Environmental degradation and climate change are global emergencies, yet we live in a world that is ecologically and culturally diverse, and which is economically and socially unequal.
Sustainable solutions thus require knowledge of the complex interactions and trade-offs between environmental, economic, social and cultural sustainability. Our Masters course provides this essential interdisciplinary overview, allowing you to specialise in the sustainability of ecosystems, communities, landscapes, buildings and heritage, or to focus on the interactions between them.
Working within an exciting collaboration between our Departments of Archaeology, and Environment and Geography, you'll gain a fascinating insight into the sustainability of processes that take place over a few years to many thousands of years. Thinking across disciplines to address issues of current and future sustainability is both stimulating and challenging, requiring expertise from a range of subject areas. Our staff and students work together to create interdisciplinary teams, and our wide range of module options and guided independent research opportunities allow you to tailor your studies to your interests and career ambitions.
Our superb £12.5m Environment and Geography building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatre and seminar rooms, and features a spectacular living wall
Throughout the year, academic and industry speakers are invited to talk about current and policy-relevant areas of environmental and heritage research
You’ll benefit from our unique access to the Stockholm Environment Institute, an international environment policy unit embedded within the Department of Environment and Geography
We're proud to announce that we've been shortlisted for two prestigious University of the Year awards.
In this course, you'll acquire appropriate skills and knowledge through a mixture of science-based, humanities and social science modules.
You'll take core modules covering sustainability concepts and research skills. In addition, you'll choose from a wide range of option modules and skills modules.
Finally, you will hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic.
For the MSc in Sustainability Science you’ll take the Research Skills and Statistical Methods module, and either the MSc Dissertation module or the MSc Dissertation with Placement module from the Department of Environment and Geography.
For the MA in Sustainability Studies your Dissertation module will be from the Department of Archaeology.
We expect MSc dissertations to predominantly employ research methods drawn from the natural and/or social sciences. MA dissertations will normally prioritise research methods drawn from the humanities. The nature of sustainability means many dissertations from both MSc and MA students employ interdisciplinary methods and/or review research from across the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
You’ll take the core modules Sustainability I and Sustainability II as a single cohort from both courses, thereby ensuring that you’re familiar with a range of discipline-specific and interdisciplinary approaches, and can benefit from interdisciplinary discussions that draw on a range of student experience, knowledge and expertise.
You will take core modules, which may include:
You can select option modules from the full range of options taught in the Department of Archaeology, allowing you to focus on a particular period, region or specialist area (eg sustainable building conservation or sustainable heritage), and from a wide range of relevant modules taught in the Department of Environment and Geography. Examples from both departments include:
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
You will carry out a piece of original independent research, using appropriate disciplinary skills in an imaginative way. You'll be assessed with a dissertation and assessed lecture on your research.
You will have regular meetings with your supervisor who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the dissertation writing process.
Examples of recent dissertation topics have included:
Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£9,290||£19,950|
|Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
|Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status
Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.
We don't anticipate there being any additional fees associated with this course. All books and resources you need will be available in the library or online, and it isn't mandatory that you buy your own copies. You may wish to set aside a small budget for photocopying, depending on how you like to work.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.
If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.
The Department of Archaeology usually offers a £1,000 discount to students coming through from its undergraduate BA/BSc programmes in the current year. This is in addition to the University Masters fee discount scheme.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
Our staff collaborate with a broad range of private and public organisations including UNEP, DEFRA, Forestry Commission, Natural England, English Heritage, and the Overseas Development Institute
In addition to our state-of-the-art Environment and Geography building, you may also have the opportunity to study in the beautiful, medieval King's Manor, the home of our Department of Archaeology, in the heart of the historic city of York
Informality is one of our distinctive qualities - the atmosphere in our departments is friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We want you to develop your potential and thrive at York
You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.
The core modules Sustainability I and Sustainability II are discussion and participant led. In addition to key texts and case studies designed to highlight particular themes and issues, students suggest case studies from their own areas of experience and expertise, or those which relate to their career aspirations. Group discussions explore issues unique to these case studies and highlight factors that are relevant to all areas of sustainability.
Depending on module choices, other teaching formats include lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips and supervised laboratory and fieldwork.
Run jointly between the Department of Environment and Geography and the Department of Archaeology, you'll have access to a range of facilities including our state-of-the-art Environment Building on Campus West, and the beautiful and historic King’s Manor in the heart of York, which houses a specialist library, labs for soil, artefact and skeletal analyses, and computer labs with specialist mapping software.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
Types of assessment in this course include:
Before completing assessments that count towards your final mark, you'll undertake 'formative' (ie non-assessed, practice) assessments that will give you useful feedback on your progress and understanding.
Through the development of skills in the collation, analysis, synthesis and presentation of interdisciplinary data, and an ability to work as part of a team, you'll graduate well-placed for a range of career paths, including progression to a PhD and research careers.
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject such as Archaeology, Anthropology, Biology, Conservation, Ecology, Geography or related fields.|
|Other qualifications and experience||If you don’t have conventional qualifications, but do have appropriate, relevant experience, you are encouraged to apply. We carefully consider each application on its merits.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 in all other components|
|Duolingo||110, minimum 110 in production and 100 in all other components|
|LanguageCert||B2 Communicator High Pass with 33/50 in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components|
|TOEFL||87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
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