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Education Studies and Global Sustainable Development (BASc) (Full-Time, 2020 Entry)

Education Studies and Global Sustainable Development (BASc)

Global Sustainable Development (BASc)

  • UCAS Code
  • XL38
  • Qualification
  • BASc
  • Duration
  • 3 years full-time
  • 4 years full-time with intercalated year
  • Entry Requirements
  • A level: AAB
  • IB: 36
  • (See full entry
  • requirements below)

Education is essential in enabling a more sustainable future. It is a fundamental tool in the promotion and achievement of all the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and Goal 4 specifically sets targets for Quality Education. This unique degree programme represents a flagship contribution to UNESCO’s international Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) agenda, and its graduates will be well-positioned to make a difference to the world now and in the future.

The course seeks to prepare you to become a Global Citizen with a conscience, equipped with knowledge and understanding of the key issues of sustainable development from across a broad range of disciplines, and to give you the capacity to contribute to and lead on important international debates. If you’re passionate about examining the relationship between education and Sustainable Development and the challenges facing the education sector at home and abroad, and if you’re enthused by finding new ways to promote learning about sustainability challenges, this course is for you.

Adopting a problem-based approach, which fosters the investigation of issues using a range of means of enquiry used by researchers from the sciences, arts and social sciences fields, you’ll work with GSD peers from the other GSD courses to explore the different approaches and solutions offered, their implications and limitations and their inter-connectivity. You’ll be stimulated to think critically and creatively about contemporary problems of global significance and to explore ethically and morally complex areas in the search for positive interventions with a beneficial impact.

Embracing new opinions from your peers across the world, we’ll challenge you to become an active participant in your own learning and help you to develop professional skills through certificates you’ll complete as part of the course. You can also spend Terms 2 and 3 of your second year studying abroad at our partner institution, Monash University, home to the world-leading Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Alternatively, you may choose to apply for an intercalated year abroad or work placement.

Students are automatically enrolled on the three-year course, however you have the option to change to a four-year course with an intercalated year in the third year. During the intercalated year, you may pursue a study abroad programme or a work placement (subject to you meeting departmental academic requirements).

Half of the teaching on your course will be provided by the Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Division of the School for Cross-faculty Studies, and the other half by the Centre for Education Studies.

Year 1
Your first year comprises 60 CATs worth of core modules from both sides of your degree: 120 in total.

The first three of your core GSD modules will provide you with a critical understanding of the ‘three pillars of sustainability’: economy, environment, and society. Your fourth core GSD module will be a GSD Project, where we will help you to develop your research methods and skills. You’ll also have the opportunity to further develop and strengthen your academic and transferable process knowledge through the optional ‘Principles and Praxis’ workshops.

For the Education Studies half of your first-year modules, your core modules will introduce you to the contested nature of education, state-of-the-art theorising within the field, and creative approaches to teaching and learning. We’ll encourage the development of your understanding of contemporary educational policy at global and local levels, and cover a range of educational contexts from early years to higher education and lifelong learning.

Year 2
60 CATs worth of GSD modules will be comprised of one 30 CAT optional core module ('Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System', 'Health and Sustainable Development' or 'Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Inclusion and Dignity for All') plus further module(s) totalling 30 CATS selected from the range of modules available across the University (including from within the Global Sustainable Development Division), which have a global sustainable development focus.

For the Education Studies modules, you’ll build on your first year by developing in more depth your understanding of the role of education within society, both nationally and internationally. You’ll explore the place of education policy in shaping the aims of education around the world, and how learners ‘fit’ into national structures and goals. We want you to have the best opportunities, and so you’ll have the chance to complete a unique integrated work placement (optional core) module, which will help you to consider future pathways and enable you to start applying the knowledge you have gained in a professional environment.

Year 2 (with Terms 2 and 3 abroad)
If you opt to travel abroad to study at Monash University for part of your second year, in Term 1 at Warwick you’ll take one of the 15 CATs variants of the second year GSD optional core modules: ’Health and Sustainable Development’, ‘Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System’ or ‘Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Inclusion and Dignity for All’. During Term 1, you’ll also take further GSD options equating to 15 CATs, from within or outside of the School for Cross-faculty Studies, with a global sustainable development focus. In addition, you’ll take 30 CATs worth of Education Studies modules in Term 1.

Whilst abroad in Terms 2 and 3, you’ll continue your studies by taking relevant Global Sustainable Development and Education Studies units offered by the partner institution. These modules will be pre-approved by the Warwick departments, and will be subject to the approval of your GSD-based personal tutor.

Intercalated Year (Year 3)
On the intercalated variant of the course, you’ll spend your third year studying abroad at one of University’s partner institutions, or on work placement.

Final Year
Your final year will consist of one core GSD module, 'Dissertation' (30 CATs), plus further relevant modules from within or outside of the School for Cross-faculty Studies totalling 30 CATS, with a global sustainable development focus. For your Education Studies modules, you’ll focus on one of the four major strands along which the Education Studies Department is organised (society, culture, creativity or learning), while following core modules which develop the theoretical and research-based underpinnings of the subject.

For the GSD half of the course, teaching is delivered by experts from across the disciplines through workshops using a problem-based approach which examines issues of relevance at local, national and international levels. Working in groups, you’ll be encouraged to research historical, cultural and socio-political perspectives of issues and to critically evaluate responses to them as well as to formulate your own ideas and solutions.

Your GSD workshops may be supplemented by lectures including invited speakers who have a particular expertise or knowledge on a topic, round table panels, discussions, debates and film screenings. The course draws on expertise from around the University including from the Global Research Priorities.

For your Education Studies modules, teaching sessions are interactive, engaging and often physical. You’ll learn in small, close-knit groups with direct and individual support from your tutors and lecturers. Teaching sessions may take the form of workshops, debates, student designed and delivered activities or seminars. Modules are led by staff with expertise in the subject.

Contact hours
Core first year GSD modules each have 23 hours of contact time, made up of lectures, workshops and, for the 'GSD Project' module, group supervision sessions and a field trip. In the second year, optional core GSD modules have around 45 contact hours each for the 30 CATS versions and half this for the shorter 15 CATS versions.

Optional GSD modules are available with between 20 and 50 hours of scheduled contact time, depending upon how the module is taught. For example, some modules have lectures, workshops, film screenings and research supervision whereas others have lectures and workshops. Some modules include field trips.

Core first year Education Studies modules each have 30 hours of contact time, which may include interactive lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. In the second year, optional core Education Studies modules each have 30 contact hours. The second year optional core module ‘Professional Identity and Skills: Work-Based Placement’ has 20 contact hours in total, plus a minimum of 15 hours on placement. Contact hours for optional Education Studies modules will depend on the modules you choose.

Class size
Smaller groups of around 10-25 students.

In the first year, two of the core GSD modules have an exam worth 40%. The remaining 60% of these modules and the other core GSD modules are assessed by methods other than formal examination. In the second year, GSD optional cores and options do not have traditional examinations. The final year core GSD module is a Dissertation/Project and so is assessed via 'coursework'. Across the GSD half of the course, you’ll produce research papers, reports, policy briefings, posters, portfolios and critical commentaries and make presentations in public fora, and write traditional academic essays and sit examinations.

For your Education Studies modules, you will be assessed in varied and engaging methods, including presentations, Moodle tasks, written reports and assignments and collaborative responses to highlighted issues.

The overall percentage of the course that is assessed by coursework depends upon the options taken. The final degree classification is determined by your second and final year marks and each contributes 50%.

An integrated year abroad option is available to our students, during which you’ll spend Terms 2 and 3 of your second year abroad studying at Monash University. Students may be based in either Melbourne, Australia, or in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Students spend the first term of their second year studying at Warwick and will travel to Monash University in February to join Monash for the start of its second semester (which spans Warwick’s second and third terms).

During their time abroad, students study approved modules/units and will undertake assessments. The credit gained from this study is used to contribute towards the final degree classification awarded by Warwick.

Students may also choose to spend a year studying abroad or on a work placement (e.g. as part of the ERASMUS scheme). Marks gained from the year-long intercalated study abroad or work placement do not count towards the overall Warwick degree, however recognition of the time spent abroad or on work placement is recorded on students’ Higher Education Achievement Report.

As part of their degree programme, students have the option to take part in both short and long work placements which are formally recognised on the Higher Education Achievement Report. The work placements enable students to engage in the world of work and learn about the professional environment. Additionally, it is an opportunity for students to apply theory to practice, develop skills, learn from industry professionals as well as explore a future career path. This ultimately supports students in developing their employability skills and prepares them for future employment.

The three work placement options are:

Integrated work placement module: Students in their second year can choose to take the optional core integrated work placement module, which is unique to the Education Studies and GSD course.

Intercalated year-long work placement: This involves students completing a four year degree and the work placement takes place after students complete their second year.

Certificate of Professional Communication: This optional certificate is open to first and second year students. As part of this certificate, students will undertake a short four week work placement which takes place during the summer.

A level: AAB. You will also need Grade B/Grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE

IB: 36 points to include English and Mathematics at Higher Level or Standard Level 5

Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.

Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).

  • Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
    All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
  • We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
  • Taking a gap year
    Applications for deferred entry welcomed.

    We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.

    Second personal statement

    We ask applicants who meet, or are predicted to meet, the minimum entry requirements to submit a second personal statement to Warwick which addresses their reasons for applying to the course.

    Open Days
    All students who have been offered a place are invited to visit. Find out more about our main University Open Days and other opportunities to visit us.

Year One
Economic Principles of Global Sustainable Development (GSD)

What is economic development, what does it look like and how can it be measured? These are questions that are explored in this module. You’ll learn about the relationship between economic activity and social and environmental development, the economic theories that underpin sustainable development policy interventions, and how those theories impact upon policy design. After studying this module, you’ll be able to apply the economic principles that you’ve learned to the analysis of GSD problems. You’ll also understand how economic policies intended to address those problems are developed and be able to offer informed critiques of such policies.

Social Principles of GSD

This introductory module examines in-depth the most crucial concepts that allow you to analyse and interpret the social and political issues related to GSD. You’ll be considering complex, topical issues that allow you to understand and evaluate the most pressing social and political contexts of sustainable development at national and international levels. Upon completing this module you’ll have acquired specific knowledge and understanding that allows you to offer a well-informed evidence-based explanation of the key challenges that face our world, focusing on the social and political contexts.

You’ll also be able to explain the global social threats that are caused by economic development, consider and reflect critically on the reasons why some countries developed while others stayed poor, engage critically with various strategies that have been suggested to end extreme poverty, understand and write critically about the continuing challenges of providing “Education for all” and “Health for all”, and write critically about the notion of goal-based development.

Environmental Principles of GSD

This module is structured around an emerging global consensus that humans are compromising the global biosphere by transgressing nine Planetary Boundaries: the result of which will be fundamental and unrecoverable change that significantly compromises the operating space of human development. We focus on the natural science of these environmental issues – covering well known topics like climate change and biodiversity loss, but also lesser realised problems, such as biochemical flows. We evaluate existing governance and management efforts, and try to develop responses of our own. You’ll be taught how to write a Policy Briefing and will prepare one on your chosen subject, aimed at a specific key decision maker. Then, you’ll convert your Brief to a Policy Pitch: a two minute ‘sell’ of your research. By the end of this module, you’ll possess key knowledge of environmental principles and also skills valuable for creating meaningful change in the real world of work, governance and/or activism.

GSD Project

During this module, you'll collaborate with your peers on a task of investigating the issue of sustainable transport. You'll be immersed in a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data that you'll gather, examine, analyse and critique. As well as deepening your understanding of the economic case for sustainable transport, you'll be strengthening your academic research skills to deconstruct a major problem, formulate and test hypotheses, evaluate the evidence, and undertake field research, including interviews and focus groups.

Theories of Learning

This module introduces you to various theories outlining how human beings learn. The module covers leading child development theorists' perspectives on learning in the early years (such as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky) as well as exploring the work of theorists who explore learning from the perspective of older children, young people and adults. By the end of the module you'll have acquired the tools for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of contrasting learning theories. This module also aims to give you an insight into the relationship between social values, culture and theories of learning.

Social Contexts of Childhood and Education

This module discusses the ways in which childhood, education and schooling are perceived in different social contexts. Throughout the module, we explore a number of arenas through which children are nurtured, protected and socialised, including family, peer group and the virtual world of mass media and digital technology. These contexts are viewed as important educational sites in their own right, as well as providing crucial supportive networks for schools and children's schooling. The module focuses on the way that these social contexts have changed as well as concentrate on the expanding roles that children themselves play in their own socialisation, schooling and identity formation. We also critically analyse the impact of class, poverty, gender and ethnicity on education and childhood.

International Education

This module will explore models, concepts and themes relating to education at a global level. There are two overarching trends which structure the sessions. First, processes of globalisation provide a theoretical frame within which students will examine themes and trends that cut across geographical and national boundaries. Among other things, globalisation and children’s rights to education, the Millennium Development Goals, the investment in early years education, and the marketisation of schooling and higher education are discussed. Second, the module will focus on the way that education is promoted within different international contexts, thereby exploring how factors such as ideology, culture and economics impact on education. There will be more of a case study approach here with students focusing on country specific education systems, such as Scandinavia, America or Italy. In each case the focus may be on the schooling system, the provision of early years education or the shifting role of higher education.

Education Today

This module concerns understanding and debating contemporary trends within education and the social values they reflect. It will encourage you to become familiar with the dominant areas of debate, controversy and innovation that can be seen to characterise contemporary education discourse. The module will approach the topic of education through many contrasting perspectives. You'll critically appraise the social, cultural and political factors that affect students, teaching professionals, parents and other key stakeholders, as they negotiate and participate in the contemporary education 'offer' provided at a local, national and international level. Key practical approaches and philosophical perspectives will be introduced and debated, as you consider how factors such as inclusion, equality, diversity, community, religion, attainment, quality, excellence, economic growth and political instability interact within the contemporary education marketplace. Through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll be encouraged to identify particular areas of debate and controversy that interest you and to develop presentations and seminar papers that investigate the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that can be identified within contemporary education policy and practice.

Year Two

Health and Sustainable Development

Your starting point on this module is the sustainable development goals for health and well-being, gender equality and reducing inequalities, with an overarching theme of how our bodies relate to various forms of development. You can expect to articulate your knowledge of major global inequalities and apply your understanding across different cultural and social norms. You'll ask provocative questions and critically engage with the way the environment is affecting health outcomes, and critique the efficacy of policy measures that aim to address health-related global crises. You’ll also improve your research skills by generating original, well-researched arguments for policies that address health and inequalities outcomes.


Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System

At least 800 million people are chronically undernourished globally, and the global population is projected to increase to a staggering 10 billion by 2050. From this challenging starting point, you’ll be working with active researchers from across various disciplines at the University of Warwick. You'll become acquainted with contrasting disciplinary approaches to the investigation of food systems, and be able to analyse scholarly concerns surrounding food security, sovereignty and sustainability. You’ll evaluate competing solutions and research, evaluate and synthesise academic and other credible research and analysis in order to respond critically to the essential topics and questions in this exciting field.


Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Inclusion and Dignity for All

This new module focuses on issues of inequalities shaping our societies, economies, environments and politics. Starting with the question does inequality matter, you will critically reflect on the UN’s decision to integrate inequalities into the Sustainable Development Agenda. You will then explore six different dimensions of inequalities (work, politics, environmental justice, societal discrimination, automation and globalisation, opportunities and empowerment) and gain an understanding of the complexities of these problems. Finally, you will appreciate the challenges faced by today’s policy makers who aim to reduce inequalities.

A choice of two modules from the following:

Globalisation and Education

This module will explore models, concepts and themes relating to the globalisation of education. In particular, there are two general trends outlined and critically examined with reference to globalisation.

The first overarching theme is the idea of globalisation as a process of global standardisation. The module will pick up on a number of debates and issues relating to how attempts have been made to homogenise education globally, or at least move towards more universal provision at a number of different levels. This will involve analyses of the political and economic dimensions of globalisation as it affects education including the involvement of supra-national organisations, NGOs, and nation states.

The second dominant theme is the emphasis on global diversity. Attempts at globalising education come up against political and cultural obstacles. The second half of the module will focus more on trends and cases of education and schooling that highlight the diversity of provision, and practices within education. The sessions will refer to global and national policy contexts where relevant, as well as pick up on novel attempts to provide education and schooling in contexts of political and economic adversity.


Policies and Politics of the English Education System

This module will introduce students to core areas of policy contention, innovation and development within education, as practiced in the English educational system. You'll explore topics such as the current educational policy and practice and how it has been shaped by various education acts, the historical context in which contemporary English education policy and practice has been developed, how major reviews of education conducted in the 20th and 21st centuries have shaped developments in educational policy and practice and many more.


Professional Identity and Skills: Work-Based Placement

This module gives you the opportunity to hone your professional skills and career aspirations through an education-based, work-based placement. In taught sessions you’ll explore the professional characteristics of organisations who work with children, young people and their families in an educational capacity. This will include investigating the staffing and leadership structures of example organisations, their policies, their modes of work, professional roles and conduct. In addition, the role of reflective practice in professional development will be examined from both theoretical and practical angles. You’ll be given support with organising your placement, which can be in a location of your choice (however, approval must be gained from the module leader who must see a clear connection between the work of your chosen organisation and the concept of ‘education’) or may be based with one of the Centre for Education Studies' (CES) key partners. CES placement partners consist of organisations that deliver both formal and informal education in a variety of contexts (i.e. schools, hospitals, charities, children’s centres, sports organisations, youth theatres, community organisations).

Final Year
Dissertation/ Long Project

In this final-year module, you’ll bring together all of your learning and experiences on the course – the theoretical concepts and principles and your practical know-how - in order to address a specific sustainable development problem of your own choosing – one that concerns you most and which you’d like to tackle. You’ll be supported by an academic supervisor to devise a suitable project and to undertake research to explore the issue, taking a transdisciplinary approach to your investigation in order to produce an original intervention. This may be a concept paper, a practical project, a film production, a long essay, an advocacy campaign etc. – use your creativity! You’ll design a strategy for disseminating your findings (e.g. at a conference presentation, via online publication or an article in a journal or at a public meeting that you have arranged). This provides you with an opportunity to get your voice heard in a forum where it matters and could have lasting impact.

Examples of optional modules/options for current students

Education for Sustainability; Education and Social Justice; Education, Race and Ethnicity; Masculinities, Fatherhood and Young Children; Learning through Arts Practice; Social Theory and Education; Challenges of Climate Change; Human Rights and Social Justice in Latin America and the Caribbean; Resource Management.

A full list of optional GSD modules is available.

A full list of optional Education Studies modules is available.

The nature of our GSD degrees is such that graduates can go into careers that encompass aspects of sustainability and sustainable development. They can also draw on their interdisciplinary and transferable skills, along with the specialist knowledge gained from the Education Studies elements of the programme and apply these to a variety of roles, for example:

  • Project management
  • Campaign and lobbying for international organisations, NGOs, and charities
  • Advisory/consultancy service
  • Teaching within schools, further education or Higher Education sector
  • Communications, public relations and the media
  • Researcher
  • Policy Management
  • Community Development.

A level: AAB. You will also need Grade B/Grade 6 in English and Mathematics at GCSE

IB: 36 points to include English and Mathematics at Higher Level or Standard Level 5

Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.

UCAS code

Degree of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc)

3 years full-time
4 years full-time with intercalated year

Start date
28 September 2020

Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry

Tuition fees
Find out more about fees and funding

Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who transfer to the intercalated course and do a year-long work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.

This information is applicable for 2020 entry.

Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.

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