*accreditation pending

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The world needs skilled professionals working in the climate change arena more than ever. Get the skills and hands-on experience you need to make a difference.

tanzaniaIn 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. An advanced knowledge of science is not required; you will learn the key concepts of climate science on the program.


With SIT’s experiential curriculum, you’ll learn how to put theory into practice. 

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In this program, you’ll learn:

  • student groupThe 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 modelling 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

SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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Core Faculty

Richard Walz
Richard Walz

Faculty and Program Chair
Climate Change and Global Sustainability


PhD, University of Florida
MA, University of Florida
BA, University of North Carolina

Richard Walz completed his PhD at the University of Florida as a foreign language and area studies fellow at the Center for African Studies. Funded by Fulbright-Hays, his doctoral research produced a history of human settlement and environment for the region between the Swahili Coast and the Eastern Arc Mountains of northeastern Tanzania.

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Adjunct Faculty

Nicolas Stahelin
Nicolas Stahelin

Faculty and Practicum Coordinator
Climate Change and Global Sustainability

PhD Candidate, Columbia University
MA, Columbia University
BA, Oberlin College

Nicolas Stahelin is an educator and political ecologist who has worked in the field of experiential learning, international and cross-cultural exchange, school-community partnerships, and higher education for nearly 15 years.

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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.

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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:

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  • 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
Admissions Criteria

We strive to create a diverse and experienced student body to enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. To be considered for admission to this program, you must meet the following criteria:

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To be considered for admission to the MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • US bachelor's degree or an equivalent that demonstrates academic ability
  • Demonstrated English language ability (see details below)
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning

SIT Graduate Institute’s Selection Process

Our admissions staff work one-on-one with every applicant to facilitate a highly informed and multidimensional admissions experience: applicants are encouraged to attend an open house, talk with SIT faculty and staff, and hear from current students and alumni. As applicants become familiar with the attributes of an SIT education — grounded in the experiential learning model and focused on social justice and leadership skills in intercultural environments — they determine for themselves in what ways SIT can help them meet their educational and career objectives.

English Language Ability

Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS  practice tests online.)

Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of

  • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT)
  • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
  • 100 on the internet-based iBT.

Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher. Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.


See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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Semester 1 Tuition: $16,925
Semester 1 Fees: $990

Semester 2 Tuition: $16,925
Semester 2 Fees: $990

Semester 3 Tuition (Reflective Practice Phase): $3,354

MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $39,184