Ecological Economics

Key information

Start date: 09 May 2022

Attendance dates:

May 2022: 09, 10, 11, 12, 13

Time commitment: 5 days


Course may be taught face-to-face. Location will be confirmed closer to the time

Contact details:


This module can be taken as standalone or as part of building up to a certificate, diploma or master’s degree. You can take up to three standalone modules before deciding whether you want to work towards any of these.

    If you do decide to build up to a qualification, then you will need to complete and pass the following amount of modules within a five year period: four modules for a certificate; eight modules for a diploma; eight modules and a dissertation for a degree. Please note that certain modules will be compulsory depending on the degree you opt to take.

    If you would like to gain a qualification then you will need to register onto one of our master's courses:

    Module overview

    This module 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.

    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

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

    Course content

    Content includes the following:

    • 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.

    Learning and teaching methods

    The learning and teaching methods include:

    • Lectures and class discussions
    • In-class group work
    • Independent study.


    • An individual reflective essay on the 'dilemma of growth' in a finite world, prior to starting the module
    • A post-module essay using the analytic techniques and covering one of the conceptual issues taught on the course, to be completed over the four-week period following this module.

    Please note: If you are taking this as a standalone module, then you are not required to complete the post-module essay, however, this will mean that you won't gain any credits for completing the module and so won't be able to work towards a qualification if you later decide to do so.

    Course leader

    Tim Jackson profile image

    Professor Tim Jackson

    Professor of Sustainable Development and Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP)

    Reading list

    You will be required to do some reading prior to the module starting, take a look at the reading list.

    Entry requirements

    There are no entry requirements if you are taking this as a standalone module.

    For those wanting to build up to a qualification, please refer to the MSc course pages for entry requirements.

    Recognition of prior learning

    Some familiarity with economic concepts and/or quantitative analysis is useful, but not required.

    Fees and funding

    Price per person:


    For group bookings or bespoke training packages please contact us.

    How to apply

    For those taking this as a standalone module, applications are taken through our online store.

    Payment can be accepted by purchase order, credit card or bank transfer. Payments will be accepted subject to availability. Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment.

    If you have any problems with booking or payments then please contact the Administrative Officer, Melanie Wilde:

    Apply now

    Terms and conditions

    When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations and our terms and conditions. You are also confirming you have read and understood the University's prospective student privacy notice.

    Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


    This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.