The Master's Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) is truly multidisciplinary.

It covers an introductory Core Module of sustainability science common to all students, followed by two distinct study tracks:

Environmental Change study track provides understanding of the functioning of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and gives guidance toward their sustainable use.

Global Sustainability study track provides students an understanding of the socio-cultural underpinnings of global sustainability challenges so that you can help to develop solutions that take social and environmental justice into consideration.

Why Environmental Change and Global Sustainability?

Global socio-ecological problems call for multidisciplinary solutions that transcend the usual boundaries of science and decision-making. The Master's Programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability (ECGS) trains you in wide-ranging interdisciplinary thinking skills and provides you with the ability to:

  • study environmental and sustainability issues in your respective fields of expertise and
  • solve problems of socio-ecological sustainability in cooperation with various social actors.

The programme offers three different degrees – Master of Social Sciences, Master of Science or Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry). The degree is determined by the choice of your study track and the modules within the chosen track.

Upon graduating, you will have sufficient expertise in environmental sciences, sustainability sciences and environmental policy to act as a specialist in the public, private and third sectors, and you will have gained essential skills to undertake a career in sustainable business and communication. You can also advance to doctoral level studies and thereafter positions in environment-related research.

Structure, content and study tracks

The credit requirement for the Master’s programme in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability is 120 ECTS credits, which can be completed in two years.

You will graduate with a Master’s degree in Science (M.Sc.) or Social Sciences (M.Soc.Sc.). Your Master’s degree (120 credits, ECTS) will consist of the following studies:

  • Advanced studies, 60 credits, including your Master’s thesis (30 credits)
  • Other studies, 60 credits, including 30 credits of Core Module studies and 30 credits of elective science specific studies from either ECGS modules or other relevant Master’s programmes.

All students complete an introductory Core Module that focuses on the methodologies of environmental and sustainability science as well as the interactions between science and society.

In addition to the common Core Module studies, applicants choose from two ECGS study tracks: the Environmental Change study track in natural sciences and the Global Sustainability study track in social sciences. Both study tracks offer several modules of advanced studies. The students also must choose at least one interdisciplinary thematic module. 

Read more about the structure, content and study tracks of the programme.

Language of instruction

The ECGS Master’s programme is taught in English. All assignments, exams and dissertations can be done in English, as well as in Finnish and Swedish.

Courses and teaching

The ECGS Master’s programme is taught in English. All assignments, exams and dissertations can be done in English, as well as in Finnish and Swedish.

Courses for ECGS students

See the preliminary syllabus and selection of courses offered by ECGS in the Studies service. Please note that thematic and study track modules include courses that are offered in co-operation with other programmes and thus might not appear on the lists.

You can also check out courses in the online course catalogue in the Studies service.

The University of Helsinki also offers Finnish courses for international students.

Courses for stu­dents out­side of ECGS

If you are a student in some other masters degree programme at the University of Helsinki, but would like to study ECGS courses, that is possible. ECGS offers study modules also for other Helsinki University students. These modules are: 

  • Food and sustainability
  • Consumer citizens and sustainability transition courses  
  • Environmental policy and economics

If you are interested to join single courses instead of modules, see the ECGS course descriptions and contact the person in charge to find out about the possibility to join the course.

Master's thesis

The Master's thesis is an integral part of your degree. During your second year, you will write an individual Master’s thesis of about 20-40 pages (30 credits). The Master’s thesis is a proving ground there you demonstrate your capabilities in scientific thinking, methodological research and scientific communication and writing. During the writing process, you will also attend a Master’s thesis seminar headed and instructed by a faculty member with expertise in your particular field.

Doctoral education

Upon completion of your Master’s degree, you will be eligible to apply for doctoral studies in the University of Helsinki and other leading international research institutions. Examples of suitable doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki include:  

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

Students and student life

Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, more than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.

As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, low-cost sports services and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.

Read more about student life, services and benefits when studying at the University of Helsinki.

Do you have questions about studies or student life? You can get answers to your questions by chatting directly with University of Helsinki students. Chat with our students!