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Postgraduate Course

Environment and Social Justice MA

Develop practical solutions to global environmental challenges, working collaboratively with others towards eco-social justice.

The global climate change and biodiversity crises are closely bound up with issues of social, environmental and ecological justice. Through this MA you will investigate these issues in depth, using perspectives from across various humanities and social science disciplines. Your Capstone Project will tackle a real problem of your choosing, engaging with stakeholders to produce work that has the potential for real impact.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full time, 2 years part time
  • Start date – September 2024, September 2025
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree or equivalent qualification

    Interview if you have a 2:2 or your degree is in an unrelated subject

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Course overview

Throughout our Environment and Social Justice MA you will have an active role in your learning, pursuing the issues that interest you through guided and independent learning. We encourage you to a take solutions-focused approach, applying the theories and methods you learn to develop potential outcomes that work towards a more just, sustainable world. Debate and discussion is also central to the course, with sessions often centred around exploring complex issues together as a group.

The modules you will study use multidisciplinary approaches from across the social sciences and humanities to deepen your understanding of complex environmental issues. You will also develop your knowledge and skills in research and communication, as you progress towards your final Capstone Project. This will tackle a real environmental challenge, offering both academic insight and practical solutions through engaging directly with stakeholders.

The values of York St John University closely align with environment and social justice, with an established Institute for Social Justice, sector leading environmental sustainability and biodiversity, and an inclusive and socially transformative ethos.

You will be taught by a team of internationally recognised researchers who have experience of a variety of research approaches and methods, working in local, national and international contexts. Guest speakers from relevant external organisations also provide varied perspectives from relevant fields. If you want to take your studies further after graduating from the course, potential research degree supervisors are available within the staff team.

Course structure

How you will study

You can study this postgraduate course full time or part time. This allows you to fit your studies around other commitments.

If you choose to study full time the course will take 1 year to complete. You will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules in term 1
  • 1 optional module in term 2
  • 1 optional module in term 3
  • 1 compulsory Capstone Project across terms 2 and 3

If you choose to study part time the course will take 2 years to complete and the modules will be split across both years.

It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year. Optional modules will run depending on staff availability and student interest.

You can find out which modules are available in each term in the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module considers key contemporary global environmental issues to introduce you to the multidisciplinary approaches to environment, society and justice we will use throughout the course. This will enable you to explore a variety of different topics and perspectives, and appreciate the breadth of possibilities you can choose to focus on when it comes to your final Capstone Project. The discussion and debate these topics will create will help to foster a learning community among the group, while the assessments on this module will provide an opportunity to refine your academic writing skills.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

This module will introduce you to the diverse range of approaches to researching, representing and communicating contemporary environmental issues. This will ensure that you are aware of the various methods, strategies and tactics you could make use of in your Capstone Project and other future research. You will learn about:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • The use of literature and creative writing in communication ideas about the environment
  • The application of research to practical policy recommendations
  • Strategies for writing about human-environmental issues for wider audiences

Credits: 30

Optional module

Environmental humanities is a broad, interdisciplinary field of study. Through this module we will consider how the humanities as a whole can offer a critical response to the challenge of global environmental crises, and how these responses can be communicated. There will be a particular emphasis on the value of creative and literary responses to environmental issues. We will also reflect on the importance of drawing theoretical and methodological inspiration from across the whole range of humanities disciplines. Sessions will be largely student led discussion, further developing your critical thinking and communication skills.

Credits: 30

Optional module

On this module you will learn to analyse, evaluate and design environmental policy programmes at local, national and international levels. We will introduce you to a wide range of existing policies and environmental management frameworks designed in response to various environmental challenges. You will learn about multiple policy theories and models, and theories of environmental governance, as well as considering the different roles and power relations which influence the environmental policy process.

Credits: 30

Optional module

Political ecology examines the political, economic, and ecological factors that lead to inequalities in how wealth, power, and justice are distributed. On this module you will gain the tools and skills to ask questions that challenge mainstream thinking about human-environment relations and the outcomes they produce. You will explore how environmental challenges fit into wider social and biophysical contexts, and critically interrogate how power relations affect environmental issues. We will use examples based on recent work from around the world to examine how the social and physical world interact.

Credits: 30

Optional module

Explore specific and practical ways of enacting sustainability in different contexts, under different conditions, and with different definitions of that concept. This module is designed to broaden and deepen your understanding of sustainability, connecting theory with practice and taking a solutions-focused approach. We will also consider how sustainability is defined and represented in different contexts, from global policy to education and popular culture.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

Your Capstone Project is an opportunity to make a difference. Defining the focus for yourself, you will address an environmental issue or challenge with social justice implications. Investigating the drivers, stakeholders, impacts and responses involved that issue, you will advance academic understanding and develop practical recommendations. Your engagement with stakeholders will help to ensure that those recommendations have potential for real impact.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Throughout the course you will be expected to take an active role in your learning, critically engaging with taught content and developing your own specialist knowledge. You will be encouraged to share your insights and experiences through in-class dialogue, contributing to a collaborative learning environment.

The 30 credit modules will incorporate lectures, seminars and workshops, with a mix of staff-led and student-led activities. You will be expected to engage in independent study alongside these, to further your understanding and tailor your learning to the issues that particularly interest you.

You will also receive individual tutorial support, helping you identify your individual study needs and supporting your personal academic development. Throughout the 60 credit Capstone Project you will also have one-to-one support from a supervisor with expertise in your chosen area.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


You will encounter a variety of assessment types that support the development of a range of skills. Examples of assessment types include:

  • Case study reports
  • Research proposals
  • Essays
  • Policy briefings

Formative activities (that give you feedback on the development of your ideas, plans or work) during taught modules and tutorials will support you as you work towards the final assessments.

Entry requirements


Minimum entry requirements

    2:1 honours degree or equivalent qualification

    Interview if you have a 2:2 or your degree is in an unrelated subject

You must also be able to demonstrate how your undergraduate degree or work experience will enable you to contribute to, and benefit from, this course.

If you have a 2:2 undergraduate degree you may still be accepted onto the course following an interview.

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our international pages.

International entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

If you do not have traditional qualifications, you might be able to provide evidence of professional experience in the subject as an alternative way to meet the entry requirements. This is called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Appropriate references and records of employment would need to be presented to support your case for admission. 

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and funding

UK 2024 - 2025 entry

  • £8,000 for full time study
  • £4,000 per year for part time study

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master's course. Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

Funding opportunities

International 2024 - 2025 entry

  • £11,300 for 1 year of full time study
  • £5,650 per year for part time study

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a student visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your postgraduate studies.

International fees and funding

Tuition fees

    UK 2024-25 £8,000 full time

    International 2024-25 £11,300 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for alumni

Additional costs and financial support

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Accommodation and living costs

View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Career outcomes

Where could Environment and Social Justice MA take you?

This postgraduate degree will give you skills and knowledge that are valuable across a wide range of roles and sectors nationally and internationally. This could include:

  • Government policy
  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • Sustainability
  • Environmental communication
  • International development
  • Environmental management
  • Nature conservation
  • Local government and planning

Stand out from the crowd with postgraduate study.

Far fewer people have postgraduate degrees than undergraduate qualifications. This gives you something extra to set yourself apart in a competitive graduate job market. Those with a postgraduate qualification will earn an average of £8,000 a year more than those with only an undergraduate degree. (Department For Education Graduate Labour Market Report 2019)

Our careers service, LaunchPad, provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support does not end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain the experience and confidence you need to succeed.

Apply for this course

For postgraduate degrees you must apply directly to York St John University using the links below. This will take you to the application form you need to fill out for this specific course. 

To complete the online application form you will need to create login details. 

Please contact 2 referees before submitting your application. An automated request for a reference will be emailed to them as soon as you submit. Your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Fees and key information

Apply now

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