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Postgraduate taught

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions

Please note: The below is for 2022 entries. Click here for 2021 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2022
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Geography

Programme Director: Dr James Dyke
Web: Enquire online 
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

Normally a 2:1 degree or equivalent

Contextual offers


  • Apply your learning to real-world challenges and operating in a complex problem space
  • Receive training on systems thinking and the opportunity to practise how your learning is engaged within wider social, economic, and policy debates
  • Residential learning experiences provide an opportunity for immersive learning of fundamental skills and approaches to understanding and solving challenges
  • Opportunities to undertake a work placement or research projects within an organisation as an alternative to a traditional academic dissertation
  • Your learning is informed by the latest research undertaken by world-leading scholars and the Global Systems Institute community

Apply online

View 2021 Entry

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Top 15 for Geography and Environmental Science

The Complete University Guide 2022

15th in the world for Geography

QS World University Subject Rankings 2021

7th in the UK for research and 3rd for research power in Geography and Environmental Studies

REF 2014: subject ranking based on intensity-adjusted Grade Point Average

7th in the world for Geography 

ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021

We went on a trip to Brixham Harbour for a day to look around the local fishery and talk to fishermen about their experience with issues such as bycatch and juvenile discards. It gave us the opportunity to see these issues from a different perspective and attempt to think of ways in which we could work with fishermen to solve them.


MSc Global Sustainability Solutions

Entry requirements

All applicants are considered individually on merit although we usually require a 2:1 honours degree.

No specific subjects are required.

The programme has been designed to allow students from a wide range of backgrounds to immerse themselves in a transformative educational experience. No science, mathematics, or engineering prerequisites are required.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

  • Pearson

Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

Course content

Our impacts on the Earth system are at such a scale that we have become a geological force. If we are to not just survive but flourish, we urgently need to create robust and practical solutions to a set of interacting global challenges.

These challenges span countries, regions, and academic disciplines. For example: the challenge to establish food, water, and energy security for a global population increasing towards 9 billion by the middle of this century; the urgent need to halt the rapid decline in biodiversity; the required sudden decrease of greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid dangerous climate change. While diverse, the common thread that links these and other challenges is that these are all ultimately a challenge of systems.

A key element of the programme is the application of academic learning to real-world sustainability challenges. This is achieved with internship opportunities with a wide range of national and international organisations and companies.

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions has been designed to allow students from a wide range of backgrounds to immerse themselves in a transformative educational experience. No science, mathematics, or engineering prerequisites are required. Upon graduation, you will have the skills to become an agent of change for a sustainable future.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

A wide range of optional modules are possible. The list below is offered for initial consideration.



2022/23 entry

UK fees per year:

£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time

International fees per year:

£24,000 full-time; £12,000 part-time


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* for international fee paying students.  

For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.

*Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.

Teaching and research

How will I learn?

  • Immersive learning experiences
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Group discussion
  • Independent study

Innovative teaching lies at the heart of the programme. Emphasis will be placed upon applying learning to real-world challenges and enhancing your employability. We will be delivering some of this innovative training using Prosocial as part of empowering you to become agents of change for a sustainability transition.

25 organisations, including the Met Office, will provide real-world challenges for you to address as part of the programme. You will be given the training and opportunity to practise how your learning is engaged within wider social, economic, and policy debates.

Immersive learning

Immersive learning experiences will provide an opportunity to develop a cohort identity across staff and students, whilst learning fundamental skills and approaches to understanding and solving challenges. This includes group social activities at the start of the programme and an intensive period of shared learning in the middle of Term 1.

Global Systems Institute

The MSc Global Sustainability Solutions is the flagship programme for the Global Systems Institute which brings together researchers, students, citizens, and partner organisations to solve global challenges, and help create a flourishing future world together, through transformative research and education. 

The Global Systems Institute works with others to secure a flourishing future for humanity as an integral part of a life-sustaining Earth system. It is uniting a trans-disciplinary group of researchers, educators and partners to look beyond single ‘environmental’ issues to a truly systemic view of coupled global changes in the human social and economic sphere and the biosphere.

Tutorial support

Each student is allocated a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There is also a postgraduate tutor available to help with further guidance and advice.


Assessments will focus on the application of your learning and go beyond exams and essays. You will have the opportunity to choose to be assessed via the creation of project reports, policy briefings and white papers, the preparation and delivery of press conferences, online and interactive infographics, short documentary films, recorded talks and interviews, reflective blogs and journals.

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Employer-valued skills this course develops

The programme addresses global sustainability challenges, equipping graduates to apply systems thinking to solve complex problems in a wide variety of environments and contexts. A key feature of the programme are the innovative teaching and formative and summative assessments. Emphasis will be placed upon applying learning to real-world challenges and enhancing the employability of graduates. Throughout your learning you will be provided with bespoke careers and employability training.

A key specialism is the training and opportunity to practise how your academic work is engaged within wider social, economic, and policy debates. Upon graduation students will have the experience and skills necessary to become agents of change for a sustainable future and are expected to work across a range of roles.

Graduates of this programme might expect to gain the following attributes:

  • An imaginative critical thinker and problem solver
  • An active global citizen
  • A creative and enterprising team player
  • An engaged and participative leader
  • A confident, resilient and adaptable individual

Placement opportunities

Opportunities for a work placement or research project to be undertaken within an organisation are available as an alternative to a traditional academic dissertation. Students will identify and secure their own placement but will be facilitated with appropriate support. We have links with numerous organisations who offer placement opportunities to our students including the Met Office.

A new credit-bearing Green Consultants module will be offered as an elective module that will provide you with technical and practical, employability-focussed training.

Careers services

We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service, ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market. Our graduates compete very successfully in the employment market, with many employers targeting the University when recruiting new graduates.

Supporting your career

You will benefit from tailored employability training and exploitation of the Global Systems Institute external partner network, for collaboration on the Dissertation Academic module and placement opportunities for the Dissertation Internship module. This network will also accelerate your search for employment after graduation.

Each year students are able to access a huge range of opportunities when considering their future career options. Recent events have included:

  • career insights with visiting alumni
  • career conversations with employers on campus
  • mock interviews with visiting employers and alumni
  • an immersion day at the Met Office
  • and the Life and Environmental Sciences Careers Fair.

Read more