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MA in Climate, Justice & Sustainability

The 'At a Glance' section below is indicative only.

Available: Full-time/Part-time

Level: 9

Duration: 1 yr FT/2 yrs PT

Location: MIC Limerick/online

Delivery Mode:

Face-to-face and/or online


Theoretical essays, technical projects, oral presentations, consultancy reports, research proposals, and dissertation.

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question

Programme Overview

The MA in Climate, Justice and Sustainability tackles the most pressing global issue of our time – how to manage human exploitation of our natural environment sustainably, and fairly. This is a unique programme, involving a collaboration between MIC’s Departments of Geography and Philosophy, covering fundamental issues such as environmental ethics and climate justice, as well as more practical topics like social and environmental sustainability.

Key Features

Longer term thinking and new approaches to development and prosperity are urgently required. Persistent and worsening ecological crises present fundamental questions, including the need to think about challenges to prosperity as well as justice and rights issues, reversals of development gains and resulting conflicts. The programme draws on MIC’s established strengths in the Faculty of Arts, combining expertise from across the faculty to deliver a focused Master of Arts programme in Climate, Justice and Sustainability. The Department of Geography has established teaching and research expertise in Sustainability, Just Transitions and Political Ecology. The Department of Philosophy has a growing international reputation in Environmental Ethics, Sustainability Citizenship and Intergenerational Justice. In partnership, these Departments will provide a unique offering which targets a growing and urgent academic need for graduates of technical, theoretical and practical proficiency, equipped with the necessary skills to address our most profound challenges as a global community.

Click here to download the programme brochure.


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Educational aim

This unique programme will equip graduates with a broad range of skills and expertise across the environmental domain, integrating perspectives from both Geography and Philosophy disciplines. At its core, the programme will embed a recognition of the interrelationships between the myriad socio-cultural and biophysical factors driving global socio-ecological crises; in the process, a deep understanding of the role of justice in understanding the causes of, and importantly, solutions to, our present ecological crises will be developed. The programme will take a deliberate transdisciplinary framing, addressing key questions about global prosperity, fairness and justice, the roles of science and knowledge in sustainability as well as critical interrogations of the inter-linked relationships between ecology and culture, environmental justice, and prosperity and economic growth. Graduates will be equipped to develop their professional careers nationally and internationally in the growing sustainability sector.

Professional skills

There are important environmental, and ethical, reasons to study this programme, but there are also strong professional reasons. This is a busy and growing employment sector, and this programme enhances provides both subject-related and transferable skills that are sought after by employers. To ensure our students are ready for the world of work, the programme includes a novel Environmental Consultancy module, where student groups undertake real-world projects commissioned by external organisations.


Dr John Morrissey


T: +353 61 774758

Programme Content

For full-time students, the curriculum is structured into three 30 credit semesters, where students take three foundational modules in the Autumn semester, three more advanced modules in the Spring semester, and the dissertation module over the Summer period. For part-time students, the taught curriculum (first six modules) is spread out over two years (four semesters), followed by the dissertation.

Perspectives on Climate, Justice and Sustainability
Autumn Semester; 12 Credits
Module Coordinator: Dr Julian Bloomer

This module is foundational to the MA in Climate, Justice and Sustainability, acting as an introduction to the programme as a whole and providing a contextual framing for the disparate intellectual strands of the programme, across climate, justice and sustainability themes. The module will provide important ‘scene setting’ for students from different disciplinary backgrounds, establishing a coherent framework and core principles for understanding sustainability principles and the important interlinkages between sustainability, climate breakdown and social justice. The module will equip students with the necessary vocabulary and foundational understanding to start to explore the interrelationships between the myriad socio-cultural and biophysical factors driving global socio-ecological crises, foremost the climate crisis.

Using case studies from both the Global South and North, the module will explore the relationship between society, the economy and the environment as this is often challenging, especially on how best to address the role of economic growth and nature of capitalism, neoliberalism, growing inequality, over-consumption, biodiversity loss, use of the commons, for example. In this module, it will be argued that in order for society not to exceed planetary boundaries further, and reduce our footprint, vital social, political and economic changes at all scales need to be embarked on rapidly. The justice dimension will be integral, and the module will emphasise the role of justice in understanding the causes of, and importantly, solutions to, our present ecological crises.

Environmental Ethics
Autumn Semester; 9 Credits
Module Coordinator: Dr Basil Vassilicos

This module will introduce students to a fundamental topic within environmental ethics, namely the idea that human beings are harming the environment, thereby affecting its value for human beings or other species. This idea is a crucial premise in much current research – there can be no question of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ environmental policies without a notion or measure of the harm that those policies might occasion or avoid. Likewise with the value of ‘nature’ or the environment; if we attempt to preserve or bequeath certain natural spaces, our institutions must be able to furnish some explanation of their resilient value now and into the future. However, specifying the nature of environmental harms and values has given rise to substantial debates; for one, should such harms and values be understood as relative to humans and their activities? Are all harms able to be mitigated; are all environmental values fungible? The ways in which these questions are answered have far-reaching legal, social-behavioural, and scientific implications. In this module, it will be argued that these questions are not only important to philosophers, but to all the sciences concerned with studying, understanding, and perhaps modifying the relationship between humans and the planet.

Climate Justice
Autumn Semester; 9 Credits
Module Coordinator: Dr Daniel Vazquez

This module will provide a comprehensive overview of the key concepts, debates and challenges related to the disproportionate impact climate change has on marginalised communities and the ways in which it intersects with other forms of oppression and injustice. This includes issues concerning social, global, distributive, and intergenerational justice, collective responsibility, displacement, climate activism, and the respect for human rights in the face of the climate emergency.

It will also address crucial questions about the political obligations of governments, policy makers, industry, and citizens to address climate change and its impacts. Through lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, students will gain a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with addressing climate change equitably.

Sustainability Transitions and Transformations
Spring Semester; 9 Credits
Module Coordinator: Dr John Morrissey

This module provides a foundational understanding of the key concepts of transitions and transformation as they relate to socio-ecological systems in the Anthropocene. Transitions concepts have become central to scholarly understandings of societal sustainability in the past two decades. The module introduces, develops and critiques understandings of transitions processes and dynamics, and learning is firmly grounded in the burgeoning body of scholarship on sustainability transitions. Students engage critically with the supposition that transitions toward more sustainable and resilient socio-ecological systems require a fundamental and radical transformation of existing socio-technical systems. The module equips students with the understanding, skills and vocabulary to engage with the ‘big questions’ of the 21st century: how can sufficient levels of development and poverty alleviation be delivered while simultaneously reducing unsustainable levels of ecological destruction? How can prosperity by maintained or increased on a degraded planet? What are the roles for innovation, civil society and government in sustainability transformation?

Environmental Consultancy
Spring Semester; 9 Credits
Module Coordinator: Professor Paul Aplin

This module provides an opportunity for students to undertake real-world environmental consultancy projects with external partner organisations. Local/regional organisations with interests in environment/sustainability devise project briefs, in consultation with MIC academic staff, and student groups carry out these projects throughout the academic semester. The module thus bridges the gap between theory, as taught in class during the Masters programme, and practice and application in the real world. The students gain valuable workplace experience and strong subject-specific and key/transferable skills, enhancing their employability and raising their awareness about the world of work.

Geographical and Geospatial Methods
Spring Semester; 12 Credits
Module Coordinator: Dr Julian Bloomer

This module provides an overview of research methods in the social and environmental sciences. Students learn how to carry out independent research. They are introduced to the research design process, how to formulate research questions, and then how to address these questions conceptually through theory and practically by employing research methods, such as sampling, data collection and analysis. The importance of research ethics is discussed, as well as recognising limitations in the research process. The module explores both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, as well as geospatial approaches (e.g. using geographic information systems). On completion of the module, students can choose to adopt social or physical science research methods, or a mixed-methods approach, in pursuing independent dissertation research.

Summer; 30 Credits
Module Coordinator: Dr John Morrissey

This module is the end goal of the Masters programme, where a student draws on the knowledge, experience and skills gained throughout the taught curriculum to formulate, undertake and present a dissertation research project. The student is the principal investigator, leading every aspect of the project, such that the dissertation represents their own singular and very significant achievement. However, careful and appropriate support is of course provided by a supervisor from the academic team who is a subject specialist in the chosen topic.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will be considered for entry on the basis of a primary degree in Geography or a cognate discipline at a minimum of 2.1 honours.

Potential students who do not meet the normal entry requirements may be considered for admission and should contact the Programme Director for information.

Click here for English language requirements.

How to Apply

EU Applicants

Applications for the MA in Climate, Justice &Sustainability are now open.

To apply, please complete all the steps below:

  1. Download and complete the application form here (application fee Payment Ref Number required).
  2. Please pay the non-refundable €50 application fee here using Stripe, and return the completed application along with the supporting documents below by email only to

What to include with your Application

You will be required to send:

  1. University transcripts and certificates
  2. If English is not your first language/language of qualification, you will require:
  • English translation of transcript/qualification
  • Your English Language Competency Certificate (Academic IELTS or equivalent)

Applications will close at 5pm on Monday 29 July 2024.

Non-EU Applicants

You are advised to contact the MIC International Office before applying:

E: or T: +353 61 204988 /+353 61 774790


For Postgraduate Fees click here.

US Students please note that you can apply for Federal Aid.

EU Applicants
061 205160 / 204348
Non EU Applicants:
+353 61 204988 / +353 61 774787

Ask a Question

  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • How to Apply
  • Ask a Question