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Overview

*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.

In this one-of-a-kind degree program, you’ll travel the globe as you examine climate change impacts 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 energy and climate policy. You‘ll see Iceland‘s energy alternatives to fossil fuels as well as its methods for reducing CO2 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, food security, and government policy. 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 policy, governance, environmental education, and conservation management. An advanced knowledge of science is not required; you will learn the key concepts of climate science on the program.

Academics

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

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In this program, you’ll learn:

  • Critically assess the roles and limitations of science, technologies, market-based solutions, and regulatory mechanisms in climate policy
  • Understand the array of social science and ecological research methods to study climate change and its impacts in the global tropics and the arctic
  • Analyze data and intrepret outcomes
  • Communicate scientifc outcomes for stakeholders and the public
  • Master the roles of the state, international organizations, private sector, and citizens in defining, promoting, implementing, and resisting sustainable development agenda(s) in era of climate change
  • Understand the types and extent of evidence for global climate change and its impacts; the basic science underlying global climate change, and the validity, potential, and limitations of its application; and the broad history of climate change research
  • Grasp the broad human dimensions of climate change, including impacts to ecosystems, settlements, water, food, and energy, and envrionmental governance strategies and community adaptations to mitigate it
  • Understand and critically evaulate general climate change modelling and models for their strengths and weaknesses
  • Implement climate change impact assessment
  • Understand environmental economics, especially as linked to climate change influences on water and food
  • Find ways to balance natural resource management with developing sustainable livelihoods
  • Know the roles of diverse stakeholders in natural resource management and sustainability initiatives
  • Understand the challenges posed by climate change to environments, species, and human communities in both protected and unprotected areas
  • Articulate how power relations among actors from local, regional, and global scales shape climate negotiations, both constraining efforts to enact change and enabling new opportunities to challenge status quo
  • Master the functions of global environmental governance and how the contentious politics of climate diplomacy are contextualized by historical, geographical, and structural factors, among others

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
Faculty

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

Jonathan Richard Walz
Jonathan Richard Walz

Faculty and Program Chair
Climate Change and Global Sustainability

Degrees

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 four months, 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 or appropriate climate change actions and advocacy 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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  • Advocacy and lobbying
  • Environmental policy
  • Impact assessment management
  • Environmental education
  • Conservation management
  • National park / state park service
  • Natural resource management
  • Project management
  • Nonprofit management
  • Environmental sustainability
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

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.

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.

Tuition/Costs

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