Master of Arts in Climate Change and Global Sustainability

SIT Graduate Institute

Program Description

Master of Arts in Climate Change and Global Sustainability

SIT Graduate Institute


In this one-of-a-kind degree program, you’ll travel the globe as you examine the impacts of climate change and innovations and policies to combat them. You’ll examine current global environmental governance and consider opportunities for effective climate action in a rapidly changing world.

Starting in Iceland, you’ll be introduced to climate science, assessment methods, and energy and climate policy. You’ll see Iceland’s energy alternatives to fossil fuels as well as its methods for reducing carbon dioxide output. You’ll also discover Iceland’s core policies of environmental governance and changing geopolitical role as a leader in energy innovation within the European Union.

In the spring semester, you’ll travel the Zanzibar archipelago, engaging with community members, scientists, activists, and government officials as you explore agriculture and aquaculture, food chains and markets, water and food security, and government policies on coastal urban planning. You’ll discover the effects of climate change on ecosystems and human communities in the Indian Ocean region and the challenges of balancing natural resource management with the need to promote sustainable livelihoods.

A semester-long practicum at an environmental or climate change organization rounds out your experience by letting you practice what you’ve learned in a professional setting while getting real-world experience for your résumé.

This program is designed for professionals who want to make a difference in sustainability, ecological conservation, and community livelihoods. Advanced knowledge of science is not required; you will learn the key concepts of climate science on the program.

In this program, you’ll learn:

  • The fundamentals of climate science and the challenges posed by climate change to environments, species, and human communities
  • Ecological and social research methods to study climate change and its impacts in the Arctic and global tropics
  • How to analyze environmental and social data and interpret outcomes
  • How to communicate scientific outcomes for stakeholders and the public
  • The basic history of climate change research and the extent and types of physical evidence of global climate change
  • How to understand and critically evaluate general climate change modeling and models for strengths and weaknesses
  • The broad human dimensions of climate change impacts on settlements, water, food, and energy and the environmental governance strategies and community adaptations that mitigate it
  • How to identify and assess climate change impacts
  • Ways to balance natural resource management with more sustainable livelihoods for communities
  • How to apply environmental economics to the influences of climate change on community water and food security but also to urban planning and tourism
  • How to critically assess the roles and limitations of science and technology, market-based solutions, and regulatory mechanisms in climate policy
  • The functions of global environmental governance and the factors that influence climate diplomacy
  • The roles and perspectives of diverse stakeholders — states, international organizations, NGOs, and citizens — in defining, promoting, implementing, and resisting sustainable development agendas in an era of climate change
  • How relations among actors from different scales shape climate negotiations, both constraining efforts to enact change and enabling new opportunities that challenge the status quo

Sample Courses

  • Science of Global Climate Change
  • Comparative Political Economy of Sustainable Development
  • Human-Climate Interface: Energy and Climate Policy in Iceland
  • Climate Change in the Arctic: Methods and Impact Assessment
  • Human-Climate Interface: Water, Food, and Climate Economics in Zanzibar
  • Natural Resources Management in East Africa
  • Climate Change on Tropical Coasts: Social and Ecological Methods
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Indian Ocean
  • International Environmental Policy and the Challenge of Climate Diplomacy
  • Climate Policy-Advocacy Internship
  • Climate Change and Global Sustainability Project

Professional Practicum

A cornerstone of SIT degree programs is the practicum. This allows you to apply learning from the classroom in real-world settings while getting hands-on, professional experience.

For a semester, you’ll work with a climate change or environmental sustainability think tank, NGO, government agency, or other organization involved in policy/advocacy work in Washington, DC; New York City; or a global location of your choice. This practicum experience will give you the opportunity to practice policy/advocacy work in a real-world setting and to expand your professional network and strengthen your ability to develop grounded expectations about what constitutes feasible climate change strategies. Your practicum may be a paid professional position or an unpaid internship.

During this period, you’ll remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of your knowledge and skills while working in a professional context.

Alumni Careers

Career opportunities in the field are numerous. Possible career paths include:

  • Climate science
  • Natural resources management
  • Sustainable livelihoods development
  • Sustainability of food, water, and energy
  • Climate and environmental policy advocacy
  • Climate change education
  • Community development
  • Social development
  • Environmental monitoring and climate change mitigation
  • Ecological conservation
  • Environmental governance
  • National/state parks service


Semester 1 Tuition: $13,518
Semester 1 Fees: $660

Semester 2 Tuition: $13,518
Semester 2 Fees: $660

Semester 3 Tuition (Reflective Practice Phase): $13,518
Semester 3 Fees: $660

MA Degree Total Tuition and Fees (All Terms Combined): $42,535

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 28, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2019
1 year
42,535 USD
USA - Washington, District of Columbia
Start date : Aug. 2019
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USA - Brattleboro, Vermont
Start date : Aug. 2019
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Aug. 2019
USA - Brattleboro, Vermont
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
USA - Washington, District of Columbia
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End date Request Info