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MPhil/PhD in Global Sustainable Development (2021 Entry)

  • Course Code
  • RGSA-L800
  • Course Type
  • Postgraduate Research
  • Qualification
  • MPhil/PhD
  • Duration
  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time: 7 years

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), on this programme you’ll deliver impactful, lasting sustainable development research.

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.

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

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

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 research proposals which may not fall directly into one of the above clusters.


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

In your first year you’ll normally be required to study one core module, ‘Global Challenges and Transdisciplinary Responses’ (20 CATS), equipping you with the core skills and knowledge of key principles of transdisciplinary research on sustainable development.

You’ll 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.


Your supervisors will support your progression to thesis submission. Most students on this programme will have a supervisory team composed of a mentor from a practice organisation and two academic supervisors from different disciplines. 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, Social Science and Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Research environment

You’ll join a community of postgraduate students in GSD and early career researchers in IGSD. IGSD 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’ll be encouraged to engage actively in research activities by forming reading groups, participating in workshops and guest lectures, and taking part in IGSD’s annual conference. You’ll 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).

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

English language requirements 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 students
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.

For up-to-date information concerning fees, funding and scholarships for Home/EU and Overseas students please visit Warwick's Fees and Funding webpage.

Related Research Courses

Interdisciplinary Methodologies