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Global Sustainable Development at Warwick

GSD Students in a seminar led by Dr Stephanie Panichelli-Batalla (Head of the School for Cross-faculty Studies)

Our Focus

Do you want to learn through an undergraduate degree programme that is transdisciplinary rather than wedded to a 'traditional' subject? If so, then studying GSD could be the answer. We maintain that the complex issues of sustainable development demand an approach which gives weighting to all disciplinary backgrounds, from marine biology to sociology, economics to psychology.

Our tutors come from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds, and their research and teaching is grounded in the University's Global Research Priorities. We take a transdisciplinary perspective to prepare students for the realities of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental global order. And as these changes take place, you will graduate with a rich skillset, priming you to tackle the big issues shaping today's world. Your university education should be a life-changing, life-shaping experience, and with GSD we seek to provide you with that transformative experience.

Our Courses

GSD offers two streams of Undergraduate study: Single Honours and Joint Honours. Our Single Honours BASc degree allows you to delve deep into the core concepts that structure global sustainable development, such as food security, planetary boundaries, and the future of energy. Our Joint Honours BASc degrees offer you the chance to combine the unique transdisciplinary approach of GSD with another subject.
We believe that your teaching and learning should reflect the demands of the global challenges our courses interact with. As such, we employ a problem-based learning approach, introducing you to critical issues such as climate change and social justice and asking you to propose innovative solutions to these complex problems. We assess you not only through traditional examinations and research papers, but also with presentations, policy briefs, and fieldwork.

*Entry requirements

Our Students

Passion, determination, and enthusiasm define our students. Our GSD courses bring together students from across the world, with a diverse array of opinions and academic interests. You can meet two of our GSD students below.

Hollie Ryan, PAIS and GSD student

  • Three words to describe a GSD Degree: Problem-solving, innovative, dynamic
  • Student societies: Climate Reality, I joined the Executive Committee in Term One of my first year, becoming the society's Web Content Officer; I am now Green Society Coordinator.
  • Top tip for prospective students: Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to Warwick, and don’t be intimidated to get involved with things the majority of people your age aren’t doing. I joined Warwick Behavioural Insights Team, something only Masters students tend to do, and contributed to a project to reduce campus waste. I also joined the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) as a GSD and PAIS representative, where as students we have the opportunity to directly influence the shape and content of our GSD courses.
  • SDG you feel most connected to: I have a particular interest in the transition from a linear to a circular economy. My degree has allowed me to think creatively about the innovative solutions needed to create a fairer, more balanced economy.
  • Student research: As part of Environmental Principles of GSD , I created a policy brief aimed at the European Union, providing five key recommendations to prevent microfibre shedding from clothing which negatively impact biodiversity. I really enjoyed this as there is currently not enough research or policy on it at all, however fast fashion is one of the biggest sectors responsible for micro-plastic pollution.
  • Career sector interests: Innovation and design for sustainable development. Studying GSD at Warwick has made me more of an optimist in tackling global challenges, which has helped me to secure an internship with an environmental behavioural change organisation focusing on positive and upbeat sustainability messaging. It’s been fantastic to be able to draw links between my research on microfibres at Warwick and working for real world change.

Rhys Hillan, Single Honours GSD alumnus

  • Three words to describe a GSD Degree: Unique, important, liberal
  • Student Societies: Previous President (and founding member) of Warwick Global Sustainable Development Society. We promote sustainability on Warwick campus encourage dialogue about global sustainability.
  • Dissertation: Conducting surveys and interviews as part of researching Art Therapy in Higher Education. Aiming to curate an exhibition of student work from art therapy, inviting members of University communities to invest in art therapy for students.
  • Top tip for prospective students: explore different avenues, explore new and unusual subjects, especially the ones you haven’t heard of like anthropology or Global Sustainable Development. Investigate courses that you haven’t had much exposure at school level.
  • SDG you feel most connected to: I have a particular interest in the role mental health plays in creating sustainable societies.
  • Student research: I completed an essay for Food Security and Sovereignty dicussing how food insecurity exacerbates mental health problems. I studied this across cultures and geographies worldwide, and concluded that to create sustainable societies, we need to take mental health considerations more seriously. I'll be presenting this research at the International Conference of Undergraduate Research.
  • Career Sector Interests: Further study; I am applying for an integrated Masters and PhD in the United States, aiming to research the impact of the Higher Education system on the mental health of first generation and low-income background students.
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