Programme Specification for the 2019/0 academic year

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMSc Global Sustainability Solutions Programme codePTS1GOAGOA02
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2019/0
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

Our impacts on the Earth system are at such a scale that we have become a geological force. If we are to not just survive but flourish, we urgently need to create robust and practical solutions to a set of interacting global challenges. These challenges span countries, regions, and academic disciplines. For example: the challenge to establish food, water, and energy security for a global population increasing towards nine billion by the middle of this century; the urgent need to halt the rapid decline in biodiversity; the required sudden decrease of greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid dangerous climate change. While diverse, the common thread that links these and other challenges is that these are all ultimately a challenge of systems. This innovative and interdisciplinary Masters programme will provide the skills and experience for you to analyse these complex challenges, critically evaluate proposed solutions, and formulate new solutions that will emerge from intense periods of academic exploration in collaboration with a community of external partners.

The MSc Global Sustainability Solutions will be the flagship programme for the Global Systems Institute which brings together researchers, students, citizens, and partner organisations to solve global challenges, and help create a flourishing future world together, through transformative research and education. Innovative teaching lies at the heart of the programme. Emphasis will be placed upon applying learning to real-world challenges and enhancing your employability. You will be given the training and opportunity to practice how your learning is engaged within wider social, economic, and policy debates.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The programme has emerged from the interdisciplinary cross-University development of the Global Systems Institute that also involved the participation of a network of external partners. Consequently, the programme seeks to respond to the planetary-scale challenges of sustainability that we and future generations face. It will do this by empowering you with the experience and skills to become an agent of change for a sustainable future. The programme has been designed to allow students from a wide range of backgrounds to immerse themselves in a transformative educational experience. No science, mathematics, or engineering pre-requisites are required. The particular aims of the programme are to:

  • Provide you with an integrated overview of sustainability challenges in which local issues can be linked to global-scale factors.
  • Train you in systems thinking which can be applied to a wide range of subject, topics, and challenges.
  • Emphasise the application of your learning to real-world challenges and so operating in a complex problem space. You will practice how your learning is engaged within wider social, economic, and policy debates.
  • Through an intensive residential learning experience in Term 1, facilitate the development of a strong cohort identity across staff and students, whilst providing you with fundamental skills and approaches to understanding and solving challenges.
  • Enable you to experience an intellectually stimulating environment in which to conduct your learning as the programme is firmly situated within the activities and operations of the Global Systems Institute community, and so be informed by the latest research by world-leading scholars and research-led teaching.
  • Provide you with opportunities to undertake a work internship project within an organisation as an alternative to a traditional academic dissertation. These placements will be identified and secured by you, but facilitated by the Global Systems Institute’s appropriate support.
  • Through assessments, focus on the application of your learning and go beyond examinations and essays. You will have the opportunity to choose to be assessed via the creation of project reports, policy briefings, the preparation and delivery of press conferences, infographics, short documentary films, and recorded talks.
  • Offer you the opportunity to take a new credit-bearing Green Consultants employability-focussed module as an optional module that would provide you with technical and employability-related training combined with practical training.
  • Provide you with tailored employability training and exploitation of the Global Systems Institute external partner network for the purposes of collaboration on the Dissertation Academic module and placement for the Dissertation Internship module. This network will also accelerate your search for employment after graduation.

4. Programme Structure

If you are taking the programme part-time, you will take 60 credits in year 1 and 60 credits plus a further 60 credits (Solutions Project) in year 2.

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College web site

http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/currentstudents/

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Stage 1


150 credits of compulsory modules including a choice of either a 60 credit academic dissertation or 60 credit internship, 30 credits of optional modules.

a You must choose either GEOM146 or GEOM147 (you cannot choose both modules). If you choose GEOM147 then you cannot also choose GEOM148.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
GeoS MSc GSS projects [See note a above]
GEOM146 Solutions Project (Academic) 60 No
GEOM147 Solutions Project (Internship) 60 No
BIOM568 Blue Planet 15No
GEOM141 Global Challenges 15No
GEOM142 Climate Change Science and Solutions 15No
GEOM143 Global Systems Thinking 15No
GEOM144 Innovation and the Science-Policy Interface 15No
GEOM145 Theory for Sustainable Transitions 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
GeoS MSc GSS opt
BEM3056 Business and Climate Change 15 No
BEMM161 Sustainable Enterprise Economy 15 No
GEOM148 Green Consultants 15 No
POLM016 Food Systems, Alternative Food Networks, and Ethical Consumption 15 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Apply systems thinking concepts to the analysis of sustainability theory and practice.
2. Articulate the evolution and functioning of the major Earth system processes and their relevance to contemporary sustainability challenges.
3. Analyse wicked problems that emerge from social-ecological systems.
4. Discuss the importance and relevance of the co-production of knowledge when formulating sustainability solutions.
5. Design and conduct an independent research project on a sustainability challenge.
6. Conduct analysis and interpretation of data using appropriate quantitative methods.

Lectures, seminars, residential workshop, group projects, discussion groups, oral presentations, poster presentations, independent reading and synthesis, field trips.

ILOs 1-4, 6: Non-dissertation modules assess competences using a range of assessment methods, including: policy briefs; essays; presentations; posters; discussion groups; production of short factual films.

ILOs 1-6: Dissertation (Academic) and Dissertation (Internship) modules assessed via research proposal, dissertation report which contains literature review, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions and discussion.

ILO 5: Assessed specifically via the 60 credit Solutions Project (Academic) or Solution Project (Internship) modules.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

7. Create credible strategies to implement sustainability solutions.
8. Interpret specific sustainability challenges in the light of sustainability and systems theory.
9. Understand and evaluate different theories relevant to global sustainability and their practical implications.
10. Undertake research in a rigorous and ethically sound manner.
11. Effectively communicate contemporary sustainability topics and challenges to academic and general audiences.

See above.

ILOs 7-11: Dissertation (Academic) and Dissertation (Internship) modules assessed via research proposal, dissertation report which contains subject specific context and content, literature review, data analysis and interpretation, conclusions and discussion.

ILOs 8-11: Non-dissertation modules assess subject specific skills using a range of assessment methods, including: policy briefs; essays; presentations; posters; discussion groups; production of short factual films.

ILO 10-11: All modules contain interdisciplinary emphasis and multi-perspective and positions awareness in assessments. Scholarly rigour and ethical awareness are also promoted in all modules. Explicitly assessed during dissertation and research training modules.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

12. Synthesise and critically evaluate research and findings from an interdisciplinary range of sources and methodologies.
13. Work effectively in groups, with interpersonal skills developed through interactive discussion and practical sessions.
14. Undertake independent, self-directed study and research.
15. Effectively communicate complex issues in a way comprehensible to a general audience.
16. Interpret client briefs and formulate and present solutions.
17. Work in complex problem spaces with diverse stakeholders.
18. Be an engaged global citizen being appreciative of sustainability challenges and their possible solutions.

See above.

ILOs 12-18: Assessments across modules deliver transferable skills assessed with written reports, policy and client briefings, presentations, focus groups, posters.

ILO 17-18: Dissertation (Internship) and Global Challenges modules includes assessment of reports that interpret client sustainability briefs into an actionable project.

7. Programme Regulations

Classification

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be located in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES), Exeter Streatham campus where close working relationships are fostered. Your lead Department will be Geography, but you will be taught and supervised by staff from Geography, and the Global Systems Institute. All teaching staff maintain an ‘open door’ policy to facilitate student access. Staff email addresses are also made available to you to further facilitate staff-student contact. You will receive formative feedback from various discussion groups/in-lecture exercises throughout the delivery of each module and therefore receive essentially continuous feedback during the taught component of the programme. Project supervisors provide academic and tutorial support once students move on to the research – either Solutions Project (Academic) or Solutions Project (Internship) - component of the course. In addition, the Programme Director will offer every student a meeting each term with an academic who provides guidance and feedback on assessment performance. Student progress will be monitored and you can receive up-to-date records of the assessment, achievements and progress at any stage.

On attendance you are given University and Discipline Handbooks, providing information on programmes, general information, contact numbers, etc. This information is updated on ELE, which also provides a point of access to all learning and teaching materials. Your learning is supported by the ‘Advanced Computing Laboratory’, which provides dedicated support for GIS and other computing needs. This resource is in addition to a variety of university-level facilities, including the University Library and IT Services.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

Non-standard applications will be considered where the applicants can demonstrate existing knowledge experience and skills developed in the workplace, relevant to this degree. All non-standard applications should be referred to the Programme Director for consideration.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(http://as.exeter.ac.uk/support/admin/staff/qualityassuranceandmonitoring/tqamanual/fullcontents/)

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges draw on a range of data to review the quality of educational provision. The College documents the performance in each of its taught programmes, against a range of criteria on an annual basis through the Annual Programme Monitoring cycle:

  • Admissions, progression and completion data
  • In Year Analysis data
  • Previous monitoring report
  • Monitoring of core (and optional) modules
  • External examiner's reports and University and College responses (reported to SSLC)
  • Any Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body/accrediting body or other external reports
  • Consultation with employers and former students
  • Staff evaluation
  • Student evaluation
  • Programme aims

Subject areas are reviewed every four years through a periodic subject review scheme that includes external contributions. (http://admin.exeter.ac.uk/academic/tls/tqa/Part%209/9JREVISEDPSRSCHEME.pdf)

14. Awarding Institution

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

Not applicable to this programme.

18. Final Award

MSc Global Sustainability Solutions

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date

03/04/2019

Date of last revision

09/05/2019