Postgraduate study

Global Environment Challenges (Online Learning) PgCert

Awards: PgCert

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

Drawing from the University’s unique breadth of expertise, students on this programme develop an in-depth appreciation of how human activity drives environmental change.

Human activity is 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 the basic human needs for energy, food, water and shelter.

This part-time, online distance learning programme takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding these contemporary environmental issues and will also develop our students’ capacities to address these in professional life.

This programme is affiliated with the University's Global Environment & Society Academy.

Due to the highly flexible nature of this programme, it is an excellent way for those with work or family commitments to gain a further qualification with minimum interruption or to introduce students to a virtual learning environment.

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

The certificate is split into three taught courses, which are delivered through an exciting mixture of online modes, including video lectures, study guides, self-directed and guided reading as well as a range of interactive online reflection and discursive activities.

Global Environment Challenges (offered from September to December)

This course introduces the nature and relevance of key environmental challenges.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

This course explores the concepts of sustainability and social responsibility through a multidisciplinary approach, examining them from a scientific, social, economic, political and artistic viewpoint. This course will investigate the relationship between planetary boundaries, resource consumption and social development, and explore the range of interdisciplinary approaches to address these global challenges. It will also cover the topics of sustainability metrics, personal contributions and sustainable lifestyles, as well as providing an introduction to strategies for stakeholder engagement and communication/education.

You will understand concepts of sustainability and social responsibility and be able to engage and communicate effectively on these issues.

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.

MSc Global Challenges

After taking this programme, graduates can also take two further postgraduate certificates in Global Development Challenges and Global Health Challenges. Completion of all three certificates leads to an MSc in Global Challenges.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCertGlobal Environmental Challenges (Distance Learning)9 MonthsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Students will be equipped to:

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

This certificate will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for work with governments, NGOs, international aid organisations, United Nations agencies, the private sector, universities, other research institutions and elsewhere.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in any subject. We will also take any professional experience into account.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PgCertGlobal Environmental Challenges (Distance Learning)9 MonthsPart-timeTuition fees

School of GeoSciences Scholarships

You are also encouraged to undertake your own research into the range of potential scholarships and other funding for which you may be eligible.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Grant Institute
  • West Mains Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JW

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

You are encouraged to use the personal statement in your application to describe your interests in the programme and what you would bring to the programme. You should also provide details on any relevant work experience.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Grant Institute
  • West Mains Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JW