Master of Arts in Development Studies and Diplomacy
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Why study a master in Sustainable Development?
Studying Sustainable Development can be a very rewarding experience for everyone who wants to have lasting positive impact on people and the planet. Contrary to Humanitarian Action that focuses on short-term impact in disaster zones and emergencies, Sustainable Development responds to systematic problems and focuses on economic, political and social development. Countless job opportunities at international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Oxfam require a Master’s degree. Sustainable Development is one of the most commonly cited degrees in the requirements for job applications. Alumni of Sustainable Development Masters have good career prospects with some Masters reporting that 90% of their alumni are in paid positions after a short time span.
What can I do after I studied a master in Sustainable Development?
People who study Sustainable Development can work in a variety of roles, including as field researchers or academic professionals. Generally career paths in research institutes, in government, in business or at NGOs are open to alumni in Sustainable Development. Career prospects are broad and can include the work as consultant, researcher, project manager, policy maker, entrepreneur and more.
What will I learn in a Sustainable Development master?
While every master in Sustainable Development is different, in most masters you will explore the principles and practises of Sustainable Development. You will learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how to achieve them, the science and the policies behind sustainable development and best practises to have lasting positive impact on people’s lives.
How much does a masters in Sustainable Development cost?
The cost of Sustainable Development masters varies strongly. In some countries like Sweden and Norway there are no tuition fees. This essentially means you can study Sustainable Development for free. Sustainable Development masters can be quite expensive in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Tuition fees can reach an amount of $50000 and above. Luckily there are scholarships and other funding options available for most degrees.
What scholarships and stipends are available to study a Sustainable Development master?
Many Sustainable Development masters around the globe offer scholarships and stipends. Most commonly these scholarships will cover the entirety or parts of the tuition fees, the accommodation and the living costs.
How can I get work experience while studying a Sustainable Development master?
Practical experience is important. Some Sustainable Development master programs have internships included in their curriculum and you will work during your studies, report back to your supervisor and share your experiences with your study colleagues.
Can I study Sustainable Development part-time?
Yes. Some Sustainable Development masters take only one year, offer a part-time solution or have a flexible schedule.
I am already slightly older, should I still study Sustainable Development?
If you are passionate about Sustainable Development the answer is simple: Yes, you should. Sustainable Development Masters often have an above average age median because many people choose it as their second career path to transition into a more meaningful career. Additionally, your previous work experience, no matter what you did, will be very valuable for your sustainable development work. A master’s will provide you with the insights you need to connect the dots between your previous work and your work in sustainable development.
Where should you study a Sustainable Development master?
Many people choose to leave their own country to study sustainable development. Professionals in the Sustainable Development field benefit tremendously from travelling. They get to know different cultures and traditions, learn about the complexities of a foreign society and become more aware and sensitive to issues that may not be as important in their own countries. Studying abroad is a chance to immerse yourself into a new context, make friends and learn a lot about yourself.
Is the tutoring language of the Sustainable Development master important?
Yes, because it will define in which language you can best handle sustainable development terminology and ultimately communicate about a specific subject matter. The official UN Languages are Spanish, English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and French. If you are working towards a job at the UN, choosing one of these languages is a good choice.
Is a Sustainable Development master required to work in Sustainable Development?
The short answer is ‘no’. Since organisations need all kinds of skillsets many people who work in sustainable development do not have a master in sustainable development. Although it might not be a requirement, studying sustainable development is incredibly useful for working in this field. If you work as a graphic designer you will be more sensitive to gender, identity and sexuality issues; as a social media manager you will be much better in handling terminology; as a junior campaigner you will know about many examples how people were inspired to take action and what worked and what didn’t.
Should I choose a Sustainable Development master that offers internships?
Some sustainable development masters offer internships through collaborations with partnering institutions, legal clinics, field offices where students can support on real cases and field trips for students to engage with human rights workers on the ground. All of these should be considered a great asset to your studying experience but not a requirement.
Where can I search for Sustainable Development masters?
We have compiled several articles for you that relate to sustainable development masters. For example the page you are currently reading but we also published other articles that are more specific. If you are undecided consider taking one of the free online course in sustainable development that can help you get inspired.