MSc Global Challenges

PG Cert Global Environment Challenges

The Postgraduate Certificate in Global Environment Challenges is a part time, online distance learning programme.


Human activity is changing the natural environment to such an extent that human wellbeing is increasingly affected.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Global Environment Challenges is a part time, online distance learning programme taking a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the issues and developing your capacity to address them in your professional life.

A multidisciplinary approach

Human activity is increasingly changing the natural environment at an unprecedented rate. As a result humanity faces a range of complex and interrelated challenges: global warming, ecosystem disruption, biodiversity loss, and for many, increasing difficulty in meeting basic human needs for energy, food, water and shelter. For all of us, these changes threaten to irreversibly alter the systems which support our current ways of life.

Environmental issues are therefore inextricably linked to many aspects of local, regional and global development, health, security and politics. A multidisciplinary approach is therefore essential to helping you understand causes and effects - and to give you the skills to tackle them effectively.

Study while you work

The Postgraduate Certificate in Global Environment Challenges is an online distance learning programme for people working, or considering a career, at the intersections of policy, practice and/or research in a range of sectors including sustainability, government, international agencies, NGOs, private sector and academia.

It offers a flexible approach to personal and professional development and can be studied around your other commitments, including full time work, from anywhere in the world with internet access.

Interactive learning

We relate our course topics to the particular needs and interests of our students, many of whom are working professionals. We will support you to bring your professional experience and expertise into the programme, and you will also benefit from hearing the experiences of your fellow students.

Develop understanding, knowledge and skills

You will develop understanding, knowledge and skills to apply in your professional life:

  • understand the challenges for society relating to sustainability, human wellbeing and environmental change
  • be able to critically evaluate local and regional environment-related issues, initiatives and projects within a global context
  • be able to apply theories and insights from scholarly research to support the development of appropriate responses to such issues through practice and policy

Expertise from across the university and beyond

The Postgraduate Certificate in Global Environment Challenges is offered by the School of Geosciences in the College of Science and Engineering.

The programme draws on multidisciplinary expertise from across the university and beyond through the Global Environment and Society Academy, a global network of experts developing innovative solutions for the world's most challenging problems.

Find about more about:

School of Geosciences

Global Environment and Society Academy

Course description

The Global Environment Certificate programme is offered as an online distance learning 60-credit Postgraduate Certificate, comprising the following courses:

Compulsory Courses (40 credits)

Global Environment Challenges

This course introduces the nature and relevance of key environmental challenges. You will gain the necessary background to understanding the policies, politics, governance and ethics, and decision-making processes that underpin the causes of, and responses to, environmental change. Topics include climate change, food, water, population and growth — and the relationships between them at global, regional and local level.

You will gain insight into environmental challenges facing humanity and the ethical issues relating to the them. You will gain the skills to critically appraise the arguments surrounding such issues, and be able to communicate to others the reasons for and against a particular course of action in response to different environmental problems.

Ecosystem Values and Management

This course considers the roles that ecosystems play in providing a range of ‘services’, including climate regulation, water, food, shelter as well as cultural and spiritual values. While recognising other perspectives, we focus on how healthy ecosystems underlie human well-being and quality of life. We will explore ways in which ecosystems’ scale, roles and functions can be valued.

You will develop your capacity to develop and critique valuations of ecosystems.

Optional Course (20 credits)

For a list of optional courses, please visit our Degree Programme Table