Degree Choices in Sustainability, Water, and Climate Change

Recently, disturbing images have been seared into the collective consciousness from the wildfires raging across the western United States. At the same time, there are wildfires burning in the Brazil, too. In January 2020, wildfires devastated large parts of the Australia.

In the United States, there is some debate over issues of climate change and sustainability that I won’t go into here. These topics are viewed differently in many parts of continental Europe. They’re seen as opportunities for growth and learning. This goes beyond learning for the sake of learning, though, and is about affecting change at scale.

In continental Europe, there are quite few programs dedicated to sustainability. Using our Area of Study system, there are 17 English-taught, master’s degree programs in the specific area of study of climate studies. This are 37 programs with a sustainability bent, ranging from zero tuition to over 20,000 EUR. A search found 586 programs with the word, “sustainable” in the description that include sustainability as a topic in their curriculum. You will find this in areas like business, design, agriculture, and other examples. What follows are a few examples of interesting options in this area. If you find this interesting and want to dig deeper, please join our community and see for yourself whether getting a master’s degree in Europe is the right choice for you.

Climate Studies

University of Hamburg has Integrated Climate System Sciences master’s program which is focused on the scientific aspects of climate issues. The program has an internationally unique focus on physics and modelling and offers three areas of specialization. The program is 2 years in duration and the tuition is 0€. The same school has an international business program with a sustainability focus.

Stockholm University has an interesting master’s program entitled, The Polar Landscape and Quaternary Climate, which essentially covers climate over the last million years. It is also a 2 year program and the tuition is € 13,165 per year.

What About Water?

Quick question: which nation leads all others when it comes to dealing with rising tides? The answer is the Netherlands. While there are a number of water-focused programs in the Netherlands and throughout Europe, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft is strictly focused on master’s and Ph D. education in the area of water. They also partner with a number of schools throughout Europe.

Water and Coastal Management Is a joint program between University of Groningen and University of Oldenburg. The double degree Master program merges the strongest expertise of the two universities. Because of the connection to Germany’s University of Oldenburg, you’ll save big on tuition at just 818 EUR per year, however, you’ll still have to pay Groningen’s 15000 EUR tuition.

Sustainability & Environment

Green Economy and Sustainability is a program at University of Ferrara in Italy that’s worth looking at. At just 1440 EUR per year, it’s a quite reasonable 2 year program. This master’s is focused on turning out consultants and managers who can work in the green economy.

Aalto University in Finland has a program that combines business, design, and sustainability. Quoting from the school’s description: “The Creative Sustainability programme (CS) provides a multidisciplinary learning platform in the fields of business, architecture, built environment and design. It allows students to study and develop solutions to global sustainability concerns such as climate change, resource scarcity, global poverty as well as social and economic inequality.” The program is 2 years in duration and 15,000 EUR per year.

This post does not even scratch the surface of the more than 11,200 English-taught, master’s programs in continental Europe. Whether your passion is around the environment or something completely different, you may wonder what the educational possibilities are for you. We’d love for you to join our community and meet people like you who are already taking advantage of this opportunity.

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