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MPhil/PhD in Global Sustainable Development (2023 Entry)

Global Sustainable Development students at the University of Warwick

Find out more about our MPhil/PhD in Global Sustainable Development.

Our MPhil/PhD in Global Sustainable Development (GSD) offers you the opportunity to cross disciplinary boundaries to address complex challenges of global sustainable development. Working with experts from Warwick’s GSD Department and the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD), you will deliver impactful, lasting sustainable development research.

Course overview

There is a global need for researchers who are skilled in challenge-led, transdisciplinary methods to help close knowledge gaps around research and practice related to the sustainability of human-environment interactions.

Our Global Sustainable Development MPhil/PhD is for those driven to develop innovative approaches to complex challenges of sustainable development. With the support of a supervisory team, you will work on a transdisciplinary project addressing a sustainability challenge.

Through structured training, you will be equipped to integrate methods and perspectives from different academic and practice fields to address current and future sustainable development challenges. In the first year, you will have the opportunity to undertake postgraduate module(s) and establish a personal development plan in collaboration with your supervisors.

Throughout the programme, you will have the opportunity to gain methods training designed to broaden your research approach. Collectively, this training will prepare you to co-produce transformative, transdisciplinary research projects.

We are excited to welcome students with diverse backgrounds and skills to this programme.

Teaching and learning

Students on this course will be trained to have competence in a subject area that spans at least two disciplinary perspectives. You will be trained in transdisciplinary methods, enabling you to draw on skills from multiple disciplines to work effectively and equitably with non-academic partners.

In the first year, you will have the opportunity to study postgraduate module(s) in GSD and/or from across the University totalling 20 CATS. You will discuss which module(s) you would like to take with your supervisors in the early stages of your research.

You will also agree a tailored personal development programme with your supervisors for your first year of training. For instance, your development programme may include taking other postgraduate modules from across the University to develop specific skills required for your research.

You may also decide to take researcher development training courses and workshops facilitated by the University’s Doctoral College as part of your development programme.

Research environment

You will join a community of postgraduate students, early career researchers, and academics in GSD. IGSDLink opens in a new window is Warwick’s hub for transdisciplinary research on global sustainable development, committed to tackling global challenges and enabling transformative change of human-environment interactions.

Throughout your degree you will be encouraged to engage actively in research activities by forming reading groups, participating in workshops, masterclasses and guest lectures, and taking part in our annual GSD Symposium.

You will have opportunities to engage with research across the University, including research led by Warwick’s Global Research Priorities and other cross-cutting research centres across the University, such as the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (CIM), the Warwick Institute for the Science of Cities (WISC), the Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development (WICID), and the Centre for Digital Inquiry (CDI).

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

2:i undergraduate degree and a Master’s (or equivalent) in a related subject.

English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirementsLink opens in a new window. 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 pageLink opens in a new window.

Additional requirements

There are no additional requirements for this course.

Our research

Much of the research on this programme is currently organised around the following clusters:

Climate resilience and socio-environmental justice

This cluster draws on Warwick’s expertise in areas such as complex systems modelling, geographic information, and critical research on environmental justice, enabling students to investigate transformations of human-environment interactions towards resilience to climate change and environmental risks.

Sustainable urbanisation, health and wellbeing

This cluster concentrates on research for transforming urban human-environment interactions, investigating the interlinkages between the built environment, human behaviour and health and wellbeing outcomes.

Sustainable economies and the food-water-energy nexus

This cluster draws on Warwick’s research excellence in sustainable materials, critical data studies, business strategy and food supply systems, in order to enable students to study transformations to the food-water-energy nexus towards sustainable economic and financial relationships.

We also welcome and encourage research proposals in global sustainable development which are outside the above clusters.

Examples of current PGR projects include:

  • Sustainable diets and child health, incorporating policy and how policy impacts health inequalities
  • Women empowerment and ecotourism
  • Measuring the economic, social, and environmental impacts of altering the supply chains of critical raw materials for electric vehicle batteries
  • Political ecology configurations of alternative finance enabling the renewable energy transition process in the Global South
  • Life experience of Chinese millennial migrants in the UK

Find out more about our current PhD students’ research projects.

Find a supervisor

Please visit our PhD supervisors web page to identify people with your range of interests. Once you have identified an appropriate supervisor, please initiate a dialogue to discuss whether your proposal falls within their area of expertise and if they have the capacity to supervise you.

In order to consider supervising you, they will need a brief outline of your research proposal, a copy of your CV and any relevant transcripts, so please ensure these are sent directly to them. Once supervision is agreed, your application should name the lead supervisor.

Find out more about how to apply via our Global Sustainable Development web page.

You can also see our general University guidance about finding a supervisor.


Your supervisors will support your progression to thesis submission. Researchers on this programme will have a supervisory team composed of two or more academic supervisors from different disciplines. You may also receive mentorship from a practice organisation related to your field of research.

The pool of academic supervisors for this programme draws on Warwick’s global sustainable development research community and spans all three faculties at Warwick: Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Science, Engineering and Medicine.

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

Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which 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

Scholarships and financial support

Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.

Leverhulme - TRANSFORM Doctoral Scholarship Programme

Doctoral Scholarships are available for PhD in Global Sustainable Development applicants, to enable work on transdisciplinary projects that address a real-world sustainability challenge.

Living costs

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

Department content block about careers

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.

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.Link opens in a new window

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