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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 approach

In GSD at Warwick we critically engage with the dominant discourse of sustainable development. We’re passionate about understanding and challenging existing practice, and we want you to join us in seeking innovative, transformative solutions to complex global challenges.


Our transdisciplinary approach is at the heart of our teaching, learning, and research. To address complex issues of sustainable development we must give weight to all disciplinary backgrounds, from marine biology to sociology, economics to psychology.

Our staff are expert tutors drawn from a variety of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences and scientific fields, including politics, economics, history, sociology and many other fields of enquiry. All are passionate about defining, investigating and exploring solutions to those issues which are of vital importance to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of society.

Our students also come from different backgrounds, with a wide range of interests. We encourage students from different disciplines to join our programmes, bringing together their expertise and trainings to tackle urgent challenges of global sustainable development.

Our transdisciplinary approach is designed to prepare our students for the realities of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental global order.

Our courses

Undergraduate study

We offer a single honours BASc degree and a range of joint honours BASc degrees. A BASc is a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences, and therefore you will examine global sustainability issues and development from different disciplinary perspectives. Our single honours 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 degrees offer you the chance to combine the unique transdisciplinary approach of GSD with another subject in a partner department.

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, solutions-focused 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, posters, policy briefs, and fieldwork.

Postgraduate study

We offer an MASc and an MPhil/PhD in Global Sustainable Development.

On our Master’s course, you’ll combine academic learning with practical applications to approach challenges of global sustainable development.  This is a one year full-time course for September 2021 entry, and your role as a change-maker starts on the first day.

Our MPhil/PhD offers you the opportunity to cross disciplinary boundaries to deliver lasting sustainable development research. You can complete this programme full-time in four years or part-time in seven years, starting in September 2021.

Find out more about our postgraduate programmes here.

Our students

Our students are passionate, determined, and enthusiastic. They recognise the importance of making a practical difference and are actively involved in projects and campaigns on campus and in our communities.

Recent student projects and campaigns
Hear from our alumni
Hollie, BASc Politics, International Studies and GSD Graduate

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, BASc Single Honours GSD Graduate

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."


"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 discussing 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."

Undergraduate study

Postgraduate study

Our people

The University of Warwick