Module code: ENGM059

Module Overview

This course will introduce the basic insights of ecological economics – that is an economics grounded in ecological realities - and situate these in the context of historical and current debates about economics and prosperity on a finite planet. 

Module provider

Centre for Environment & Sustainability

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 110

Lecture Hours: 40

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None; some familiarity with economic concepts and/or quantitative analysis is useful. But instruction on methods is part of the course. Students can pick up sufficient technique during the course to complete the assignments. 

Module content

The thematic areas that the module focuses on include:

  • Brief introduction to the history of economic ideas

  • An overview of the challenge of achieving a sustainable prosperity

  • Microeconomics - investment appraisal, cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, internalisation of external costs

  • Macroeconomics – the principles of demand and supply, consumption, investment, labour demand and productivity in an ecological context

  • Investment, debt and money creation

  • Growth theory and the dilemma of growth in advanced and developing economies

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

N/A.Different choice of topic for either assignment

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to encourage pre-course reading and to give students the chance to demonstrate both quantitative and qualitative skills. The post-course assignment will build on techniques introduced in the module’s lectures. Part of the course-work consists in (unmarked) group work, which culminates in presentation to the rest of the course participants on the final day.

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A pre-course reflection on the ‘dilemma of growth’ in a finite world (25% of marks)

  • A post-course essay using the analytic techniques and covering one of the conceptual issues taught on the course (75% of module marks)

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive qualitative feedback on the group work report prior to the submission of the individual post-module coursework. There are also several interactive learning sessions, in which participants experience hands-on learning of specific analytic techniques and receive feedback on their use of these techniques.  

Module aims

  • To introduce the core insights of ecological economics and explore the issues raised by an ecological approach to economics
  • To situate ecological economic ideas in a historical context and familiarise students with key economic debates
  • To develop in-depth understanding of contemporary debates related to the ‘dilemma of growth'
  • To familiarise students with the degrowth movement, the management of common pool resources, and the role of intra- and inter-generational equity in economics
  • To provide a basic introduction to microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts and familiarise participants with economic techniques relevant to real-world problems
  • To introduce students to key external speakers on crucial economic issues, such as sustainable finance, community investment and the role of money.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Make sense of the claims made by those who invoke economic concepts and arguments in debates over ecological and social issues. K
2 Understand the basic principles of cost-benefit analysis, investment appraisal, macro-economic theory, systems analysis and ecological economics. P
3 Understand the dilemma of growth in advanced economies and engage in debates about growth, prosperity and sustainability. C
4 Participate in case study discussions relating to ecological economics. T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The teaching and learning strategy is designed to encourage active, problem-based learning.  The module will encourage students to explore and critically evaluate theoretical perspectives on economics, and consider their application to empirical case studies.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures and class discussions (30 hours)

  • In-class group work (10 hours)

  • Independent study (110 hours)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM059

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Corporate Environmental Management MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Environmental Strategy MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Sustainable Development MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.