Global Sustainable Development (Dumfries campus) MA

Eco-environmentally friendly green energy of sustainable development of solar power plant with Shanghai skyline

This exciting new 4-year degree programme explores the economic, environmental and social challenges and opportunities arising from the need to reduce global inequalities while limiting threats to the planet’s life support systems. Global Sustainable Development (MA) is perfect for those who are looking to play their part in protecting the planet.

Choosing to study Global Sustainable Development at the University of Glasgow gives you the unique offering of many fieldwork trips throughout the entirety of your degree. Examples of fieldwork trips may include visits to:

  • Afforestation projects
  • Energy infrastructure
  • Brownfield redevelopment sites in rural and urban areas.
  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Global Sustainable Development MA: D400 4 year degree

Register your interest for more information

Dumfries campus

Set in 85 acres of historic parkland, The University of Glasgow Dumfries Campus is situated in South-West Scotland. Combining idyllic surroundings with world class teaching and outstanding placement opportunities, this is the perfect setting to give you an incredible student experience.

A welcoming learning environment

This close-knit community is typically made up of students and staff from over 40 countries. Friendly residences and small class sizes will help you to get to know students and staff from all disciplines. You will be taught by academics who are among the top researchers in their fields, and who have a progressive vision for interdisciplinary teaching and research.

An idyllic location

Creative and picturesque, Dumfries has a lively arts and festival scene, strong cultural heritage and a wealth of outdoor activities including hiking and cycling trails, rivers and lochs. Enjoy stunning views of the Solway estuary and hills, proximity to hiking and cycling trails, rivers and lochs, and a walk or short bus ride to the historic town centre. With excellent transport links, the rest of the UK is within easy reach; Glasgow and Edinburgh are just under two hours away, while Carlisle is under an hour.

Student life

Discover the many ways to get involved with the wider student community and Dumfries and Galloway; find out more about life at the University of Glasgow, read our Student Stories, chat with current students, and find out all you need to know with blogs from those who know best, our students.

Programme structure

This degree supports you to establish a foundational understanding in theories and concepts of sustainable development and examine their application from local to global levels, in both urban and rural contexts. You will develop a knowledge of the inter-related nature of economic, environmental and social systems when addressing global sustainable development, drawing on disciplinary insights from anthropology, political economy, business studies, human geography philosophy, and environmental science.

You will be equipped with a range of professional and technical skills in sustainable development including impact assessment, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) frameworks, concept notes, data analysis and Agile project management. The knowledge and understanding gained through lectures and seminars will be enhanced through case studies, field visits and independent project work. 

Year 1 

You will be introduced to the key concepts and theories of sustainable development. The core courses in year 1 are: 

  • Introduction to Sustainable Development
  • Introduction to Global Environmental
  • People, Power and Place
  • Energy, Waste and Pollution: Options for Sustainability.

Year 2

You will develop a deeper understanding and explore specific subject areas. Core courses in year 2 are:

  • Global Perspectives on Health and Human Development
  • Ethics: Environment and Development
  • Political Economy of Globalisation and Development
  • Politics and the Environment
  • Environmental Communication and Behaviour.

Year 3

As well as the core courses in year 3, you will have the opportunity for a UK-based or international placement experience which will allow you to put the theory you have learned into action.

  • Advanced Texts in Sustainable Development
  • Innovation and Enterprise for Sustainability
  • Research Methods for Social Science
  • Placement or Dissertation.

Some examples of placement opportunities include:

  • Natural Capital promotion, development, investment, and monitoring
  • Community Climate Action
  • Role of Cultural and Creative sector in sustainable development.

Year 4

With the field course and research project, you have the freedom to pursue a specialism or career path you are passionate about, culminating in the presentation of your insights to practitioners.

  • Sustainable Development Field Course
  • Honours Action Research Project
  • Migration and Development
  • Water resources: Policy and Governance.

Course details

Year 1

Core courses

Year 2

Core courses


Year 3

Core courses


Optional courses

Year 4

Core courses

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

This programme gives you the opportunity to study abroad as well as completing an international placement. See Study abroad

Entry requirements

for entry in 2024

Summary of entry requirements for Global Sustainable Development

SQA Higher entry requirements (by end of S6)

  • BBBB Higher

SQA Higher adjusted entry requirements

  • No Adjusted Higher Requirements.

A-level standard entry requirements

  • BBB – CCC

IB standard entry requirements

  • 32 (5,5,5)

Admissions guidance

English language

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test
  • IELTS One Skill Retake accepted.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

Cambridge English Qualifications

  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
  • Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169

School Qualifications

  • iGCSE English or ESOL 0522/0500, grade C
  • International Baccalaureate English A SL5 or HL5
  • International Baccalaureate English B SL6 or HL5
  • SQA National 5 English or ESOL, grade B
  • SQA Higher English or ESOL, grade C
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, English Language grade 4
  • West African Examination Council, Senior Secondary School Certificate, English grade C6

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-sessional courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

Further information about English language: School of Modern Languages & Cultures: English for Academic Study

Career prospects

This degree will equip you with interdisciplinary knowledge, analytical tools, research skills and professional ethos to become subject specialists. You will be ready to address the challenges and opportunities of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in career pathways as diverse as the development and humanitarian sectors; local and national government, and inter-governmental agencies such as the United Nations; the private sector, innovation and enterprise; risk management and consultancy; environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG); campaigning and advocacy; media and journalism; and research.

Some of these career paths include: 

  • Environmental Consultant/Specialist
  • Environmental Policy Analyst
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Sustainability Analyst
  • Sustainability Director
  • Climate/Environmental Scientist
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:


Global Sustainable Development: D400 (4 years)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply

Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

SQA applicants who are eligible for our Widening Participation programmes are encouraged to participate in one or more of these programmes, including Summer School, to support your application and the transition to higher education.

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 16 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 31 January: all other UK applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international students.

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

How to apply for Advanced Entry

Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Apply via UCAS