A flexible masters degree designed to develop a rigorous understanding of transformational responses to climate change. Taught at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), which pioneered sustainability practice and theory in the UK, this is the first MSc course to properly integrate the social, political, economic and practical aspects of living with environmental change.
This masters degree tackles these themes through a combination of academic study, discussion and hands-on practical work. We give our MSc students the knowledge, skills and experience needed to develop a career in the environmental sector and make an impact. The programme draws on our expert staff and a wide selection of academics and specialist guest lecturers; people who have made exceptional contributions to environmental thinking and action.
The MSc course uses the concepts of sustainability and adaptation transformation to frame an analysis of environmental and climate change policy and its implications for society. Students can then choose modules from a wide range that covers politics and economics, urbanisation, communities, biodiversity and ecosystem services, energy in buildings, sustainable materials, environmental assessment and renewable energy.
Aims of the MSc programme
The Sustainability and Adaptation masters degree gives students the knowledge and skills to plan for adapting to environmental change. The MSc programme provides the opportunity to develop confidence, aptitude and critical thinking. Graduates use their masters degree to put in place sustainability and adaptation principles in public, private and third sector organisations.
Future environmental change and the effectiveness of solutions are both uncertain. We teach students to integrate risk assessment into decision-making. The programme combines theoretical knowledge with practical and research experience. MSc students develop into rounded, self-reflective learners who can work with others with confidence and clarity.
Flexible and distance learning
It is a flexible degree, taught in blocks taken either with an intensive residential stay of five or six nights at the centre, or by distance learning. MSc students are free to choose between these teaching modes for every module. There is a choice of modules, taken over one year or two - meaning the degree can be part time. It is a masters degree designed to give students the best possible experience whilst also meshing neatly with the pressures of modern professional and family life.
Optional residential module weeks include lectures, seminars, group work and practicals. Applied work tends to dominate later in the week once we have laid the theoretical groundwork. These module weeks provide a truly immersive environment for students to escape daily life and apply themselves to new learning. Many eminent experts give guest lectures or hold seminars during these modules, as it is a course which seeks to draw on the expertise and learning of the whole sector. Distance Learning.
Sustainability and environmental careers
This is a new course in an emerging sector, as local authorities in the UK and governments around the world adopt more policies on climate change adaptation. This is among the first courses in the UK to put adaptation to climate change at the heart of its teaching, meaning students' skills upon graduating will be highly sought after.
The Graduate School of the Environment at CAT now has over 1000 graduates, working in sustainability roles across all sectors. Theses include government departments, local authority sustainability departments, large and small energy companies, construction companies, journalism, NGO's, environmental organisations and consultancies. Some have set up their own companies or organisations.
The nature of this masters degree means it attracts some people already part-way through their career, as well as people from diverse backgrounds. This diversity adds to the experience of all students on the course, and many people use a masters degree as a way to change fields. It may particularly attract people with a background in architecture or landscape architecture, engineering, international development, environmental science, politics or social geography.
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