Skip to main content Skip to navigation

MASc in Global Sustainable Development (2022 Entry)

About this taught graduate course

Course overview

In Global Sustainable Development (GSD) we take a critical approach to the dominant discourse of sustainable development. We are committed to understanding as well as challenging existing practice, and want you to join us as we seek innovative, transformative responses to complex global challenges. Based in the School for Cross-faculty Studies, our academic home is a natural place for future transdisciplinary leaders to flourish.

On this course you will work with Warwick’s GSD Department, the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD), and partner departments across the University. Our staff are at the forefront of their fields and share your passion for global sustainable development.

Core modules will support your development as an intellectual leader dedicated to bringing about positive change. They will help to deepen your understanding of the core global challenges we face, and develop your critical and reflective approach, as well as your technical and methodological skills. Your learning will be rooted in critical intellectual enquiry and philosophical understanding, which will support your personal development as a leader of thought and action. In addition, by having a wide range of optional modules, you can tailor the course to your own areas of interest.

In Term Three and the summer, you will have an exciting opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ as you undertake a transdisciplinary capstone project. We will offer you a choice of research, practice, and work-based experiences. Your chosen project will enable you to develop a skillset most suited to your future career goals.

By the end of this course, you will be equipped to play an authentic role in reflective global citizenship. You will also have a defined understanding of what is necessary to act as a leader of positive change. The route you choose upon graduation will be defined by your own interests and aspirations. Your learning from the course will equip you with what you need for a career in applied research, in policy, business, or in third sector activity.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is ideal for you if:

  • You have prior experience of GSD
  • You are new to this field of study with a first degree and a strong interest in GSD
  • You have work and life experience relating to GSD

Skills from this degree

You will learn to:

  • Think systemically, recognising connections and interactions between factors, and understand that actions often have many consequences
  • Identify and analyse the risk that system complexity can lead to unexpected and novel outcomes, and contribute to the proactive management of this
  • Describe complex issues in clear terms and communicate about them effectively and succinctly, both orally and in writing
  • Work naturally and consciously, as part of a community of practice, by learning from others in a culture of respect, mutual understanding and empathy, and managing disagreement and conflict through socially non-violent means, even in the context of formal power hierarchies
  • Support and foster intellectual leadership by challenging assumptions, critically analysing information and negotiating alternatives to current practices
  • Create new and personal knowledge in GSD both through research and self-managed learning

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent).

We encourage applications from students with diverse backgrounds, from the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. We particularly welcome students with experience of interdisciplinary study.

In certain circumstances, we will consider applicants with a lower second-class honours degree, or a normal degree (and their equivalents). This is particularly the case for applicants with relevant professional experience which can be explicitly and directly related to our curriculum.

To find out more about how to apply please visit our GSD website.


English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirements. This course requires the following:

  • Band B
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.

International qualifications

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

For more information, please visit the international entry requirements page.


Additional requirements

All applicants need to provide a Statement of Interest. This should be 1-2 pages long in content, with an extra page for cited references.

Your statement should include:

  • Your motivation for applying for this specific degree at Warwick
  • How your educational background has prepared you for rigorous postgraduate study in this subject area
  • How obtaining this degree will fit into your future plans
  • What you hope to get from studying on this course and what are your expectations
  • You may also wish to include details about your personal/work/voluntary experiences if they relate to the degree programme
  • Explicit discussion of knowledge, concepts, theories, frameworks, and general literature, with which you are familiar and believe can be applied to the subject area, referenced using appropriate tools of scholarship

Cited references

You should provide a list of any cited references, appropriately formatted. These should be included on an extra page, following your statement.

Core modules

Term One

Leading Transformation in the Anthropocene

For the first time in history, humans are the primary agents of change on a planetary scale. This module will equip you to be an intellectual leader within this new and defining context.

Throughout this module you will explore often unexamined questions of intellectual leadership in change. You will consider how they might rigorously and reflectively conceive of socially positive change and transition from first principles of philosophical reflection. You will consider perspectives from historical interpretation, reflections on identity and power, as well as practical methods of change.

Read more about our Leading Transformation in the Anthropocene module.

Creating Knowledge for Change: Transdisciplinary Approaches

Transdisciplinarity is a way of creating new knowledge about the world we live in and how we bring about change. This approach sees beyond siloed disciplines and integrates academic and non-academic perspectives.

In this module you will consolidate previous methods training through active consideration of transdisciplinary methodologies. We will encourage you to think about the underlying differences in the way different groups of people see the world, and therefore build knowledge and act in different ways. This module, in particular, will prepare you for your capstone summer project.

Read more about our Creating Knowledge for Change: Transdisciplinary Approaches module.

Global Challenges and Transdisciplinary Responses

This module will deepen your understanding of the core global challenges facing our world today. You will develop your transdisciplinary problem-based, response-focused process skills and subject knowledge. You will work through units on resource management, climate change and human inequalities.

Read more about our Global Challenges and Transdisciplinary Responses module.

Term Two

You will be required to take at least two of the following optional core modules:

Qualitative Approaches to Sustainable Development

Through the use of case studies and real-world examples, you will explore and evaluate the scope, value and limitations of different and, in some cases, combined qualitative approaches for knowledge generation.

You will gain practical skills in qualitative research and further develop your ability to critically engage with qualitative research methods, while understanding the challenges that both researchers and participants can face with data collection and analysis.

Read more about our Qualitative Approaches to Sustainable Development module.

Quantitative Approaches to Sustainable Development

With the use of case studies, real-world examples and data, you will learn to conduct advanced quantitative research, and to evaluate the scope, value and limitations of different quantitative approaches for knowledge generation.

Hands-on practice in computer-lab seminars will allow you to develop skills in statistical analysis relevant to trans- and cross-disciplinary research. You will critically engage with applied quantitative research, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the main issues arising from the use of quantitative methods.

Both of these methods modules will allow you to make informed and evidence-based decisions when designing research interventions that respond in nuanced, robust and imaginative ways to complex and systemic problems.

Read more about our Quantitative Approaches to Sustainable Development module.

Sustainable Development Policy

This module is practically-focused, allowing you to understand how sustainable development policy is created. You will be encouraged to reflect on the complexities of policy creation, and to consider how you might engage in the design of policy for the future.

You will also select optional modules offered by GSD and partner departments.

Read more about our Sustainable Development Policy module.

Term Three and summer

You will select one of our transdisciplinary capstone projects:

Workplace Project

Using an agreed work placement with an outside organisation, you will think through issues of personal and institutional change-making and transition. Our Department's Employability and Placement Manager will support you throughout this project in searching for, securing, and carrying out your placement.

Read more about our Workplace Project.

Practice-based Project

Engage across campus or beyond with Warwick’s pioneering sustainability agenda or other organisation’s sustainability aspirations and plans. Working closely with sustainability practitioners, you will act as a sustainability consultant within a defined organisational area, appraising, assessing and formulating proposals, which would lead sustainable transformations.

Read more about our Practice-based Project.

Research Project

You will have the opportunity to create a dissertation, policy briefing, or article output. You will be guided by specialist academic supervision.

Read more about our Research Project.


Optional modules

The number of optional modules you take will vary depending on how many of the above optional core modules you select. Your optional modules will be offered by the GSD Department with IGSD, and partner departments. You will specialise in thematic learning, for example:

  • Socially Engaged Performance: Interventions and Provocations
  • Resource Fictions: Studies in World Literature
  • World Literature in the Anthropocene
  • Popular Movements and Sustainable Change
  • Sustainable Urbanisation: from Risk to Resilience
  • Urban Resilience, Disaster and Data
  • Habitability in the Universe
  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Design Thinking for Social Impact

Please note, optional modules are subject to availability and offerings may change each year to keep your learning experience current and up-to-date. You will also need to discuss your optional module choices with your personal tutor and receive approval from the Director of Graduate Studies in GSD. Other optional modules may be available across other departments.

Read more about our optional modules on the Global Sustainable Development website.


Teaching

We offer a transdisciplinary approach to learning about problems of global sustainable development. The global challenges we face today do not fit neatly within disciplinary boundaries, instead, requiring integration of different disciplinary perspectives. This is reflected in our range of expert tutors, drawn from a variety of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences and scientific fields.

Transdisciplinarity also requires engagement with non-academic partners, breaking down boundaries between academic thinking and practical application. The capstone projects on this course bring this to the forefront. For instance, you may choose to work with an employer, unifying knowledge from academic and non-academic viewpoints.

We pride ourselves on a pedagogy of problem-based, response-focused learning. You will be taught key course content via interactive lectures and task-guided reading. However, most of your learning will be through the active, authentic and applied student-self-construction of knowledge. This pedagogy allows you to develop applied process skills and academic subject content at the same time.

The capstone summer modules offer structured and supported opportunities to ‘learn by doing’. This is learning not just by means of authentic tasks that mirror the ‘real-world’, but by offering learning as being a fundamental part of daily, collectively-lived reality.

The Institute for Global Sustainable Development

On this course you will benefit from expertise in Warwick’s Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD). IGSD provides a focal point for Warwick’s sustainable development research, contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but still challenging of them. Researchers in IGSD will contribute to the core module ‘Global Challenges and Transdisciplinary Responses’ in Term One and the capstone projects in Term Three and the summer.


Class sizes

Class sizes will vary with around 10-15 students in core modules and fewer in optional core GSD modules. Class sizes for optional modules in GSD will be small, typically with a maximum of 10 students. In other departments, optional module class sizes will vary according to the size and nature of their postgraduate programmes.


Typical contact hours

In the first term you will have 8-10 hours of contact time each week which will comprise lectures, seminars and practicals.

In Term Two your contact hours will vary depending on which options are selected. Each of the 10 CAT GSD optional core modules offer two contact hours per week in seminars and/or practicals.

For the capstone modules you will benefit from one-to-one supervisions with academic specialists to support you with your project.


Assessment

The core modules on this course will be assessed in a variety of ways including essays, presentations, and research project plans. The assessments are designed to help you develop the skills for research, analysis, and communicating your work with others. For example, you will have opportunities to write professionally formatted policy briefings that’d be used to engage with policy-makers or the corporate world.

All assessments in modules offered by the School for Cross-faculty Studies link to practical applications. In these modules, you will complete formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments will include discussion circles mirroring professional discussions in the working world. In your summative assessments, you will have the opportunity to show subject expertise, while continuing to develop process skills.


Reading lists

Most departments have reading lists available through Warwick Library. If you would like to view reading lists for the current cohort of students you can visit our Warwick Library web page.


Your timetable

Your personalised timetable will be complete when you are registered for all modules, compulsory and optional, and you have been allocated to your lectures, seminars and other small group classes. Your compulsory modules will be registered for you and you will be able to choose your optional modules when you join us.

Your career

Studying an MASc in Global Sustainable Development will open careers in the public, private and third sectors in a range of areas and functions including the following:

  • Governance – shaping policy and processes at local, national and international level
  • Research – academic via MRes or PhD research or for an organisation in the public, private or third sector including think-tanks
  • Teaching at all levels: primary, secondary, HE and tertiary
  • Project management in any industry – this could be a community or commercial project
  • Communications and media relations
  • Consultancy – e.g. in corporate social responsibility
  • Advocacy – e.g. on international relations, humanitarian work for organisations such as the UN
  • Data and intelligence analyst- e.g. security, geo- political risk

Professional development support

We have a dedicated Employability and Placement Manager in our Department who can offer you careers guidance and provide information about suitable capstone workplace project placements. Additionally, they will be able to provide you with ongoing support throughout the placement process, including advice on applications, interviews, as well as links to employers.

Employability skills

Our course has been designed to ensure you develop the skills, attributes and knowledge that are sought by employers.

These include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Research
  • Project management
  • Data analysis
  • Commercial acumen
  • Creative problem solving
  • Communication (verbal and written)
  • Independent and collaborative working

Global Sustainable Development

Transdisciplinarity is at the heart of our teaching, learning, and research in the Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Department. Global challenges spill over disciplinary boundaries, and our unique academic home reflects this. Based in the School for Cross-faculty Studies, our staff and students have genuine opportunities to transcend disciplinary boundaries, creating new knowledge about the world we live in.

On our innovative courses, you'll contest longstanding inequalities and actively promote change. From your first day, we'll encourage you to make positive interventions with a beneficial impact. Beyond your studies, you’ll have a myriad of opportunities to apply your learnings to the world around you.

By joining our department you’ll be inspired, and challenged, by our passionate tutors. You’ll work together with our team to find responses to pressing problems of global sustainable development.

Get to know GSD better by exploring our departmental website.


Our Postgraduate courses

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.

Taught course fees  Research course fees


Fee Status Guidance

The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.

If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information, however we are awaiting guidance from the UK government regarding fee status for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK for academic year 2021/22 onwards. We are not able to confirm the fee status for these students until the relevant eligibility criteria have been confirmed. Once we have received further information from the UK government, we will provide you with an update on your fee status and let you know if any additional information is required. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.


Additional course costs

As well as tuition fees and living expenses, some courses may require you to cover the cost of field trips or costs associated with travel abroad. Information about department specific costs should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

  • Core text books
  • Printer credits
  • Dissertation binding
  • Robe hire for your degree ceremony

Scholarships and bursaries

Funding routes available

Find out about the many different funding routes available for postgraduate study at Warwick.

Living costs

Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.

Find out how to apply to us, ask your questions, and find out more.

Taught course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for taught postgraduate courses at Warwick.

Research course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for research postgraduate degrees at the University of Warwick.

After you’ve applied

Find out how we process your application.

Applicant Portal

Track your application and update your details.

Admissions statement

See Warwick’s postgraduate admissions policy.

Join a live chat

Ask questions and engage with Warwick.

Postgraduate Open Day

Our Postgraduate Virtual Open Day will help you find out more about your course of interest, as well as general topics like applying to Warwick, accommodation, careers and funding.
Please register your interest to be the first to hear when booking opens.

Postgraduate fairs

Throughout the year we attend exhibitions and fairs online and in the UK. These events give you the chance to learn about our Master's and PhD study routes, and the wider context of postgraduate study.

Find out more

Live chats

Every week, you can connect directly with representatives from Warwick, who will be answering your questions on applying to and studying postgraduate studies at Warwick.

Sign up for Live Chats

Departmental events

Some academic departments hold events for specific postgraduate programmes, these are fantastic opportunities to learn more about Warwick and your chosen department and course.

See our online departmental events

Connect with us

Want to hear more about postgraduate study at Warwick? Register your interest and find out more.