Strathclyde launches new MSc in Sustainability

Earth and Space

The University of Strathclyde has launched a new MSc Sustainability programme which aims to produce graduates who will go to become sustainability professionals in a global world. 

As today’s world experiences ever more rapid social, technological and environmental change while poverty, inequality and ecological emergency are increasingly on the rise, new and inclusive thinking approaches and interdisciplinary solutions are needed to deal with these complex issues. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define a pathway and priorities for progress. 

Strathclyde’s new programme draws on the sustainability expertise from all four faculties – BusinessEngineeringHumanities & Social Sciences, and Science and offers a unique opportunity to work in interdisciplinary groups with people from all over the world. Students can choose to focus in on a specific learning interest, ensuring the programme caters to an individual’s needs and career pathways. 

In line with Strathclyde’s ethos of being ‘a place of useful learning’, the programme includes a sharing of expertise by invited sustainability experts including activists, entrepreneurs and policymakers and work on real life challenges that combined dealing with social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability to develop new solutions. 

Future thinking

The programme is developed following pedagogical principles for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) both in terms of content but also of skills and competencies for the participants. These are adhered to throughout the curriculum, ensuring that sustainability competencies like systems, future thinking and core values that support responsible and global citizenship and are embedded throughout the programme. 

Taught classes include compulsory and optional choices. Compulsory classes will teach the basic principles and pillars of sustainability, understanding and using complex frameworks like the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for assessing what makes a sustainable organisation, project or policy initiative and unpicking the links between climate change and sustainable development. 

A wider list of optional classes is also included offering greater flexibility in tailoring study for students to choose from at the start of the course. Specialist tracks are offered by the four faculties and comprise of: business challenges and responsible resource management; novel economic approaches for sustainability; social inequalities and policy for sustainability; environmental resources and health. The course director will help each student build their curriculum on the basis of their background and interests while choosing classes under one of the four tracks. 

There are multiple opportunities for students to engage with sustainability and build their skillset for the world of work while at Strathclyde. Sustainable Strathclyde offers activities that can boost your skills further either within our campus, including engagement with the Climate Neutral Glasgow City Innovation District projects and students will have the chance to work on challenges and projects that demonstrate how environmental, social and economic issues can be tackled in collaboration with community partners. 

Skills for working in interdisciplinary teams and addressing systemic and ‘wicked’ problems to global challenges are key to the programme with concepts such as circularity, wellbeing and prosperity, working within planetary boundaries, and the role of development processes in relation to local and global inequalities being within the themes covered. 

Green economy

Dr Eirini Gallou, teaching fellow and course director, said, “Sustainability requires a balance between responsible use of natural resources and consideration of the environment while dealing with societal and economic needs and this programme holds this at its core. Green jobs require new ways of thinking to respond to the urgent and dramatic challenges the planet faces. This provides emerging opportunities for shaping a green economy as well as responsible citizens that can operate effectively within planetary boundaries. The skills this programme offers will be crucial for shaping the changemakers of the future. 

“Strathclyde works in partnership with Glasgow City Council as part of Sustainable Glasgow and has formed strong city links while working on applied solutions in and around the campus, while partnering with multiple stakeholders. The expertise of our module leads in the course and our applied experience in sustainability solutions will enable our students to engage with real city-wide challenges as part of their studies and open the way to other sustainability career opportunities when completing the programme.’’ 

“This programme is so timely and will enable graduates to tackle the complex environmental, social and economic challenges the world faces, opening a wide range of career opportunities where they can apply this knowledge in the future.” 

The MSc Sustainability has four scholarships on offer worth £2,000 each.