Postgraduate study

Global Environment Challenges (Online Learning) PgCert

Awards: PgCert

Study modes: Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

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
  • increasing difficulty in meeting the basic human needs for energy, food, water and shelter

Our PgCert Global Environment Challenges (Online Learning) takes a multidisciplinary approach to understand these contemporary environmental issues. It will also develop your abilities to address these in professional life.

Drawing from the University's unique breadth of expertise, our programme enables you to develop an in-depth appreciation of how human activity drives environmental change.

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

Online learning

Our programme is delivered 100% online and part-time, enabling you to study flexibly and at your own pace. You will benefit from interaction and engagement with our expert staff, as well as your peers around the world.

The PgCert Global Environment Challenges (Online Learning) is a 100% online programme. It enables you to study flexibly and at your own pace, wherever you are in the world.

As a student of one of our online learning programmes, you will:

  • have the flexibility to study when most convenient for you
  • be able to study from anywhere with an internet connection
  • have access to all University services and relevant academics
  • become part of a rich and varied online community of people in your field
  • learn the latest developments from people working at the leading edge in your field
  • be able to balance your studies alongside employment and personal commitments
  • study for an internationally-recognised Postgraduate Certificate

Studying online with the University of Edinburgh

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

The certificate is split into three taught courses.

These 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 sustainability and social responsibility concepts 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. In addition, it will provide an introduction to strategies for stakeholder engagement and communication/education.

You will understand concepts of sustainability and social responsibility, as well as 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 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
PgCert9 MonthsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

By studying the PgCert Global Environment Challenges (Online Learning), you 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

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

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

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

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 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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
PgCert9 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.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

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

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines.

We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline.

We aim to make the majority of decisions within six weeks of the selection deadline.

If we have not made you an offer by a specific selection deadline this means one of two things:

  • your application has been unsuccessful, in which case we will contact you to let you know, or
  • your application is still being considered, will be carried forward for consideration in the next selection deadline and we’ll be in touch once a decision is made

Selection Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Decisions made or applications rolled to next deadline
1 31 January 15 March
2 31 March 15 May
3 31 May 15 July

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