Enviromental Change and Global Sustainability

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: Finnish
Foreign:$ 14 k Deadline: Jan 11, 2024
98 place StudyQA ranking:1622 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate

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Global socio-ecological problems call for multidisciplinary solutions that transcend the usual boundaries of science and decision-making. The Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) Master’s programme trains you to tackle global environmental and sustainability challenges by lectures, seminars, project learning and laboratory and field courses. There are two study tracks in ECGS for applicants to choose from: the Environmental Change study track in natural sciences and the Global Sustainability study track in social sciences. Both study tracks offer several modules of advanced studies.

The interdisciplinary ECGS Master’s program provides you with a unique education which is widely applicable for a future career path. Upon graduating from ECGS you will have sufficient expertise in environmental sciences, sustainability sciences and environmental policy to act as a specialist in the public, private and third sectors, and you will have gained essential skills to undertake a career in sustainable business and communication. The Master’s program prepares you to advance to doctoral level studies and thereafter positions in environment-related research. ECGS has a multidisciplinary learning community with faculty from a wide range of sciences, accommodating students in a multicultural network with excellent career prospects.

Research focus

  • Socio-cognitive aspects of sustainability
  • Behavioural analysis of energy transitions
  • Participatory methods in natural resource policy
  • Regulation of nanomaterials and endocrine disrupters
  • Knowledge integration in environmental and technology policy
  • Ecological and economical modelling of renewable natural resources
  • The Baltic sea, agriculture and the environment 
  • Climate and energy policy and adaptations to climate change
  • Sustainable food production and consumption
  • Lake and marine ecosystems and research on related environmental problems (eutrophication, overfishing, oil accidents) and solutions (sustainable use, rehabilitation and management)
  • Urban ecosystem research, urban environmental policy and urban change
  • Paleoecology and environmental change, responses of plants to air pollution and climatic factors in terrestrial ecosystems
  • Nitrogen aware agriculture: soil health, biological nitrogen fixation, terrestrial nitrogen cycles and pulses in food chains
  • Environmental biotechnology and ecosystems ecology

ECGS is a truly multidisciplinary Master’s programme. It covers an introductory Core Module common to all students, followed by two distinct study tracks.

The introductory Core Module focuses on the methodologies of environmental and sustainability science as well as the interactions between science and society. The Core Module also offers a pool of optional methodological studies, providing you with the necessary research tools to tackle socio-ecological challenges.

If your orientation is in natural sciences, the Environmental Change study line can provide you with an understanding of the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and can give guidance toward their sustainable use.

If your interests are more in the social sciences and humanities, on the other hand, the Global Sustainability study line provides an understanding of the socio-cultural underpinnings of global sustainability challenges so that you can help to develop solutions that take social and environmental justice into consideration.

You can apply for one of the two studytracks in the ECGS Master’s programme: the Environmental Change study line or the Global Sustainability study line. You can refine your expertise in your chosen study line by choosing from study modules related to your specialised field of science or from interdisciplinary phenomenon-based modules.

Environmental Change modules are offered in, for example, the following research fields: aquatic sciences, soil and earth sciences, environmental ecology, environmental biotechnology and agroecology. Global Sustainability modules include themes such as environmental and natural resource economics, environmental policy, development studies, public and social policy, consumer research, forest policy and economics, and development geography. ECGS also offers a variety of modules integrating both natural and social scientific perspectives including phenomenon-based modules on the Baltic Sea and the Arctic as well as a variety of interdisciplinary fields such as climate change, food and consumption systems, urban studies and socio-ecological systems studies.

As an international applicant, you will be assessed and accepted for the Master’s program based on the scientific relevance of your bachelor’s degree and your success in previous studies.

You will graduate with a Master’s degree in Science (M.Sc.) or Social Sciences (M.Soc.Sc.). Your Master’s degree (120 credits, ECTS) will consist of the following studies:

  • Advanced studies, 60 credits, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
  • Other studies, 60 credits, including 30 credits of Core Module studies and 30 credits of elective science specific studies from either ECGS modules or other relevant Master’s programs.

During your second year you will write an individual Master’s thesis (30 credits). The Master’s thesis is a proving ground there you demonstrate your capabilities in scientific thinking, methodological research and scientific communication and writing. During the writing process you will also attend a Master’s thesis seminar headed and instructed by a faculty member with expertise in your particular field.

Min­imum cri­teria for ad­mis­sion

You may be admitted if

  • You meet the specified eligibility requirements  
  • You demonstrate your eligibility within the specified deadline
  • You submit the application and the required attachments within the specified deadline.

Further information on eligibility requirements can be found in the section entitled “Eligibility”. Further information on submitting the required attachments can be found in the section entitled “Required attachments”.

Ad­mis­sions pro­ced­ure

If you do not meet the minimum criteria for admission listed above, you cannot be admitted. The below-described admission criteria apply to applicants who meet the minimum criteria for admission.

Admissions to the ECGS programme are based on the following criteria, each of which will be scored on a scale of 0–10:

  • Applicability of previous studies to the ECGS programme
  • Academic performance (grades, study progress) in completed applicable studies required for the ECGS programme
  • Motivation letter

The required minimum score for each criterion is 6.

Applicants must have completed at least a first-cycle degree in a field applicable to the Master’s programme. In order for the studies completed for the degree serving as the grounds for application (or any studies completed to supplement this degree) to provide sufficient qualifications and knowledge for the completion of Master’s studies, their content and level must be applicable and appropriate for the Master’s programme and its disciplines. The applicability and sufficiency of these studies will be assessed during the admissions procedure. The University of Helsinki does not provide any preliminary evaluation on the suitability of the applicant’s previous studies.

In the application form you must specify the degree you apply for. You can choose from the following degrees: Master of Science (Faculty of Science), Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry) (Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry) or Master of Social Sciences (Faculty of Social Sciences). Your choice of study track affects the degree that you can choose (see above the section "Study right to be awarded"). You can select only one degree you apply for. In the application form you must also choose the study track to which you apply. The study tracks are A) Environmental Change B) Global Sustainability. You can only apply to one study track.

Applicants with a second-cycle degree in the same or related field will only be taken into consideration for compelling reasons and if the targeted degree is sufficiently different from their previously completed degree. As a rule, second-cycle degrees are used as grounds for applying for a right to complete a postgraduate degree.

The assessment is based on the studies applicants have completed by the end of the application period.

In the event the programme quota cannot accommodate all applicants who have completed studies applicable to the degree programme, a comparison between the applicants will be made. Only the best applicants will be accepted. There is no requirement for the programme to fill its admission quota.

If two or more applicants are tied after the evaluation, they will be ranked firstly on the basis of applicable studies, secondly on the basis of academic performance and thirdly on the basis of the motivation letter.


The application must be accompanied by the following documents and the documents must be submitted as instructed below:

  • Officially certified copy of the degree certificate/diploma
  • Official transcript of studies that demonstrates i) the applicability of your previous studies into this Master's programme ii) your academic performance and iii) the duration of your studies
  • Certificate of language proficiency
  • Authorised translations
  • A photocopy of your passport OR your Finnish residence permit card
  • Motivation letter to be included in the application form
  • A diploma supplement (if available)
  • Fully Funded Grant (Tuition fee + 10 000 EUR)
  • Full Tuition fee Grant
  • Study Grant (10 000 EUR)

Tuition fees range from 13 000 to 18 000 euros.

The scholarship will be granted for two years. For all scholarships, students are required to study full time (earn at least 55 ECTS per year) to fulfil the requirements of the scholarship. After the first study year, your studies will be evaluated and, depending on your progress, the scholarship will be continued.

All candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • You are eligible for the Master’s programme at the University of Helsinki.
  • You are liable for tuition fees: Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries who do not have permanent residence status in the EU/EEA area are liable for tuition fees. You can check the FAQ at the Studyinfo website as to whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.
  • You meet the requirements for obtaining an entry visa and residence permit for Finland.
  • You have obtained excellent results in your previous studies and can prove this in your application.

How to apply for a Be 1* of the Best scholarships

  1. Find the Master's programme you want to apply to through the Degree Finder
  2. See the instructions on how to apply to the Master’s programme and prepare the necessary attachments.
  3. Apply for a scholarship with the same application form used to apply to the Master's programme.
  4. Submit all the required attachments.

Selection process

Scholarships are granted based on academic merit.

  1. The Master's programme conducts an academic assessment of your degree application and your scholarship application.
  2. The Master's programme makes a proposal to the Scholarship Committee concerning the scholarship application.
  3. The Scholarship Committee makes the final decision on the scholarship.

If you are awarded a scholarship, you will receive an official acceptance letter with the information about your scholarship status.

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