Master's Program in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS)
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 program trains you in wide-ranging interdisciplinary thinking skills.
Goal of the program
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 program trains you in wide-ranging interdisciplinary thinking skills and provides you with the ability to:
- Study environmental and sustainability issues in your respective fields of expertise, and
- Solve problems of socio-ecological sustainability in cooperation with various social actors.
Information on the languages of instruction
The ECGS Master’s program is taught in English. All assignments, exams, and dissertations can be done in English, as well as in Finnish and Swedish.
ECGS is a truly multidisciplinary Master’s program. 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.
Selection of the study track
You can apply for one of the two study tracks in the ECGS Master’s program: 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 specialized 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 of about 50–80 pages (30 credits). The Master’s thesis is a proving ground where 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.
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.
The ECGS Master’s program, taught in English, trains you to tackle environmental challenges which transcend national borders. The faculty encourages international interaction and the program promotes a vibrant multicultural atmosphere. You can also include a student exchange in your Master’s level studies.
ECGS is built on a strong connection between the Helsinki university campuses. Since sustainable development is a strategic objective of the University of Helsinki, the university continues to strengthen its cooperation with other universities (such as Aalto University), the Finnish Environment Institute, the National Resource Institute Finland and a variety of collaborating organizations.
- 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 modeling 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.
For further information, please acquaint yourself with our researchers' topical work at:
Upon completion of your Master’s degree, you will be eligible to apply for doctoral studies in the University of Helsinki and other leading international research institutions. Examples of suitable doctoral programs at the University of Helsinki include:
- The Doctoral program in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (DENVI)
- The Doctoral program in Sustainable Use of Renewable Natural Resources (AGFOREE)
- The Doctoral program in Social Sciences
- The Doctoral program in Political, Societal and Regional Change (PSRC)
- The Doctoral program in Wildlife Biology Research (LUOVA)
- The Doctoral program in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP)
For further information, please visit the University of Helsinki doctoral education website at: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education
Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area and pursue their studies in English, are liable to pay tuition fees. You can check from FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.