resources.
Graduates from the MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics work using economic theory and methodology on, for example, the sustainable management of a country's fossil fuel energy reserves and its involvement in international environmental agreements.

You will have an insight into how countries can meet their international undertakings concerning reductions of carbon emissions in the best and least expensive way.

Competence Description

After having graduated from the MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, you will, among other things, be able to:

  • Assess issues in respect of environmental and natural resources and economics and propose solutions based on theory on economic, political, social and ethical interrelations – based on a solid understanding of basic natural science which is often crucial for sound management of environmental and natural resource problem.
  • Carry out quantitative and qualitative analyses of environmental and natural resource issues.

The language of instruction is English, and the programme has an international outlook.

Career opportunities

As a graduate from the MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, you have good career opportunities. You will typically be working with focus on environmental and natural resource economic analyses, project assessment, and management and development assignments. You will often be working in a multidisciplinary setting where you, with your knowledge of both social and natural science, are the link between different disciplines, e.g. between economists and biologists and developers and conservationists.

This may be in both private companies, public institutions or NGOs – both nationally and internationally.

There is a well-established collaboration between the students and the business community that ensures excellent prospects for internships or project collaborations, providing you with a unique experience and a good network.

Recent graduates from the programme have, for example, found jobs in the EU, the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy, DONG Energy, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the Danish Energy Agency, Coloplast and the World Conservation Union. Furthermore, many graduates have successfully pursued a career in research

During your first year of study, you follow the thematic course Ecology and Ecosystems Science in relation to Environmental Economics as well as five compulsory courses:

  • Applied Econometrics, where you learn how to carry out empirical studies.
  • Natural Resource Economics, where you learn optimum use of limited natural resources such as oil compared with renewable natural resources such as forests, which can be replanted.
  • Economic Theory of Environmental Policy, where you learn about economic regulation of environmental problems.
  • Economic Valuation Methods and Cost Benefit Analysis, where you learn methodologies for evaluating the benefits and costs of environmental initiatives.
  • Applied Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, where you will work on a practical project based on the knowledge and competences gained in the previous courses, either in groups or individually. Examples of topics from previous years’ project assignments are: Economic valuation of ecosystem services, International environmental agreements in relation to contract theory, Pollution mitigation by means of organic farming, Externalities from windmills.

Thematic course

The thematic course in Ecology and Ecosystems Science in relation to Environmental Economics is placed in blocks 1 and 2 of the first year. It is based on lectures, classroom discussions, theoretical and practical exercises, excursions, and project work involving written assignments. The thematic course will give you a basic understanding of natural science specifically in relation to ecosystems and the services they provide to society, and you will also acquire an understanding of how our use and management of natural resources impacts on these ecosystem services. The focus is on ecosystem structures, functions and processes that are of special importance to the practical application of economic theories, methods and instruments taught in subsequent economics courses. The thematic course will thus give you a basic foundation in natural science which is necessary to work with a large part of the practical cases that are used in the subsequent courses.

Elective courses

At the same time, you have the option of supplementing your studies with courses within, for example, biology, management, law or economics from other faculties at the University of Copenhagen and from Copenhagen Business School. Some students also take courses at the University of Southern Denmark.

The elective courses offer you the opportunity to personalise your study programme.


The programme is concluded with a thesis that gives you the title Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematics and Economics (in Danish: cand.scient.oecon.).

In your thesis, you will be working independently on a theoretical or empirical project. As you can see from thesis subjects from the last few years, the issues range from Danish agriculture to tropical rainforest:

  • Valuation of nuisances of living in the vicinity of a pig farm
  • Nitrogen contracts – assessment of an environmental policy instrument
  • Willingness among Danish consumers to pay for certified timber products
  • Economic Assessment of Ecotourism in a Tropical Rainforest
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive

In addition, at least 7.5 ECTS must be chosen within the following core courses:

  • Trade and International Cooperation
  • Agricultural and Food Policy
  • Applied Microeconomic Analysis
  • Economic Growth and Development
  • Studies in Development Economics
  • Applied Production Analysis
  • Topics in Advanced International Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • Contracts and Cooperatives
  • Environmental Management in Europe

Compulsory courses, core courses (list can be found in the curriculum in the upper right corner) and the Master's thesis must make up at least 90 ECTS.

Teaching on the MSc programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Instruction is in the form of lectures, seminars, practical and theoretical exercises, and there will be a good deal of project work. You will be working both independently and in project groups.

The BSc Programme i Agricultural Economics (Jordbrugsøkonomi) qualifies graduates directly for admission to the MSc Programme in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.Students holding the following BSc degrees are admitted without further prerequisites:BSc in Natural Resources (Naturressourcer) with the core module Environmental Economics (Miljøøkonomi)Students holding a bachelor's degree in Natural Resources with other core modules or another bachelor's degree in a natural scientific area from Faculty of Science are admitted provided that their examination includes:Matematik og databehandling (Mathematics and Data Processing) (7,5 credits)Statistisk dataanalyse 1 (Statistical Data Analysis 1) (7,5 credits)Environmental and Natural Resource Economics orMiljøøkonomi for ikke-økonomer (Environmental Economics) (7,5 credits)Mikroøkonomi (Microeconomics) orIndledende økonomi (Basic Economics) (7,5 credits)Public Economics and Policy Analysis (7,5 credits)Tema: Anvendt økonomisk analyseBachelors from other faculties under the University of Copenhagen or from other national and international universities must have equivalent qualifications and as a minimum it is required that their examination includes courses in:Microeconomics (at least 22.5 ECTS)Statistics (at least 7.5 ECTS)Econometrics (at least 7.5 ECTS)Mathematics (at least 7.5 ECTS)Language RequirementsTo gain admission to an MSc in the English language, non-Danish applicants must document qualifications on par with the Danish secondary school ‘English level B'. The Faculty of Science accepts the following 3 ways of documenting this:English is your native language. The Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen, accepts The University of Purdue view that citizens of the following countries are exempted from taking an English Language Proficiency exam: Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Canada (except Quebec), Dominica, Grand Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, Irish Republic, Jamaica, Montserrat, New Zealand, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, & Wales and United States of AmericaIf you are citizen of one of the above countries, you are not required to submit any proof of English proficiency. Your copy of your passport will suffice as sufficient proof.Prior studies completed in the English language/in an English speaking country. For example, if you have studied your Bachelor degree in England you are not required to complete an English language proficiency exam. We ask such students to provide a signed statement from the Educational institution (with the institution's stamp on it) stating that English is the main language of instruction. Furthermore, applicants from Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland) do not need to provide proof of English language proficiency.Applicants with English as their second language (except Scandinavians) must pass an IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge Advanced English test before being admitted. The Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, accepts the following tests and scores:IELTS-test (British Council) with a minimum score of 6.5Computer-based TOEFL-test with a minimum score of 213 pointsPaper-based TOEFL-test with a minimum score of 560 pointsInternet-based TOEFL-test with a min score of 83 pointsLanguage tests older than 2 years are not accepted (from the application deadline) English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 560 TOEFL iBT® test: 83

The Faculty of Science will not be awarding any scholarships for the academic year 2014/2015.

Please note that many scholarships are offered by companies or organisations, it can be worthwhile to research your particular options from your home country.

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