Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy | Vienna University of Economics and Business - PEP - Promoting Economic Pluralism
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Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy | Vienna University of Economics and Business

SEEP provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to critically analyse the combined social, ecological and economic crises facing humanity today. Policy approaches and the diversity of alternatives are explored with respect to issues such as climate change, social-ecological transformation, inequalities, growthmania and consumerism.

How does the programme provide content to ensure students achieve an understanding of a reasonably diverse set of perspectives on understanding economies?

Staff bring diverse perspectives to enable students to gain insight into heterodox economics, social policy, ecological economics, degrowth, governance, economic geography, political ecology and political science. Furthermore, the program offers four concentration areas of which two must be chosen: 
  • Social Ecological Economics
  • Globalisation and Social Policy
  • Globalisation and Multi-Level Policy
  • The Political Economy of Inequalities

How does the programme ensure students understand the interaction between economic and ecological systems?

Interdisciplinary understanding is needed to comprehend the interactions and interdependencies of biophysical, social and economic systems. The concept of a sustainable economic system that reproduces itself without creating social and ecological crises is the challenge facing humanity today. Students will learn to critically analyse sustainability issues and their related public policy debates and disputes, from local to global. They will work in interdisciplinary teams, explore the close link between theory and applied work, and learn how to conceptualize social-ecological economic problems and apply research methods.

How does the programme ensure students understand how to critically explore real-world evidence, both qualitative and quantitative?

Semester 1 focuses on economics, law, institutions and governance, and the history & philosophy of science. During semesters 1 and 2, the students develop soft skills in reading and writing in the context of contemporary policy challenges. Semesters 3 and 4 focus on quantitative and qualitative methods and two selected specializations. Quantitative and qualitative methods are treated as equally important in the programme and taught in combination, not as separate courses or with the former regarded as superior to the latter. In the final semester, students work on their master’s theses, applying what they have learned.

What pedagogical approaches does the programme use to ensure that students examine the historical context, assumptions and values in all economic thinking?

The SEEP MSc foundation courses in the first semester provide coverage of research and writing on contemporary policy challenges; the history and philosophy of science; international and European law, institutions and governance; economic growth and development. Besides, lectures about value pluralism, incommensurability and institutions enable students to critically reflect on contemporary economic thinking. Teaching methods are group work, plenary discussions, case study analysis, policy evaluation and practical community engagement.

How does the department ensure that the teaching culture and capacity to deliver economic pluralism are continually improving?

The overall number of students is limited to 60, while small group teaching and split classes are used to maintain good teacher-to-student ratios. Students will be amongst a gender balanced cohort of people who have mixed disciplinary backgrounds and international experience: an “international classroom”. The cohorts vary but in recent years have consisted by nationality of 40% international, 20% international German and 40% domestic. In order to actively engage in community building and knowledge transfer, the department’s teaching staff maintains an intensive dialog with scientific communities and also contributes to public debates, societal opinion formation and empowering grass-roots movements.

Other information:

The Master Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy is a full-time program which takes 4 semesters. The application process takes place online. Prerequisites are excellent English skills and a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline or an equivalent degree that includes at least 16 ECTS credits in economics or social sciences or statistics/mathematics/quantitative methods.




Vienna University of Economics and Business

Course name:

Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy


Institute for Ecological Economics

Course level:

Taught Masters

Course language:



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Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy | Vienna University of Economics and Business

Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy

Institute for Ecological Economics