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Sustainability and Adaptation MSc

Online Centre for Alternative Technology    Graduate School of the Environment

Full time & Part time September MSc, PGDip, PGCert 18 months full time/ 3 years part time

About the course

Immerse yourself in examining the causes, seriousness and urgency of climate change and – crucially – what changes are needed at international, national, local and individual level to help turn things around.

“Rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required if humanity is to prevent really dangerous levels of climate change.”

UN IPCC 2018 Report on Global Warming of 1.5 ºC

This course uses the concepts of sustainability and adaptation transformation to frame an analysis of environmental and climate change policy and its implications for society.

Read more about this course

Entry Requirements

We ask for a Bachelor’s degree or knowledge and skills equivalent to degree standard.

IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for applicants whose first language is not English.


The cost of studying one of our full MSc courses in 2021/22 is £6,890 for Home Students or £8,330 for Overseas students.

 Course Content

Where is Centre for Alternative Technology


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Student Profile(s)

Mr Anu van Warmelo

I work as a sustainability consultant, specialising in communities. The MSc gave me the expertise I required for this job, yet without limiting my broad interests. This was particularly true for my thesis where I designed a sustainability calculator - like a carbon footprint calculator, but covering all the aspects of sustainability including economic and social well-being. I do travel a lot, which is not ideal but necessary sometimes in order to do consultations and feasibility studies. For the first two years after graduating though I stayed in Herefordshire where I got funding to set up what I called a Blitz Cafe - a place that enhances community cohesion through concerns about the environment, a place that is for everyone, not just 'greenies'. This is still going - now without me - and has moved onto more practical work, which was always the intention. I have since been working elsewhere, such as Abergavenny where we have been attempting to start a new type of centre that serves all aspects of the community. The work is always interesting and suits me in that it has not been full time, as I have several projects on the go, including film work and writing novels.

Mischa Hewitt

I currently work for the Low Carbon Trust as a project manager and sustainability consultant.

Studying the course considerably broadened my horizons and extended my network of like minded people interested in building a better world. The knowledge gained from lectures, practicals and writing my thesis has been invaluable in driving forward my work in sustainable construction.  Before the course I had lots of practical experience, but the course helped me to develop critical thinking to evaluate this and crystallise my ideas, which has been useful in developing new projects and courses.  Am currently in the process of revising my thesis into the second edition of the book I am a co-author of: Earthships: building a zero carbon future, this will be published by IHS in spring 2012


Sir John has had an illustrious career as one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, including being co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Scientific Assessment Working Group and a former Chief Executive of the Met Office.

A long term supporter of the work of the Centre for Alternative Technology, Sir John says:

‘I have spent a lifetime studying the atmosphere and the climate and latterly have been concerned with the reality of human induced climate change. I now want to help the next generation tackle this serious problem, possibly the biggest the world faces.’

Value of Scholarship(s)



Thanks to a generous donation from Sir John Houghton, CAT is able to offer an annual bursary of £4,500 to a promising postgraduate student who demonstrates that they have an excellent academic record and a passion for tackling climate change.

Application Procedure

Grant applications must be made on the bursary application form.

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