Global Master of Arts in
Climate Change & Global Sustainability (Full-Time)

Gain the professional skills and hands-on experience needed to effectively confront climate change and promote sustainability.

At a Glance

For programs beginning in 2022





Priority Deadline

January 31

After January 31

Rolling admission until full

Final Deadline

August 1


1 Year

Instructional Sites

Iceland, Tanzania

Critical Global Issue of Study

Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment Icon

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Climate change is a pressing concern at global, regional, and local scales. This program provides an opportunity to the gain knowledge, skills, and global experience to address climate change and enhance the sustainability of environments and responsible human livelihoods. By using natural and social sciences to engage with communities, environments, practices, and policies, we can limit climate change and mitigate and manage its impacts on our world. The program will prepare you to work in the fields of climate change science, policy, conservation, development, or community advocacy.

During your first semester in Iceland, meet your cohort, participate in orientation, and gain a deeper understanding of the country’s pathbreaking energy alternatives to fossil fuels. You will also explore Iceland’s methods for reducing carbon dioxide output; its core policies of environmental governance; and its changing geopolitical role as a leader in European energy innovation.

In your second semester, travel to Zanzibar, exploring the effects of climate change on tropical ecosystems; communities of the Indian Ocean; and best practices for balancing natural resources with sustainable growth. You will also interact with scientists, activists, and leaders as you learn about agriculture and aquaculture; food chains and markets; water and food security; government policies; and coastal urban planning.

Spend your final semester undertaking a professional practicum at a prominent environmental or climate change organization. This will allow you to apply what you have learned to a professional setting while gaining real-world skills for your résumé. You will also complete a capstone paper reflecting on your experience.

Created especially for mission-driven professionals who seek a comprehensive introduction to climate science (advanced knowledge of science not required), and are passionate about sustainable development, ecological conservation, and resource management, the master’s in climate change and global sustainability will allow you to get the skills, expertise, and hands-on experience you need to make a difference locally or globally.

Career Paths

Students who have graduated with this degree have gotten jobs such as

  • Foreign Agricultural Service officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC

  • Senior campaign coordinator, Union of Concerned Scientists, Chicago, Illinois

  • Program coordinator for climate resiliency in central Appalachia, The Nature Conservancy, Appalachia, U.S.

  • Senior researcher for bio-cultural landscapes, International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples and Asociacion ANDES, Parque de la Papa, Peru

  • Consultant, Gable Associates: Energy, Environmental, and Public Utility Consulting, Boston, Massachusetts

  • Consultant, WASH Climate Change Policy in Latin American and Caribbean, The World Bank

  • Forest manager, One Tree Planted, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Visit the SIT blog to read more about SIT Graduate Institute alumni careers.

Program Sites

Ísafjörður, Iceland

Venture to the northwestern tip of Iceland, known for its tundra climate and awe-inspiring scenery. Hike the glaciers, attend the Arctic Circle Conference, visit hydropower stations, and investigate the dramatic effects of climate change on Arctic ecosystems and their communities. Students stay in a converted high school with hotel-style rooms and a dining facility. 

Excursion highlights include: 

  • Arctic Circle Conference 
  • Arctic Fox Center 
  • Drangajökull Glacier 
  • Hornstrandir 
  • Harpa eða kollegar: Avalanche research 
  • Mjólkárvirkjun: Hydroelectric power plant 
  • Multiple energy and landscape/seascape outings 
  • Reykjavik: museums and landmarks 

Zanzibar, Tanzania

From your coastal base in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you will study Zanzibar’s Indian Ocean shoreline, work with community organizations and entrepreneurs, and apply conservation strategies to coral reefs and tropical forests in Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park. Students will stay in well-appointed apartments of their choice in Stone Town and have the opportunity to visit spice farms and beaches. 

Excursion highlights include: 

  • Stone Town UNESCO World Heritage Site 
  • Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park 
  • Mafia Island Marine Park 
  • Ngezi-Vumawimbi Nature Forest Reserve 
  • University of Dar es Salaam 
  • National Museum of Tanzania 
  • Paje and Ngezi beachfronts 
  • Multiple community food, water, forestry, and energy initiatives 

Practicum in location of choice

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Understand climate change and global sustainability as complex concepts and the science of climate change as a critical practice.
  • Articulate global and comparative perspectives on climate change causes, impacts to human communities and environments, and sustainable solutions across different geophysical, socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts.
  • Apply ethically sound science to identify, study, and mitigate problems and innovate solutions to climate change and its impacts.
  • Compose climate change and sustainability policy briefs.
  • Demonstrate professional skills essential to climate change and sustainability research, policy, and advocacy—and their interfaces—including interdisciplinary data analysis, interpretation, institutional networking, and the effective communication of science outcomes to the public.
  • Apply fundamental research skills to conceptualize, design, and develop a unique capstone project—a research-based paper, digital portfolio, or policy advocacy position paper—that addresses climate change and global sustainability.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


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

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information.

This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all of our work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

Semester One: Iceland (12 Credits)

  • Human-Climate Interface l: Energy and Climate Policy in Iceland
  • Political Economy of Sustainable Development and Environmental Change
  • Science of Global Climate Change
  • Climate Change in the Artic: Methods and Impact Assessment

Semester Two: Tanzania (13 Credits)

  • Human-Climate Interface ll: Water, Food, and Climate Economics in Zanzibar
  • Climate Change and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Indian Ocean Region
  • Natural Resource Management in East Africa
  • Climate Change on Tropical Coasts: Social and Ecological Methods

Semester Three: Practicum (11 Credits)

  • International Environmental Policy and the Challenge of Climate Diplomacy
  • Global Field Practicum
  • Climate Change and Global Sustainability Capstone Project
  • Capstone Seminar

Professional Practicum

For your final semester, SIT will support you in finding an approved practicum with a climate change or environmental sustainability think tank, NGO, government agency, or other organization involved in policy and advocacy work in a global location of your choice.  

This practicum experience will give you the opportunity to practice policy and advocacy work in a real-world setting, expand your professional network, and strengthen your ability to develop grounded expectations about what constitutes feasible climate change strategies. Your practicum will be completed alongside other semester coursework. 

During the practicum phase, you will 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. 

Examples of MA Student Practicums

  • Graduate intern at EcoConsult: Implementing Partner for the Hydroponic Agriculture and Employment Development Project, Amman, Jordan
  • Graduate intern at Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, City and County of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawai’i
  • Graduate consultant at Forest Incomes for Environmental Sustainability, Monrovia, Liberia
  • Graduate policy intern on Climate Change and Land Rights at Oxfam-America, Washington, DC
  • Graduate intern at Asociación ANDES, Cuzco, Peru
  • Field Consultant and Data Technician at WaterStep, Quito, Ecuador
  • Graduate intern for resiliency and livelihood at Kingdom of Buganda, Kampala, Uganda
  • Graduate intern at International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska

Examples of MA Capstone Papers

  • Comparing Policy Approaches to Food Security in Guatemala: The Changing Role of International Development Actors
  • Natural Disaster Risk Management in Hawaiʻi: Determining Oʻahu’s Capacity to Address Long-Term Disaster Recovery in an Era of Climate Change
  • One Health Alaska: A Strategy for Sustainable Health and Well-Being
  • Community Forests in Liberia: The Interface between Sustainable Charcoal Production and Deforestation
  • Analysis of a Deeds Excise Tax for Housing and Climate Resiliency in the Greater Boston Area
  • Water Scarcity-Aware Sustainable Agriculture in Jordan: Hydroponic Farming with Minimal Water Resources and a Growing Refugee Population
  • Multi-tier Framework for a Sustainable Energy Transition: Prioritizing and Communicating Change (Cases: Morocco and Italy)

Faculty & Staff

Climate Change & Global Sustainability (Full-Time)

J. Richard Walz, PhD
Program Chair, MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability (Full-Time Global)
Nicolas Stahelin, EdD
Assistant Professor, MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability (Full-Time Global)
Xavier Silva, PhD
Interim Co-chair, MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability (Full-Time Global)
Jill Welter, PhD
Coordinator in Iceland and Affiliated Faculty, MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability (Full-Time Global)
Narriman Jiddawi, PhD
Affiliated Faculty, MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability (Full-Time Global)
Maria Maack, MS
Affiliated Faculty, MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability (Full-Time Global)



SIT has contracted a local school residence hall and temporarily reserved enough private rooms with private bathrooms to house all students. This is the easiest, most convenient and most affordable option for all SIT Graduate students in Iceland and is highly recommended.

You may choose to secure housing independently. However, housing in Iceland, and especially Ísafjörður is not only extremely expensive but difficult to secure as there are few housing options in the area, especially close to the program site, and many local students in the market. Please notify your admissions counselor prior to the program if you do not plan to stay in the residence hall, which is the default option for all students.


Our housing coordinator is able assist students in locating private housing In Zanzibar. Housing in Stone Town is fairly limited due to population density, but SIT will make every effort to locate housing that meets your preferences and is within close proximity to the SIT Program Center, the Institute of Marine Sciences, and essential amenities within Stone Town.

Discover the Possibilities