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Welcome to Global Sustainable Development

We study, research and teach Global Sustainable Development because it is an urgent priority for our social, economic and environmental wellbeing. Despite the multiplicity of definitions that the term has generated, everyone who is involved in addressing the impact of development, the possibilities for a sustainable life and the complex moral and ethical debates around globalisation agrees that humanity has reached a point where passivity is no longer an option.

Undergraduate study

Our BASc Global Sustainable Development degrees are the first undergraduate programmes of this kind in the United Kingdom, offering a theorisation and a critical pedagogy that enables you to “envision a moral economy of social justice, citizenship and sustainability, based in social democracy” (Huckle). These degrees require you to deploy a range of theoretical approaches drawn from science, social sciences and humanities in order to critique the various approaches to development, and to examine the possibilities for bringing together sustainability efforts and development policies in a politically sound, economically fair and socially democratic setting.

To meet your individual intellectual interests, we offer a single honours programme and a growing number of joint honours degrees. Our courses deal with current problems that have a local and global impact. Each degree course is challenging and ambitious; taking on a series of contemporary problems that governments, scientists, philosophers, educationalists and charities are grappling with. We offer a transdisciplinary, problem-based and solution-focused approach to learning that will allow you to engage with real-world problems and explore creative resolutions.

We want you to join us on this intellectual journey, as we question and challenge current views and theories on development. Beginning with the assumption that development is not only about economic growth, we examine opportunities for the promotion of redistribution and the reduction of inequalities. We then examine the value choices involved in those opportunities and the ensuing ethical issues. We take a critical stance against early conceptions of development which assumed that Western ways of thinking and doing were the best and most efficacious, and we consider the ways in which science has responded to this simplistic and deterministic view. We take a holistic and systemic approach to understanding economic, social and environmental factors that impact political and humanitarian interventions.

Postgraduate study

We are excited to offer new postgraduate programmes in Global Sustainable Development, opening up opportunities for you to take your learning further.

Launching for September 2021 entry, on our flexible MASc in Global Sustainable Development you will join a community of transdisciplinary research and teaching experts. You will combine academic learning with practical applications to approach challenges of global sustainable development. This course will have input from staff within the School for Cross-faculty Studies (GSD, IGSD, and Liberal Arts) and partner departments across the University. A really exciting feature of this course is the opportunity to choose a research, practice, or workplace capstone project. This optionality is threaded throughout the programme, allowing you to tailor the course to your own areas of interest. Your capstone project will enable you to ‘learn by doing’, drawing together learnings from the first two terms and allowing you to connect to the next part of your career.

Alongside this, we are also offering an MPhil/PhD in Global Sustainable Development for September 2021 entry. There is a global need for researchers who are skilled in challenge-led, transdisciplinary methods to help close important knowledge gaps around research and practice related to the sustainability of human-environment interactions. With our support, you will cross disciplinary boundaries to address complex challenges of global sustainable development by delivering impactful research. This programme will be plugged into by staff in GSD, IGSD, and partner departments across the University. There will also be the opportunity to interact with an external mentor and therefore connecting your research to non-academic partners, speaking to a truly transdisciplinary approach to research.

Our people

Our team of academics, administrators, and support staff are passionate about Global Sustainable Development. We are dedicated to ensuring that we provide you with a supportive and intellectually stimulating departmental culture and a curriculum that is unique in its depth, and the breadth and flexibility it affords. We are committed to ensuring your success, and to supporting you in developing your intellectual and professional interests. We will help you discover your own strengths and develop them further, making sure you’re ready for life after graduation, with the help of our very own Employability and Placement Manager. 

We are confident that your chosen course will prove positively challenging and intellectually enriching. You will find it a course that leads to action and aspires to enact change. This is your opportunity to contest longstanding inequalities and to actively promote making a difference for a better world. As advised by the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, it is our moral responsibility to “make the world safer and more sustainable today and for the generations that will follow” and we hope that you will join us on this journey.