Applications open on the 4th September 2023 and close 1st May 2024.

Overview

The Masters in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy programme has a modular design and is delivered part-time over two academics years (2024 to 2026), through a combination of distance learning, e-learning through a Virtual Learning Environment [VLE] and attendance at five intensive residential blocks over the duration of the course.

The Masters in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy has three ‘Core Modules’, a ‘Methods and Methodologies’ module, and three optional ‘Applied Modules’ (out of which students will have to select one, as their specialisation stream).

The seven interdisciplinary modules are taught through a combination of: 

  • Taught sessions, lectures, interactive sessions by leading academics and practitioners
  • Group work including: working through case studies, dialogue, debate and presentations throughout the taught modules
  • Individual work including:  working through course materials on the VLE, course reading, preparation of written work (primarily between the residential sessions)
  • Residential sessions
  • Supervisions and support from the Land Economy faculty, tutors and supervisors from within the university

The course aim is to equip senior, mid-career and high-potential early-career professionals with a 360-degree view of climate, environmental and urban policy.

Aims of the course

  • Developing a 360-degree strategic view of climate, environmental and urban policy and their relevance for the sustainability transformation
  • Developing the ability to connect the short, medium and long-term drivers of sustainability transformations.
  • Understanding the complex factors surrounding the low-carbon transition, including technology innovation, market dynamics, policy interventions, geopolitical drivers and environmental constraints.
  • Understanding the different dimensions of the global challenges around degrading ecosystems and loss of biodiversity.
  • Understanding the main drivers of demographic and urbanisation trends, and their implications at different levels, from global to local.
  • Applying the 360-degree view developed in the course to analyse the complex links between climate change, biodiversity loss, public policy and sustainable cities and shape the decision-making processes of organisations in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Course themes and modules

The course consists of seven interdisciplinary modules

  • Compulsory modules

    The three mandatory modules are:

    CEUP 1

    Understanding sustainability transformations

    • Analytical frames (including collective action problems, theory of externalities, systems analysis, theory of tipping points, sustainability/socio-technical transitions theory, Anthropocene).
    • Sources (survey of the most authoritative sources of data, regular reports, key institutions and processes, e.g. IPCC, IPBES, UNFCCC, CBD, and state of knowledge to enable an informed opinion on climate, environmental and urban policy issues).
    • Selected issues of particular relevance relating to climate change, environmental governance and urbanisation (case study-based)

     

    CEUP 2

    Economics and Public Policy of Sustainability

    • This module introduces students to the field of environmental economics and its policy challenges. It explores the question: Why do people pollute or overuse natural resources?
    • This includes a discussion of the complex interaction between the economic system, specifically markets, and the natural environment. The module also looks into the design and assessment of environmental regulation and policies.
    • It covers both the microeconomic and macroeconomic perspectives on regulation in a variety of policy settings, each characterised by specific constraints.

     

    CEUP 3

    Law and Governance of Sustainability

    • This module studies the different dimensions of environmental geopolitics, with a particular focus on the context of international legal frameworks for energy, investment, trade and environmental law. The module includes an historical component, explaining the role of law in driving or hindering the main energy transitions. Students are introduced to more complex issues such as natural resource distributions and energy security, non-conventional energy sources and their geopolitical impact, energy diversification and international conflict and cooperation.
  • Applied modules

    Complementing the ‘Core Modules’, there will be three optional ‘Applied Modules’, out of which students have to select only one as their specialisation stream:

    CEUP4 Climate change and the energy transformation

     

    This module will provide an introduction to climate change, from a scientific, economic and legal perspective. Students will have an overview of the most relevant reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with a particular focus on global energy systems. Building on the tools introduced in the ‘Core Modules’, students will be able to analyse case studies based on regional decarbonisation policies and global economic trends.

     

    CEUP5 Ecosystems and biodiversity

    This module will address the measurement, valuation and governance of ecosystem services, and how that connects with the global biodiversity threats we are facing today. The students will look at ecosystems and biodiversity in the context of broader environmental and economic challenges, with a particular focus on ‘planetary boundaries’ and sustainable development. Regional case studies, with a particular focus on developing regions, will be analysed by the students in this module.


    CEUP6 Cities and the future of urbanisation


    This module will study the impact of urbanisation and global demographic changes in sustainability transformations. The module will focus on cities and how innovations in design, planning, and policy can improve the environmental footprint of cities as well as urban living and quality of life. The module will combine a global perspective with local case studies.


    CEUP7 Methods and Methodologies

     

    The course includes a mandatory ‘Methods and Methodologies’ module, that will give the students access to quantitative and qualitative tools that they can use throughout the course, especially while working on their dissertation. Each student will have assigned a supervisor, who will provide face to face supervisions during the residential blocks. In addition, the students will receive online support during non-residential periods.

  • Course director

    The Director for the MSt in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy is Jorge Viñuales. He is available to discuss with students specific issues about the content of the MSt in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy.

Fees and Funding

 

The fees for the 2024-26 course will be £14,250 per annum and for the two-year MSt course a total of £28,500.  This is the fee for both for Home/EU students and for overseas students and includes both the tuition and college membership fees.

Students are expected to cover their own costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence during residential sessions in Cambridge. Costs for accommodation are estimated at up to £422* for each of the 8 residential weeks. 

*This is an estimated amount and costs may vary depending on room choices and availability.

Costs
Loans
Other Funding

Costs

Amount

The Combined Graduate Fee

(University and College membership fees)

£28,500

(£14,250 pa)

Accommodation*

Based on an estimate of £422 per residential week (a total of eight weeks over the two-year course)

£3,376

Course Total

£31,876

   

Since the academic year 2016/17, the Government has provided a loan for postgraduate masters study. For courses starting after 1st August 2023 students can get up to £12,167 per course.  Further information including eligibility for the loan can be found on the Government website. Visit the Master's Loan website for more information.

A number of possible sources of funding for part-time study can be found on The University's Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) listings . Visit the ICE website to find out more.

The University of Cambridge has a variety of funding schemes administered by offices, departments, faculties, institutions and colleges. Find out more about potential funding from the University.   Please note  that many are not available to part-time students undertaking Master of Studies courses.

Further Information

  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

    The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) known as "Moodle" is a valuable teaching and learning resource and is the main means of communication between the course team and students throughout the two-years. 

    Assessment is completed via the VLE and supplementary materials, such as slides used by presenters and links to useful websites, articles, and other resources are also made available through the VLE.

    There are also forums for students to participate in discussions with each other and the course team, either generally or specifically about the assignments/dissertation.

  • Course Assessment

    The examining schemes are approved from year to year, and are therefore liable to variation. Approved schemes will be made available at the start of the academic year.

    The MSt is assessed through:

    • Three cases studies
    • Three critical essays
    • One Dissertation methodological outline
    • A dissertation of no more than 12,000 words in length.
  • College Membership

    All students who enrol on the Climate, Environment and Urban Policy Masters Programme become full members of a Cambridge University College, which provides pastoral support within a collegial academic environment.  Once a college member students remain a member of that college for life which includes some on-going opportunity to book accommodation, formal dinners and be invited to College and alumni events.

    College life is an important aspect of the course and we believe that having students on the course together as members of a college helps contribute to a really positive 'Cambridge Experience'. However, if an applicant already has an affiliation with or a strong preference for a a particular college then this will be taken into consideration.

    The college provides accommodation and also offers meals, although students often prefer to sample the many different types of cuisine available from the wide variety of restaurants and cafes in Cambridge, along with their course colleagues.

    During the course both complimentary and optional formal dinners are held at the college and are again part of the Cambridge College experience and highly recommended.

    As members of a college students have access to all the resources and facilities of the college, including leisure facilities, library, IT resources and common rooms.

    General information about Cambridge colleges can be found here: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/colleges

    The MSt in Climate, Environment and Urban Economics have arrangements for students at Churchill College, and students are fully inducted and matriculated into their college during the first residential session.

  • Selection Process

    Applications for our MSt programme are reviewed in batches. Candidates may be interviewed (via video call) and offered places after these reviews. Given the desire to get a diverse mix of skills and backgrounds, final decisions on most applications are not taken until after the closing date for all applications.

    We advise that applications are made as early as possible, particularly non-standard applications which are likely to take longer to process.

  • Academic requirements

    Applicants should normally have a relevant UK first or very good upper second class honours degree or overseas equivalent. In addition, students joining the MSt course will typically have significant experience in a relevant industry or in public service and, in some cases, a professional qualification, although such additional element would not be a pre-requisite.

    Those with alternative qualifications or experience will be evaluated on an individual basis. As applicants will be expected to have experience and successful track records in industry or public service, consideration may be given to candidates on the strength of their vocational experience in lieu of the normal standard entry requirements.

  • Language requirements

    If English is not your first language, you will need to submit evidence to meet the University’s English language requirement, please see the Competence in English tool for further information.

    • IELTS Academic: Overall score of 7.5 (a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component)
    • TOEFL Internet: Overall score of 110 (a minimum of 25 in each individual component)
    • CAE: Grade A or B (with at least 193 in each individual element) plus a language centre assessment.
    • CPE: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 in each individual element).

    Those applicants who are subject to a language requirement are strongly encouraged to submit their language results with their initial application as failure to do so may delay the processing of applications.

Residential Sessions in detail

These are held in Cambridge where students stay in one of Cambridge University's famous colleges.  There are five sessions, totalling 8 weeks, over the duration of the course:

  • Three 2 week residential sessions during year 1
    and
  • Two 1 week residential sessions during year 2

The residential sessions are intense and focus on taught sessions, practical applications, case studies and collaborative working, including presentation of project work and case studies, as well as individual supervisions.  Students also participate in site or property visits during each residential, which are an important aspect of the course. 

These residential sessions enable students to learn from one another, exchange experiences and network with as well as learn from the academic faculty staff and external speakers, which in total provides a rich learning experience.

Support and facilitation for students is provided by team of faculty, tutors and supervisors from within the University.

What are the residential sessions?
How they work
Timetable

The residential sessions are held in Cambridge where students stay in one of Cambridge University's famous colleges and teaching is held in a variety of locations within the University departments and beyond.

They are intense and focus on taught sessions, practical applications, case studies and collaborative working, including presentation of project work and case studies, as well as individual supervisions.  

These residential sessions enable students to learn from one another, exchange experiences and network with as well as learn from the academic faculty staff and external speakers, which in total provides a rich learning experience.

Support and facilitation for students is provided by a team of faculty tutors and supervisors from within the University.

There are five sessions, totalling seven weeks, over the two academic years (which take place over three calendar years: 2024, 2025 and 2026).

  • Three 2-week residential sessions during year 1
    and
  • Two 1 week residential sessions during year 2

Year

       Block

       Dates

2024         

       1 (2 weeks)

       Sunday 15th September
       to
       Friday 27th September

2025

        2 (2 week)

       Sunday 30th March
       to
       Friday 12th April

2025

        3 (2 weeks)

       Sunday 29th June
       to
       Friday 11th July

 2025

        4 (1 week)

       Sunday 14th December
       to
       Saturday 20th midday December

2026

        5 (1 week)

       Sunday 28th June
       to
       Saturday 4th midday July

 

FAQ's

  • Who awards the MSt?

    The Masters in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy is conferred by the University of Cambridge as the awarding body and students graduate from the University of Cambridge.  Graduation is organised by the student's College. Students who successfully pass the course and graduate from the University are entitled to use the letters, ‘MSt ( Cantab )’ after their name.

  • Will I matriculate from the University of Cambridge?

    Most certainly.  All students are required to matriculate in order to become a member of the University, which involves signing a formal declaration agreeing to abide by the Statutes and Ordinances of the University and College. Only by signing these documents does the student become recognised as a full member of the University and College.

    The Colleges administer the formal processes, including matriculation (formally joining the University and College) and all  students then attend a formal dinner, ‘the Matriculation Dinner’ to celebrate the more formal admittance to the University and College.

  • Is it possible to live outside of the UK but fly into Cambridge for the residential sessions?

    Absolutely, the course is designed for those working and living away from the University.  The programme is modular and delivered through a combination of distance learning, a VLE and residential sessions.  There are 8 residential weeks in 5 blocks (3 residentials of 2 weeks duration in year 1 and 2 residentials of 1 week in year 2).  We arrange college accommodation for the duration of the residentials, which are focussed more on taught sessions, collaborative work, project work, and supervisions.  Self study, theoretical work and assignments can be done between the residential periods. 

  • I am not sure what references to provide. I have been in full-time employment and have not studied recently. Will the University accept two professional references?

    You will need to provide the details of two referees who should be senior people acquainted with your work and who are able to comment on your academic and/or professional suitability to undertake the course. Ideally one reference should be academic and one professional. If this is not possible, two professional references may be accepted.

    You will be asked to provide email addresses for your referees so that they can submit their reference via the online referencing system, so it is important for you to ensure that your referee is able to provide a reference for you before you submit your application form.

    You should try to advise your referees to include the following information:

    • How long they have known you and in what capacity.
    • Their opinion of your experience, achievements, professional interests, and the capabilities which you will bring to the course.
    • Whether they believe you have the academic and analytic skills to successfully study at Masters level.
    • Whether they believe you will fit well on a Master’s level course concerned with Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy, requiring both group work and individual research.
    • Whether they consider you have the enthusiasm, commitment and determination necessary to complete the course successfully.

    If your referees are unable to use the online referencing system, or do not have email addresses, please contact the ICE Admissions office for further assistance.

  • When will I hear about my application?

    Applications for the MSt in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy are reviewed in batches throughout the applications cycle. Whilst applications are open until May each year, we may be able to offer places and possibly fill all the places before then – so early applications are encouraged and advised, especially if you require a language test score.

  • Is a full research proposal required for the application?

    You are required to complete a ‘Research Proposal’ as part of your application.  However, there is no need for a detailed proposal at this stage. There is no word limit, but just a couple of paragraphs (no more than a side of A4) is sufficient.

    We ideally would like to see an interesting research question with some idea of what literature already exists related to the question and how you would go about the research e.g. what data you would need and where you might get it from and what methods you would use.  However, at this stage, all we need is an indication of ideas (that could be shaped into a more detail research proposal during the first year of the course) to illustrate your interest in doing research for this degree and that if invited for interview you can briefly talk about these ideas thoughtfully.   The course is designed to ensure students gain the necessary research skills rather than expect them to arrive with them all in place.

  • After completing the MSt can I progress to PhD study?

    The MSt in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy is a valid route to studying for a PhD Degree.  Students wishing to apply for continuation to the PhD would normally be expected to attain a minimum overall mark of 67% and dissertation 70%. 

What's special about this course?

This course brings together concepts, expertise and applications from differrent disciplines to provide a 360-degree view of the scientific and societal implications of sustainability transformations. Climate change, the risk of ecosystemic collapse and the transformation of urban systems are all redefining the rules of social organisation in which governments, businesses and civil society evolve. This profound transformation cannot be understood from a single perspective. It requires systems analysis of highly complex processes based on the tools of a range of disciplines and practice areas. The MSt in climate, environmental and urban policy provides a research-informed and practise-infused training the scientific, regulatory and economic dimensions of sustainability transitions, with a more topical focus on climate change and energy, biodiversity and ecosystems, and the transition of urban systems. It is unique in the range of disciplines it mobilises and the strategic focus on gaining a 360-degree view of the ongoing sustainability transformation.

Information

Information for candidates

Both core and optional MPhil and MSt modules are reviewed on an annual basis. This review may lead to either a change to the core and/or optional modules offered on a particular MPhil or MSt course. Modules may be rescinded permanently or withdrawn on a temporary basis at any time.

Any information provided on Land Economy modules offered and their content is therefore subject to change and provided as guidance only to assist applicants with their choice of course. Reading lists are also provided for information purposes only and do not constitute a final or definitive list.

Banner image © thianchai sitthikongsak/Moment via Getty Images

In brief

Course Information

Course length: 21 months with the expectation of a September graduation

Course aims

The course is offered by the Department of Land Economy combining the strong interdisciplinary background of academics from the Department and the broader University of Cambridge with the practical expertise from the world-class Cambridge innovation cluster. The programme provides a unique perspective on the ongoing sustainability transformations, especially the low-carbon transition.

Who should consider this course

The Master of Studies in Climate, Environmental and Urban Policy is principally aimed at senior, mid-career and high-potential early-career professionals.

Practical information

The course runs from September 2024 July 2026 with an expected graduation in September 2026. This is part-time course is delivered through a combination of distance learning and attendance at residential sessions in Cambridge, and it enables students to continue with their professional career whilst studying for a Masters qualification. Applications for this part time programme are done through the Institute of Continuing Education.

View our online prospectus

Prospectus